Being a native of Pittsburgh, I still root for my home-town Steelers. Some notes from the game Sunday:
- Pittsburgh still has one of the prettiest skylines in America.
- There are a lot of Lombardy Trophies in Heinz Field’s Great Hall, but there’s room for more.
- You have to love men’s rooms with an entrance, a trough and an exit. No need for confusing directions or waiting for the guy in front of you to wake up. You know the guy…the one leaning his drunken head on the wall
- $7.25 for a Miller Lite is highway robbery. $7.25 for a Yuengling is robbery, but more white collarish.
- There are actual seats in Heinz Field, but I’ve never sat on anything but a bleacher in the north end zone.
- REO Speedwagon, which played an acoustic version of “Roll With The Changes” before the game, had to time to do “Time For Me To Fly” but did not. Seriously?
- If you yell “Here we go Steelers!” anywhere within a mile of Heinz Field, someone will yell back, “Here we go!”
- REO Speedwagon should have practiced “The Star Spangled Banner” during the time they should have been playing “Time For Me To Fly”.
- Andrew Stockey was the only person tailgating in a suit, but he looked damn good.
-Props to the big guy in the Daniel Sepulveda jersey. It takes a real man to wear a punter's jersey...and even more moxie to stand up and take credit after each punt.
- Fewer props to the extremely large woman straining the seams of her Jerome Bettis jersey. Perhaps Casey Hampton would have been a better choice.
- I got to see Troy Polamalu pick off a pass right in front of me! Would have been six points if he hadn’t dropped it.
- I missed the entire half-time show and the first 3:00 of the third buying french fries. I’m not sure who played, but it wasn’t REO Speedwagon.
- I think the guy in front of me in the french fry line might have been one of my best friends from childhood, but I didn’t want to seem like an idiot if I asked and was wrong. Besides, some hot woman kept kissing him and I didn’t want to be a third wheel.
- There is a real artistry to whipping a “Terrible Towel” without smacking the people near you.
- I was disappointed that they didn’t play “Renegade” on the scoreboard, but since the defense pitched a shuout, I guess they didn’t want to waste it.
- The guy in front of us REALLY liked high-fiving.
- In hindsight, sunscreen would have been a good idea.
- If you’re claustrophobic, getting out of Heinz Field after the game has to be a mental challenge.
- I wonder if the guy passed out drunk on the bench outside Heinz Field after the game woke up and asked, “How long until kickoff?”
- To the guy in the Louis Lipps jersey…it’s time to upgrade. - How do people NOT fall in the Allegheny River while tailgating on boats.
- To the girl who was dancing in short-shorts on one of those boats…you had a 12-year-old boy’s undivided attention.
- The sidewalk saxophone guy makes way more in tips after a win.
- It’s worth walking five blocks for free parking and easy highway access.
- To the guy on the highway driving while eating a Primanti Bros. sandwich…seriously dude?!
- I’m not used to riding in the back seat on the Ohio Turnpike. I learned that my own snore can wake me up!
- The Ravenna rest stop on the Ohio Turnpike looked like a Steelers hangout on the way home.
- There is no better way to experience a win than with your son there with you.
If you’re going to sell Girl Scout cookies at a Lowes store, don’t send dad as a chaperone. It will just lead to random aisle wandering and plans for home improvement that isn’t necessary.
Example A: Darren Toms.
This is Gabby’s first year selling Girl Scout cookies, which are the sugary equivalent to crack for most adults. Her troop was signed up to sell the treats at the Lowes in Rocky River Sunday. Since this was Gabby’s first effort at retail and marketing, her mom and I both went with her.
Gabby was teamed up with a fellow scout that was only slightly less shy than Gabby. People that know my daughter just spit their coffee out while saying, “Gabby? Shy?!” Well there’s a big difference between being in a play or with family, and asking a complete stranger if they want a Do-Si-Do.
At first, Gabby and her fellow scout simply held up their signs. We kept encouraging them to ask people, “Would you like to buy Girl Scout cookies?” But this was a challenge for a pair of seven-year-olds.
Meantime, dad had to wander the lighting aisle looking for a new flush-mount ceiling light with a pull chain. Did I find what I needed? No. But I got lots of cool ideas for other lighting fixtures in our house that are just fine as they are.
