Some time around 40 A.D., the Roman philosopher Seneca the Younger declared: "One who boasts of his ancestry is praising the deeds of another."
Pondering this ancient adage, my mind scrolled rapidly forward and thought about how these words still ring true today.
In the days following February 2, 2009, I have boasted of my ancestry precisely by praising the deeds of others. Confronted by acquaintances here in Columbus, Ohio, who do not share my appreciation of Pittsburgh's NFL dominance in their home state, my Steeler swagger surfaces when provoked.
The shocking thing is that today, the Seneca quote did not conjure an image of the Steelers' praiseworthy deeds in my mind. My first thought was the irony that my pride in my Pittsburgh ancestry was presently tied to a bunch of guys, a large number of whom were not even born in America.
For the first time since 1979, I am entertaining the thought that Pittsburgh has a shot at boasting two championship teams.
This feat last happened in 2004, when the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. The Patriots had won the '03 season's Super Bowl in February '04, then repeated, taking the Super Bowl title in the 2004 season as well.
Between Pittsburgh's Super Bowl XIII win in '79 and XIV title in '80, bookending a Pirates World Series in 1979, and New England's exact duplication of Pittsburgh's feat in 2004, just five cities have repeated this rare accomplishment.
If you want to be a stickler over the fact that in 2000 the New York Yankees won the World Series the same year that the New Jersey Devils won the Stanley Cup, that would make just four.
Incidentally, not since 1952, when the Lions won the pre-Super Bowl NFL Championship while the Detriot Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, has a football and hockey team combined to bring two championships to a city.
No American city has ever boasted a Super Bowl and a Stanley Cup championship team during the same season. If the Penguins win this series, the Cup will mark another historical first for Pittsburgh.
So these men that make up the Penguin squad, not one of them from Pittsburgh, or even Pennsylvania, now carry the hopes of a city on their shoulders.
I would wager a bet that my love for Pittsburgh, no matter how many years it has been since my departure, no matter how many miles away I live, is fairly consistent with that of my fellow expats. I tend to assume that if we put together a great team in any sport, that everyone in the city limits and beyond will support them.
Which brings me to Cowher and his Canes habit. Cowher was already my least favorite Steelers coach with whom I have some familiarity.
Cowher did coach the Steelers when they drafted most of my current favorite players, that is an enormous plus. Also in his corner is the reality that he rarely tones down his personality. Add in the fact that he has supported the Hurricanes for some time, and certainly is not cheering on the team just to spite the Pens.
I know all this and try to reason it out, but I guess that I am emotional as well. This is the Eastern Conference and Pittsburgh is once again on the brink of making history.
After his appearance at Game Four in Carolina, decked out in a cherry-red shirt and radiant, anchorman teeth, Cowher said that he would get on board with the Penguins if the Hurricanes lost.
Forget it Cowher, I just can't fathom you not getting behind the Pens! Are you trying to let us down easy for the day next season when you do something awful like take over the Bungles reins from your old pal Marvin Lewis? I'll bet that even Marvin Lewis is rooting for the Pens!
Pittsburgh sports mean the world to so many Pittsburgh natives. In the future, when I recount the glory of the athletes and coaches who have represented and inspired us so well over the years, I may drop Cowher a little further down on my list.