Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints, the 2009 NFL champions. Despite a two-faced weasel of an owner and a “fanbase” full of bandwagon jumpers, I have to admit that no team is more deserving of the honor this season. The Saints played with heart and passion all year, including in the Big Game where going for it on 4th and goal and then starting the second half with an onside kick were two of the ballsiest moves I’ve seen in a long time. It provided a nice contrast with their opponent, one of the most cowardly and gutless teams of all time, led by one of the league’s most masterful playoff choke artists. Enjoy your moment of glory, New Orleans. You’ve certainly earned it.
Watching the Saints celebrate their first Lombardi Trophy after forty plus years of existence, I could not help but reflect on the embarrassment of riches our very own Pittsburgh Steelers have brought our proud city. The party on Bourbon Street will be unlike anything seen in American sports history but it’ll still be hard pressed to match the majestic sight of over 300,000 die hard members of Steeler Nation descending on downtown for last year’s victory parade. And what about the 500,000 who came out to toast our Stanley Cup winning Penguins? Pittsburgh sure takes pride in their sports teams. With the Steelers suffering a down year, the Pens struggling in defense of their title, and the Pirates being, well, the Pirates, there may not be any parades this year. But there are still plenty of reasons to be proud of being a Pittsburgher.
Did you know the Klondike Bar was invented in Pittsburgh?
Or that we have the nation’s top aviary?
Or that we’re home of the leading transplant center in the entire world?
I doubt anybody will ever throw a parade to celebrate the culinary triumph of delicious vanilla ice cream coated in a sweet chocolate shell. EVEN THOUGH THEY SHOULD!!! But these are things which make Pittsburgh a great city. And there are many many more. You can find a partial list on this website appropriately titled The Greatness of Pittsburgh.
The authors of that website have also written a book entitled Pittsburgh: The Greatest City in the World. The main author, Sean Elliot Martin, sent me a copy and even a lifelong student of Pittsburgh history such as myself was amazed at all the things he didn’t know about his beloved home town. To be honest, the book isn’t the most well-written literary masterpiece you’ll ever read. The authors were in a hurry to have it out in time for the G-20 Summit last summer so they didn’t have time to edit as thoroughly as they would’ve liked. This becomes apparent when certain facts or figures are repeated two or three times over or you come across the occasional grammatical error. However, in terms of pure research this book is TREMENDOUS.
I loaned my copy out to my Uncle Joe, who has lived here his entire life (almost fifty years) and he was blown away by how much he never knew about our city. If anecdotes or stories are your thing, this probably isn’t the book for you. But if you’re looking for an exhaustive collection of Pittsburgh trivia, Pittsburgh: The Greatest City In the World is just the ticket. As a blogger, I’ve often found myself having to fend off attacks from ignorant fans in other cities. I’m grateful to finally have one handy resource which I can use to bludgeon them with the club of truth.
If you’d like to purchase a copy for yourself or perhaps as a gift for an ex-Burgher who misses their homeland, the book can be ordered off Amazon for only $12 by clicking this link right here. And, no, I don’t get a kick back or anything for promoting this book. In fact, Sean is a much better person than I’ll ever be because he’s donating 50% of all profits from the sell of his book to local schools and charitable organizations. I’m giving him a hand because, frankly, I’m sickened by the ignorance people frequently show towards the Steel City and I will do anything I can to promote the fact our city is awesome. To that end, I’ve also been extended an invitation to occasionally post something on Sean’s site so give the Pittsburgh Greatness link over on my blogroll a click once in awhile if you want to read some non-sports ranting from your favorite Steelers blogger/party host.
In the meantime, another NFL season is in the books. Bring on 2010!