Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bucs' Losses Add Up to Provoke Pride Instead of Despair

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Bucs' Losses Add Up to Provoke Pride Instead of Despair

Article excerpt

I have to be honest about something. I don't want the Pirates to take first place.

I don't want them to make the playoffs. I don't even want them to play .500 baseball. I want the Pirates to lose. Badly. Hear me out.

Though I was a child when Pittsburgh entered its second Renaissance in the 1980s, I remember the "old" Pittsburgh. My parents often described to me the black skies sooted with ash and smoke, the black windowless furnaces obscuring the waterfront, shedding their waste into the inky waters of the Monongahela and Allegheny. Then, they described the joblessness, the poverty and despair as the factories closed.

As I grew up, I witnessed the transformation. I watched the construction crews as they erected new spires, this time of glass, slicing through a hard-earned blue sky.

At night, people gathered to stand on protruding tongues of concrete on Mount Washington and gaze at the lights. At the Fort Pitt Tunnel, we slowed to see our valley, the surrounding fort of mountains; then we crossed a bridge, over the river moat, and entered a new kingdom of technology, filmmaking and hospitals.

This year something shocking happened. Lifelong friends from Washington, D.C., visited because they wanted to see "this Pittsburgh" that people were talking about. We toured the city, visited the unique and charming neighborhoods, took note of the vibrant art community, the exciting restaurants and the green spaces.

The friends were impressed. Yet, I realized, like Dorian Gray, I felt slightly uncomfortable with this pretty, popular new city peering back at me in the mirror. I am a Pittsburgher more so because of the old Pittsburgh. My pride is from having stayed, in having suffered the accrued grit of having lived through the ugly, hard, bad years.

We Pittsburghers are loyal; our city love doesn't wax or wane with our city's beauty or reputation. If the sky turned back to black, I'd remain. Wouldn't you?

And that embrace of our hardships colors my attitude toward the Pirates as well. One of the few things that has remained comforting and consistent in this beautiful, reinvented Pittsburgh is verbally abusing the Pirates. …

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