With the Ohio State Buckeyes and Cleveland Browns on bye weeks this past weekend I decided it was a perfect time to catch up on some Division 3 college soccer. So I followed my old team Ohio Northern University to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and watched them in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. The faced off against Thomas More and ended advancing with 1-0 victory. I wasn’t able to stay in the city yesterday so I streamed the next round on the television and watched the Polar Bears handle the Carnegie Mellon Tartans by a score of 3-1 to reach their second consecutive Sweet Sixteen.
If they are close enough to Cleveland again I may travel to see them again this upcoming weekend while the Buckeyes play Wisconsin and Browns travel to Dallas. But, the quality Division 3 soccer that I watched in Pittsburgh is not the whole story in Pittsburgh.
I have the tendency, while traveling, to compare cities to Cleveland and how they support their city, their people, and their sport teams. And as much as I hate Pittsburgh because of the Steelers I have to respect the city and people in it. First of all, it is a fun to city to peruse around. All of the streets wind around each other and go up and down hills in the suburbs. Downtown has PNC Park and Heinz Field right on the river. It is just a nice place to visit.
However, I must say that I am biased towards the city of Cleveland because of the surge we are making to revitalize the city with the new aquarium and casino. And now the Flats are being redone. In time, I think that Cleveland will be as affluent as Pittsburgh. But regarding the fans in Pittsburgh I didn’t see a game day because I was only in the city Saturday during the day. I was only near Carnegie Mellon and Pitt because of the soccer game that night. But I did my fair share of bar hopping while I was there and saw some great support for their teams. Every business supported the Steelers with a Terrible Towel and they even still supported the Pirates and Penguins even though they were not in season. Don’t get me wrong, Cleveland bars have the same memorabilia up on their walls too. But it was the amount of fans with Pittsburgh attire on that shocked me. Usually on a Friday night you see a bunch of people all dolled up for a night on the town in Cleveland. In Pittsburgh they all have on Steelers sweatshirts, Penguins hats, and I even saw a Pirates bandana. They always rep their teams. Maybe that comes with winning. But in my opinion, you should always be willing to represent your team in the great times and the awful times if you are a true fan.
I came to the realization that I had Pittsburgh pegged all wrong. The real Pittsburghians are just the same type of fans as we are in Cleveland for the Browns, Tribe, and Cavs. I have a mutual respect for anyone that supports their hometown team. My despise for bandwagon fans is the real root of my distaste for Pittsburgh fans. Most of the fans that I interact are from Cleveland and just like them because they have won Super Bowls. That gets under my skin.
So, basically what my trip to Pittsburgh taught me was that I have no problem with other fans of other teams–as long as they are not a bandwagon fan. And if any of you have ever been there I hope you learned the greatest lesson of all. Church Brew Works is one of the best breweries this side of the Mississippi. I still love my Great Lakes seasonal brews, but this restaurant is inside an old cathedral and it is just so unique that everyone should stop there if they are ever in the Pittsburgh area.
Overall I would definitely rank Pittsburgh above Detroit, but below Cleveland. I am glad to be back in Cleveland, but it was nice get out and see some more of the sporting world. However, I am more than ready to see how the beginning of the Urban Era ends up and how the Browns do down the stretch. Oh, and Ohio Northern too!!
Why do you cheer for the teams you cheer for? How do you feel about Pittsburgh? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @Believelander.
Keep your eyes peeled and ears open for the MTAF Podcast too. It’s on iTunes!