The Making Of a Steelers Fan

Jonathan CyprowskiCorrespondent IMay 15, 2009

TAMPA, FL - FEBRUARY 01:  Fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers displays cheer before their team takes on the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The making of a fan is like the making of a musician, an artist or an athlete. There isn’t really one thing that produces the passion, devotion or aptitude that makes you a fan. But much the same way Beethoven learned to play, Picasso learned to paint and Babe Ruth learned to swing a baseball bat, we learn to become sports fans.

Without a doubt, the first time Mozart heard a music note something inside of him came alive. It struck something in depths of who he was, and compelled him to surround himself with what it is that made him feel alive. Much like Mozart, I had this experience with football at a very young age.

My father took me to my first football game when I was just four years old. On a cool Friday night in September, I sat under the lights of that high-school football stadium and fell in love with the game.

The excitement, the pageantry, the sound a pair of shoulder pads made when they collided with those shining helmets, it was surreal. So when my dad sat me down in front of the TV on Sunday and introduced me to the Pittsburgh Steelers, you could say my love for the game became an unbridled passion that has yet to burn out.

It isn’t really one thing that made me love the Steelers. It’s everything they are as a team and everything they mean to the city they represent. Being a “Stiller” fan in Pittsburgh ranks second only to the gospel, and even then, some would question which one would rank higher on the "south-side".

The team’s smash mouth mentality truly reflects the tradition and blue collar mentality of the city I grew up in. Since Art Rooney Sr. founded the franchise almost 77 years ago, the Steelers have been the rallying point of the “Steel City”.

Becoming a Steelers fan in Pittsburgh is inherited from the generations that came before you. That’s also how you become a season ticket holder (Lord knows you have to inherit them). Sure every team claims to have the best fans, but there is only one Steelers Nation.

From Dublin, Ireland to San Diego, California, no matter what major city you go to on earth you will find a Steelers bar full of crazy, terrible towel waving Steelers fans. Steelers Nation is a fraternity that prides itself on traveling so well that away games look like home games.

Set aside the Primanti Brothers sandwich and all the tradition, and the best part of being a Steelers fan is the absolute privilege that it is to watch a franchise that rewards its fans with a great team every season.

We have been blessed enough to have witnessed some of the most historic moments in Pro football history as Steelers fans. Lynn Swann’s flair for making the most impossible catches on the games biggest stage, the Steel Curtain Defense of the 70’s, Santonio Holmes somehow finding a way to get his toes down in Super Bowl XLIII and who could forget the “immaculate reception”?

Like I said it’s not one thing that has made me a Steelers fan, it’s who I am that makes me a Steelers fan. It’s the sight of a tough old guy shedding a tear in his “Iron City” beer when we fall short. It’s the thought of three generations worth of Cyprowski men sitting in front of the TV on a Sunday afternoon living and dying with every play. It’s the smell of Kielbasa sizzling on the grill outside Heinz field in sub-zero weather. It’s the feeling that whether I am waving a terrible towel from seats on the 50 yard line or 1,000 miles away, I am having the same impact on the game. These are the music notes that brought football to life for me, and that’s what makes me a Steelers fan.


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