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Old 02-03-2009, 04:30 PM   #1
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Default One for my Dad

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/feb...-news-article/

Quote:
"When you're in other organizations, you recognize that it's different and you respect it,'' Tomlin said of the singular bond between the organization and Steeler Nation. "Until you are part of it, you have no idea of the depths.

It's generational, passed down from father to son.

I know the more I get to understand it, the more Steeler Nation drives me. I want to win for them because they are that special.''


~ Mike Tomlin ~
When I was growing-up, my dad worked lotsa hours, and while we never went-hungry or cold, and he never drank, it was a tough childhood, mentally & physically:
one of the few things we actively shared together was our love of football, any football, but especially Stiller football.

We listened to the first-ever play-off game on 23 December 1972 on our old console stereo (home games weren't shown on TV in those days), spent a few days each summer watching first Bill Austin, then Chuck Noll put the players through their paces at St. Vincent's College, sat in the freezing rain during the 1978 AFC Championship games against the Oilers, and he even let us miss the day of school after the 1974 AFC Championship game, because we drove from Westmoreland County to Greater Pitt late that night, to greet the victorious Stillers coming-off their airplane (with 15,000 other fools at 2:00 AM):
watching or discussing the Stillers with him was one of the few times I didn't live in-fear of being slapped.

The years passed after I got outta school, and even though I later worked for him over 13 years, we weren't as-close as he thought we were (nor as-close as we should've been):
I stayed out-of arms-length whenever I could.

Many years ago, my now ex-wife left me, and when he blamed this on me, we dirifted even further-apart:
in-fact we hadn't spoken for over 6 years.

In failing health since the '70s, his situation got-worse on Christmas Day 2008, and when my Mom asked if I'd come to visit and 'say-goodbye' (I moved to central Florida over 2 years ago), I drove 19 hours straight-through, because we knew he didn't have-long:
we enjoyed watching the Charger game on TV 11 Janaury, then I returned to Florida.

When I called him to 'discuss-and-scout' the Ratbirds before the Championship game, his speech was slurred, and when he tried to change the channel on the TV with the phone, my Mom explained his condition had deteriorated, but that he wanted to watch the game Sunday evening.

My Mom and I spoke every-other day, as he had good and bad days, and he wasn't able to speak with me over the phone (Mom said he got too-excited talking to me), yet after having several bad days last week, he felt better on Friday & Saturday before SB XLIII, watching the TV and ingesting all he could about the Cardinals, so he could better enjoy the game:
he was in good-health for the game, and even kept the portable phone near his chair, in-case I called during the game, but I didn't want to risk causing him stress.

My Mom said he watched the entire game, most of the post-game celebration on TV into the late-night, and post-game discussion on ESPN the day-after the game, but when the coverage of the game faded into college basketball and other sports, he drifted-off into sleep, struggling to breathe:
he passed-away early this morning, as my Mom took-down the Stiller decorations that adorn the family Christmas Tree, which is left-standing until the Stillers are eliminated each season, a tradition that we started in 1972, but at-least he'd seen 'his' Stillers win another Super Bowl.

I'm guessing he woulda loved Tomlin's desire & word-ethics, Ward's smiling-yet-physical play, and Polamalu's intelligent-recklessness, as he did Noll's quiet-confidence, Bleier's tenacious blocking, Lambert's ferocious leadership:
he was a hard-man, and an even-harder Father..... but he luv'd 'em Stillers!


Quote:
It's generational, passed down from father to son.
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: One for my Dad

wow. i dont even know what to say other than i can only imagine what a mix of emotions the past few days have been for you.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: One for my Dad

Truly an amazing story. I'm glad your father got to see one more Super Bowl.
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Old 02-04-2009, 10:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: One for my Dad

.... touching. I will say a prayer for you and your family
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Old 02-04-2009, 11:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: One for my Dad

Emotional story, and I hope to pass down my love of the Steelers to my children one day. Stories like these warm the heart and shows what Steelers football means to so many.
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Old 02-04-2009, 12:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: One for my Dad

Thank you, for that incredible heart warming story.

I'm sorry for the loss of your dad.

God Bless
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:46 PM   #7
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Default Re: One for my Dad

truly amazing
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Old 02-04-2009, 04:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: One for my Dad

Wow....

Sorry for the loss of your father. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts in prayers.

God must have needed some reinforcement for Steeler Nation up in heaven!
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:35 PM   #9
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Default Re: One for my Dad

That must have been hard for you to write, but maybe a little cathartic. I'm sorry for the loss of your father, but it's good that you made your peace with one another before his passing. At least you have small comfort in knowing that he was happy at the end of his life because he got to see the Steelers bring home the Lombardi. God bless you and your family

...and here's hoping your Mom doesn't have to take down the Christmas decorations next year until February
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:14 AM   #10
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Default Re: One for my Dad

I'd like to thanks this Forum's members for their kind words, and share a few pictures of my trip North for the funeral.


The first thing you see when entering Greater Pittsburgh Airport



Other cities' airports may honor the Wright Brothers, Lindberg, Doolittle or Armstrong, but in Pittsburgh you are greeted by Franco Harris



(almost makes you wish that Pinkie Madden had to fly-in for the games, eh? )


When the immediate family had their final viewing, I gave this to my uncle, so he could place it on his brother's head for eternity



this-way, if he goes to Chuck Noll Field to watch Ray Mansfield & Ernie Holmes square-off in drills, at-least his scalp won't get sun-burned.
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