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|02-04-2011, 07:37 AM||#1|
A Son of Martha
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Steelers fans take over team hotel
Steelers fans take over team hotel
By: Scott Tady
Beaver County Times
Thursday February 3, 2011 11:43 PM
FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Whoa, nice digs where the Steelers are shacked up this week.
Sculpted native stone, rich hardwoods and a bold glass exterior gives the Omni Fort Worth reason to tout itself as a premier hotel “as breathtaking as any west Texas sunset.”
Though the hotel’s ambience dipped somewhere south of elegance Thursday, as hundreds of black-and-gold-clad Steelers fans roamed the lobby, dozens of them corralled into a corner by security workers, where they shouted to and snapped photos of passing players.
Joel Hernandez of Forth Worth wore a Steelers’ Darth Vader costume. “I like to represent, even though I’m from Texas,” Hernandez said. “Just to see one of the Steelers would be huge. Or to have them see me in this crazy outfit.”
The throng of fans went wild when Hines Ward scurried past in civilian clothes and climbed into a waiting escort van.
Maurkice Pouncey, in knee-length shorts, smiled at fans calling his name as he walked, without a limp or crutches, into a different van.
Some players approached the mob and signed autographs.
Scott Sullivan of St. Petersburg, Fla., held a yellow Steelers helmet signed by 15 players this week, including Pouncey, Ryan Clark and Chris Hoke.
The trick is to park yourself next to the door and get there early in the afternoon, said Sullivan, who estimated he waited for 30 hours this week to get the signatures he will display proudly in his man cave.
“I came here for the festivities,” Sullivan said. “But I’m still hoping to get a ticket to the game.”
Barbara Dobosh, a Monongahela native transplanted in Texas, arrived at the Omni at 4 p.m., to savor a few hours of Steeler watching.
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“I just want to cheer them on and congratulate them,” Dobosh said.
She and her sister took the Cowboys Stadium tour earlier, and said it was worth the $50 ticket to stand on the field and visit the locker room.
“We’re really hoping to see Troy Polomalu,” Bedford County native Heather Halcom, another Texas transplant, said. She helped convert her Texas husband, Lance, into a Steelers fan.
It’s not tough these days being a Steelers fan in Dallas, Lance said.
“It’s funny, and maybe I’m just biased, but you see more Steelers stickers and banners here,” he said. “Maybe that’s not surprising now that Dallas stinks so much.”
That remark made local Cowboys fan Donald Campbell spin around suddenly. But there would be no trash talking between the two; not in this plush hotel.
“His team’s on top, so I understand, but I’m not going to diss my Cowboys,” Campbell said. “And I can’t cheer for the Steelers to win seven on our field.”
The majority of Steelers fanatics in the lobby were Fort Worth area locals, which surprised Canonsburg resident Gina Barron.
“Our whole plane was filled with Steelers fans on the flight down today,” Barron said.
More Pittsburgh area folks are likely to arrive in town today and make a beeline to Omni, her husband, Bruce Barron, predicted.
If they do, Gina has a recommendation: Try the bison chili in the fancy ground floor restaurant.
“It’s good. A little spicy,” she said.
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