As of 9:00 pm tonight, I will have graduated high school, ready to move on to the next step in my education. Looking back on the last eighteen years of my life, there have really be three constants: family, religion and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
My father started prepping the black-and-gold fever after my mother, a former Browns fan, dressed me in Browns pajamas when I was not even a year old. Since that traumatic experience, the Steelers have been a team I have followed with a passion bordering on insanity.
At first, they were just a football team I followed because it was what my dad did. Now, it is a way of life, a culture, a new world that once a week I enter where all that matters is the game. However, looking at the Steelers, I see that they are more than a football team with the most passionate fan base in the game—they can be looked at as a role model for success.
First off, they know their identity. From the very first days of the franchise, this has been a team representative of where they play half of the season. The team has embraced the strong, blue-collared approach that Pittsburgh as a city and people did and continue to do. This has led to consistent success and an anchor in troubling times that the team needs and people need to find in life.
Secondly, the Rooney Family shows the model for success in business and life in general. They are a humble family who is proud to be a representative of the city where they still live. They are continually thinking of the betterment of football as a whole, rather than the furthering of only their franchise. They are personally involved with every member of the organization, just as their father who formed the team was.
They realize what many people come to or need to realize: running an organization with more than monetary sense or logic will bring more success. Running anything with an ethical and moral principle while treating those around you with dignity creates an environment people want to be a part of.
Finally, never forget your history. The Steelers are one of those franchises that have fans who still know the origins in the 30's, struggles in the 50's, and dynasties in the 70's, even if they have not lived through these times. This is because fans and players never forget who laid the foundation for the present and future.
They realize that there is a legacy to continue, the next chapter in a story they must write. There has always been someone else who laid the foundation for what is happening now, and the Steelers and fans know to remember and honor those who did so for their team.
That is what it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. And for me, that's not to bad of a blueprint to follow for being a decent guy moving forward.