Opinion

Playing the Defensive for the Steelers

IMAGE BY MACKENZIE KURTZ

by Ian Hedges
CONTRIBUTOR

During the Super Bowl, the Steelers were getting too many penalties on offensive plays. They simply did not have the attitude or the strategy to prevail. I, too, cannot play the offensive because the Steelers lost the Super Bowl, and because I happen to be a Steelers fan stuck in Wisconsin. Yes, that’s right—I am gay, I like football, and I like the Steelers, so don’t sass me about it.

In my home state of West Virginia, we have no professional sports teams, so we are reduced to choosing from teams in Pennsylvania, Ohio, or Tennessee. However, my love for the Steelers is much deeper than some random choice. The Steelers are a team that represents the steel workers (a group that includes my grandmother) and the working class that dominated the region for many years.  Being a Steelers fan means being part of a crowd that does not require extravagant body paint; all you need is a terrible towel.

But last Sunday, I felt a little lonely. As far as I could see, I was the only Beloit student donning a Pittsburgh Steelers shirt. If anyone wanted the Steelers to win, it was only because they hated the Packers. If I walked into a room, I caught repeated moments of torment and hatred. It was the kind of torment and hatred that honestly deserves an “It Gets Better” video. A girl in one of my classes actually compared the treatment of Steelers fans by Packers fans to that of genocidal perpetrators.

Even though I have love for my team and might even want to use Troy Polamalu’s hair as a drag queen wig, the Steelers deserved to lose this time around. It is more than just the “they won too many Super Bowls” argument. The Steelers have some serious negatives going against them this year. Mainly, just Ben Roethlisberger. There’s just a part of me that does not want to reward another athlete who has been accused of sexual assault. I was afraid that, if the Steelers had won, attention would be shifted away from this problem and focused on the Steelers winning another Super Bowl.

They ended up playing, and losing to, a team whose name shows support to labor and recognizes their contribution to Wisconsin history. The Packers are also the only publicly-owned team in the country— not a group of rich business men who own a team, but the progressive Wisconsinites who I have grown to love. Packers fans, here’s a congratulations from a Steelers fan. Now, in order to settle our future disputes, we shall old-school duel in front of Middle College.

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