Posted on: August 13, 2008 4:45 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2008 4:50 pm

Sports Appreciation Day "Just A Steel Town Girl"

Please forgive the "theft" of the opening words to "Maniac", but to explain how or why I've became a fan is best summed up in these words, because, in my heart, I'm "just a steel town girl".

How anyone can grow up in Western Pennsylvania and not have embraced one sport is beyond me.  Whether it was at high school level, college level or professional, sports ruled.  Society seemed to have rotated around the Friday night high school football games.  We embraced a college, whether it was University of Pittsburgh or, if your father attended Penn State, then you automatically seemed to become a Nittany Lion fan.

To try to remember when I began to love sports, would be like searching through the archives of some ancient library where there was no catalog system, so for the most part, I will say, as long as I can remember.  Perhaps it was because the men in my family always had either the Pirate baseball game on the radio or the Pittsburgh Steelers games on the tv.  Bob Prince and Myron Cope had seemed to be as much members of our family as favorite uncles were.  Perhaps it was because I was nothing more then a tom boy, that exchanged baseball cards with the neighbor boys, coveting my beloved Roberto Clemente cards, and using opposing team cards in the spokes of my bicycle. 

One thing I can say is that I was a fan of both the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Steelers at that time.  Perhaps more so of the Pirates when I was younger, because, the time I was coming of age was in the mid-60s and 70’s.  How can you not love a team that had Bill Mazeroski, Willie Stargel, Roberto Clemente and Dock Ellis on it?  Indeed, even though I had yet to be born for the 60’s World Series, Mazeroski’s homerun had just seemed like it was done yesterday. 

I had never attended a game at Forbes Field before they tore it down, but had gained fond memories of attending Pirates games when Roberto Clemente had played.  Later in life I would get to see Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla and other “great” Pirates play, but it was that era that I recall the best.  Saturday or Sunday afternoon in the cheap seats of Three Rivers Stadium, throwing peanuts at the boys in front of us, watching the game.  The day it imploded, my husband had to console me.

It was in the mid 70’s when the shift-evened out.  Perhaps like the balance of a seesaw.   The Steelers had finally had a team that was actually winning and there was excitement to watch the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann and so many more playing.  Seeing the infamous Jack Lambert smile.  What a time it was to be a sports fan in Pittsburgh. 

Somehow the stars aligned in 79.  The Steelers had gone on to win their 3d Superbowl ring, the Pirates would take the pennant, my high school football team made it to the State Championship and I was graduating from high school.  Our graduating class had taken on as our class song Sister Sledges, “We Are Family” and we were relishing in the fact of not only the end of one era for us but also the excitement associated in the area with sports. 

Soon I’d see the transition in players on “my” teams.  Pop Stargell and Terry Bradshaw would eventually go on to retire.  Yet my love for Pittsburgh sports teams stayed intact, but it shifted as I moved on also. 

I found myself more then passionate about Steeler football right after I joined the Air Force in 1980.  Not only did Steeler football become something I enjoyed but it was a link I had to home.  When I watched the game or when I met other Steeler fans, we had this bond, and for just a time, the home sickness went away.  And I looked forward to any time I could catch a Steeler game on tv. 

It wasn’t just Steeler football that I came to love, but the game as a whole.  This I give credit to some “hometown boys”.  Watching Dan Marino, Joe Montana and Tony Dorsett play was what attracted me to watch other teams and soon I developed a true love of the game as a whole.  There was still that hometown pride, when I’d point to any player that had come out of Pittsburgh, regardless of what team he was on. 

Yet it’s Steeler football that is my most passionate love in sports.  Perhaps for their history and tradition.  Perhaps for their style of play.  Perhaps for the ties to home.  Perhaps for what and who they represent.  It is this team that I will scream myself hoarse over in my livingroom every Sunday during the season.  It will be the retirement of these players and the induction into the HOF that I will cry the hardest on. 

What can I say...where ever I go...I'm still "just a steel town girl".

Posted on: March 29, 2008 7:08 am

Ahhh, the nostalgia

The other day, I had made the long, 1 1/2 hour (one way) trip to see my audiologist.  Despite the long drive, I can actually say I do enjoy the visits with her.  Not because she's the first doctor that I've ever been to that, if I arrive early, she gets me in early, and not because she's alot like me in personality.  It's ironic, she and I graduated high school the same year (from high schools that were 40 miles apart), her daughter and my daughter are the same age and both are pre-med majors in college.  We've both been to Korea and Germany (she was Army, I was Air Force).   So when I go for my visits, we sit and chat about the shopping in Seoul, the food in Germany, the process of getting old and adjusting to wearing bifocals, pickled eggs and perogi's. 

