A Date with Dad


I got my love of sports from my dad.  I can remember watching Pirates games at 5 when he was out of town, just to make me feel closer to him.  In high school, my dad would take me to Penn State Football games to watch my cousin play in the Blue Band.  I think my dad made sure that we attended every kind of professional sporting event at least once.   He took us to Orioles games, a Capitals game, a Bullets game and once we even attended a preseason Redskins/Steelers game.  While most kids were learning their states and capitals, my dad was quizzing me on cities and sports team.   He’d name a city and I’d name the professional football and baseball teams from that city. 

I saw a baby bib this weekend that said, “I was born a Steelers fan.”  Though I am bit big for a bib, this most definitely describes me. 

Dad taught me lots about sports, but without a doubt, my love for the Steelers is the biggest sports heritage he passed on to me.  Even though I was raised in the Baltimore area, there was no doubt, no question who our family routed for.  I can remember Dad telling me about Jerome Bettis “See that guy there, number 36… they call him the Bus b/c when people try to tackle him he just keeps running, taking them with him for the ride.”

When my family moved back to PA and I transferred to Grove City College, I was finally able to watch the Steelers weekly.  I’d leave the lunch hall early on Sun afternoon to go up to my room and cheer for my boys in black and gold.   Then Dad and I would discuss the game on the phone afterwards. 

When Scott and I married and moved to MD, my dad would tape the Steelers game for us and mail us the VHS tapes to watch… for a few seasons Wednesday nights were football nights at our house.  We’d always try to schedule a few trips to my parents in the fall so we could watch the games with my folks.  New traditions were formed as we started meeting them in Ligonier in August to watch the team at training camp.  My parents also make sure to keep my kids dressed in Steelers apparel each season. 

DSC03139So, for Christmas last year Scott and I gave my dad a “gift certificate” of sorts.  We gave him the promise of a father/daughter date in the 2010 season to watch a game at Grill 36 (Jerome Bettis’ bar and grill) right across from Heinz Field in Pittsburgh.

This weekend, the circus fam headed to PA to make good on that promise. 

I don’t often get much one on one time with my dad.  Typically the kids are vying for Grandma and Papa’s attention when we get together and if I do occasionally sneak off for some one on one time with a parents, it is usually my mom. 

DSC03131This Sunday dad and I left after church to head into the city.  We enjoyed the pregame show and then an all to close Steelers victory (we one by one point).  Grill 36 is an incredible atmosphere to watch a Steelers game.   The place was packed with Steelers fans.  They had 48 tvs all showing the Steelers game.  They would blare music over the speakers during commercial breaks much like at a game and when the Steelers got a touch down the place would go wild!    It felt a lot like being at a game. 

To be honest, perhaps it wasn’t the most fair gift to give my dad.  Because I enjoyed the time together, just as much, if not more than my dad.  In a lot of ways, it was a gift to myself as well.  Watching the Steelers play in that atmosphere was was a ton of fun; watching it with my dad, was priceless!  Thanks dad for not only sharing your love of Steelers football with me, but for sharing your Christmas gift as well. 


  1. I was so excited to think of you guys on Sunday. I even told the Pods about your date. :) I have to admit, though, I pictured you in a dark, kinda grimy bar. I had no idea it'd be so fancy!

  2. Your Dad had a wonderful time - still talking about it!! I must admit - for years, when you and your dad would start talking sports, I knew you were way over my head :-) So happy that you have that bond with him.

  3. Love this :) it made me a little misty-eyed, actually :)

  4. That's a great restaurant, though I've never been there during a game. Not living in Pittsburgh anymore is definitely a problem when it comes to not catching the games ... although this past Sunday the PIT-MIA game was on here in NYC so that was win.

    I agree with you- - I was born a Steelers fan. I like to say I bleed black and gold.


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