Missy and I finally got Gabby to ask people, “Would you like to buy Girl Scout cookies?” After her first successful stop, she got more confident. Eventually she was chasing people out the door, “Would you…*puff puff*…like to…*puff puff*…buy some COOKIES?”
Meantime, dad had to wander the lumber section. He found new floor trim for the basement. This wasn’t a whim. It was something we needed. Honest.
As Gabby became more confident, they sold more cookies. I thought she was going to ankle-tackle a few people, but she showed some restraint. We even made some sales to people who were visibly disappointed that we’d sold out of Thin Mints and Samoas.
Meantime, dad had to wander the spring seasonal section. I need some good seeding for the front yard. I didn’t buy yet, but I pondered hard.
After a few hours, our two girls had equaled the first shift and all told sold about 80 boxes of cookies.
Meantime, I told Missy about the cool bathroom sinks in the plumbing section. Really interesting bowls set on top of pedestals. Missy asked if we needed a new sink. I looked down, kicked an invisible piece of lint with me shoe and said, “No.”
I was very proud of Gabby for overcoming her shyness and really selling the cookies. It was a good experience for her and they even made $25 in donations!
I am also proud of myself for only buying the trim I needed.
But the outdoor firepit and grill looked really cool…
My wife once told me the only man she’d consider leaving me for is Hines Ward of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then at Ladies Night at Heinz Field a few years ago, Hines tossed Missy a package of Peanut M&M’s. It wasn’t quite a promise ring, so I managed to skirt that dangerous moment in our relationship.
While I still have my lovely wife, I now fear I’m losing my four-year-old daughter. She is now in love with Joseph. While most girls her age may be infatuated with Diego or SpongeBob, Parker has fallen for a character in a musical.
But then again, Diego doesn’t have a kick-butt coat like Joseph.
Just after Christmas, we took the family to see “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at Beck Center for the Arts
. I had never seen the musical and was looking forward to what I'd heard was a terrific show.
It absolutely lived up to the hype. But as much as Missy and I enjoyed it, Parker was smitten. She loved everything about the show, especially Joseph (in chains).
(Photo courtesy Beck Center for the Arts
For the next week, she talked about the musical every day. I got the CD from the library. I was requested to play it quite often. Quite...quite often.
Then Missy was offered tickets to the closing night, so we took the girls to see "Joseph" again. This time Parker stood and danced for much of the show. When it was done, she asked Missy if she could meet Joseph.
So we went to where the cast members come out, and about 15 minutes later Connor O’Brien emerged. Connor was incredible as Joseph and had a voice that brought the house down. Parker was in awe of seeing him up close and hid behind Missy’s leg at first. Then Connor got down on one knee and began talking to her. The floodgates opened and he and Parker chatted for a few minutes.
I will always be grateful to Connor for taking those few minutes to absolutely delight my daughter. Parker told “Joseph” that we had the CD of the show, and he told her, “So do I!” Parker was glowing for days after that.
The next step was to get the DVD of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” from the library. I watched “The Donny and Marie Show” as a kid, so I was skeptical of him as Joseph. But I have to admit he was terrific in the role. And the DVD has been on a continuous loop in Parker’s room over since.
Missy and I swear that someday we’ll get those damn songs out of our head, but it’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
Just two weeks after “Dreamcoat” wrapped up, the Beck Center staged “Altar Boyz” at the Hanna Theater in downtown Cleveland. One of the stars? Connor O’Brien. We took the kids to see it, and Parker couldn’t wait to see her Connor again, this time playing Jewish Altar Boy Abraham (second from left).
(Photo courtesy Beck Center for the Arts
I should point out that we have since convinced Parker that he is an actor and is playing roles on stage. She now knows him as Connor and not “Joseph”.
Again…amazing performances from the entire cast. Parker was singing the “Altar Boyz” opening number on the way home. And she SWEARS Connor waved to her during the show.
Parker now has a “Joseph” poster in her room, and the front page of the Plain Dealer’s Weekend Magazine that spotlighted “Altar Boyz”. What would Connor O’Brien think if he knew his current biggest fan was a four-year-old girl? I think he’d be honored!
What I love is seeing my little girl get that excited about something tangible. She just LOVES live theater. She would pick that over a DVD or computer game any day of the week. It’s a real joy to take her to performances.
And I’m not too worried about losing her to Joseph. I still take her to school, tuck her in at night and I have the power to turn off the DVD player.
But if Connor O’Brien ever tosses her a bag of Peanut M&M’s?