It's not surprising to find a large contingency of Pittsburgh natives in this region.  After all there are Navy, Air Force, Army and Marine bases in this area, so it would make sense that service men and women would setup residence in the state of their last duty station (like my husband did).  In fact, I've seen more Steelers jerseys, banners and bumper stickers here then any other NFL team. 

It's been almost ten years since I've moved away from the "Burgh" and it's sad to say that the only times I go back are for weddings and funerals, well funerals mostly, though this spring I'll be heading home for a wedding.  Unfortunately, it will be a short trip, a weekend stay over with not much time except a quick visit with the family, a day at the wedding and then a 13 hour drive back.  With the Steelers having gone to the playoffs, the Penguins clinching a playoff berth and Pirate baseball kicking in.  Add the upcoming wedding and the visits with the doc and I find myself missing the "Burgh". 

I guess the longing to visit home has put me in a mood to reminisce.  I had found myself lately, thinking back when I was a kid and to the times that we had.  It won't be too long until it will be time for the annual school picnics, with everyone heading to Kennywood for the day.  I've come to miss Kennywood and Idlewild parks.  For those of you who do not know what they are, they're small amusement parks.  Granted, I have been to larger parks, but there's just something about those two amusement parks that the larger theme parks just couldn't match - at least in my mind.

With opening day for baseball quickly approaching, I've thought about the days spent at Three Rivers Stadium, seeing Roberto Clemente, Bobby Bonilia and Barry Bonds play.  There always seems to be an undercurrent of excitement in the city and the outlying areas when it comes to their sports.  It was great being in the Burgh when the Steelers won their 4 SB rings and when the Pirates won the pennant and, we can't forget the back to back to ... by the Penguins. 

When I was in the service, I looked forward to flying in to Pittsburgh at night.  Coming from the airport, through the tunnels and hitting the city with it all lit up, including Three Rivers Stadium and the fountain.  Night trips on the Gateway Clipper or PartyLiner, the trips up to Mount Washington on the inclines, had their own breathtaking effects.  Even in the day, a ride through the locks or up the incline to lookout over the entire city was an adventure.

As spring sets in here, there will be the Okra Strut and Peach Festival, somehow these pale in comparison to the small town heritage festivals and volunteer firefighter street fairs that were held back home.   Even the arts festivals here cannot hold a candle to the one held each year in downtown Pittsburgh.  And attending the large crafts shows held here makes me long to go to the one held annually at Twin Lakes. 

There are times that I do miss the snow, particularly on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.  I remember how, after visiting my grandmother, on those nights, my father never could seem to get the car up the hill to get home.  By the time he gave up trying, we ended up at the bottom of the hill and had to walk a couple of miles to get home.  Years later I found out that that was all staged.  It was something that my father did because we enjoyed those night walks in the snow. 

I guess there are things that we all remember from where we grow up.  Hopefully our children will have just as fond memories, as we did.

Okay, on to this weeks recipe

You would think with the touch of notalgia, this weeks recipe would be for perogi's.  Sorry, I have yet to find a good recipe that I like that I'd be willing to recommend.

                                                                                                 Zabaglione Dessert


1 c. raspberries

1 c. strawberries

1 c. blueberries

6 tbsp sugar

6 egg yolks

2/3 c sugar

2/3 c Marsala wine

2 c heavy cream whipped

cocoa powder, preferrably unsweetened

one pound cake or 1/2 sponge cake, cut into 1-inch cubes

ground cinnamon.


In a saucepan, slowly stew the berries with the 6 tbsp of sugar, just until their juices begin to form.

In a double boiler, boil water in the bottom portion.  In a heat proof bowl or pan, (off of the boiler), begin to wisk the egg yolks until they become a lemony color and are smooth.  Set the bowl over the simmering water and continue to whisk the eggs, while adding the 2/3 cup of sugar gradually.  Once the egg and sugar mixture beings to thicken, gradually add the wine and continue to whisk for 20 minutes.  (If mixture starts to curdle, take the mixture off the heat and whisk in a little cold whipping cream until it's smooth).  Once the mixture or zabaglione coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat and cool over a mixture of ice water.  Cover with plastic, allowing the plastic to lay directly on top of the cream.  Refrigerate.

Once the zabaglione cream is cooled, fold in the whipped cream, do not overblend.  Place the cake (which have been cubed) into a deep platter and ladle the berries overtop, including the juices.  Then spoon the zabaglione cream over the berries and cake.   Allow it to rest for 15 to 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the cocoa and cinnamon on top of the mixture and serve.  (Serves 6).


1)  This is a bit time consuming to make but well worth the effort.  It's a delicious dessert.

2)  Although you can use frozen berries, I recommend fresh.  If you like to have the distinct flavors of each berry, then stew the berries separately, using 2 tbsp of sugar for each set of berries to create the berry juice.



Category: General
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