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Media gather at St. Vincent's College in Latrobe for the 50th year prior to the start of Steelers Training Camp.

Media gather at St. Vincent’s College in Latrobe for the 50th year prior to the start of Steelers Training Camp. (Courtesy Photo Gerry Dulac))

[fab-rik]  noun:  1. a cloth made by weaving, knitting, or felting fibers. 2.  The texture of the woven, knitted, or felted material. 3 The method of construction. [kwilt] noun: 1. a coverlet for a bed, made of two layers of fabric with some soft substance, as wool or down, between them and stitched in patterns or tufted through all thicknesses in order to prevent the filling from shifting.

Most people who are 55 and younger may not remember when a few grandmothers, aunts, cousins and great aunts would get together and throw quilting parties.  The ladies would bring an assortment of old clothes, fabrics and even rags that were about to be discarded and cut the cloth into may shapes and sizes, turning useless pieces of cloth into a “rainbow of comfort” commonly known as a quilt.  Upon its completion a finished quilt was usually a piece of living breathing art.

St. Vincent College in Latrobe, PA has been the “basic” training camp for the Steelers athletes/gladiators to prepare for the NFL season.  During the preceding 49 years that veterans and rookies alike spent at Latrobe, there were many players, writers, and photographers of many shapes, sizes and colors that inhabited the playing field hoping to leave training camp on the Steelers team bus as opposed to a Greyhound or Trailway’s vehicle.

Aubrey Bruce

Aubrey Bruce

Also many aspiring sports writers, (myself included) patrolled the sacred grounds looking for that breaking story or that timeless quote, while simultaneously trying to monitor the actions of “the turk,” the messenger of doom for the late Steelers coaching legend Chuck Noll.  From what I can tell, “the turk” mirrored the personality of his boss, few words for the departing and sometimes even less verbiage for those who may have been fortunate enough to make the team.

Art Rooney II talked about his training camp exploits as a ball boy along with Bill (Bubby) Nunn III; “stealing Joe Greene’s car one night” after hours when both teenagers should have been fast asleep as opposed to out joyriding in the “borrowed” vehicle of the man that many people considered the meanest player in all of professional football, “Mean” Joe Greene. Greene who at that time in the eyes of many trained observers, may have been missing a few bricks from the wagon. Although Greene was born and raised in Texas, I seriously doubt that he was given that such a fearsome nickname as the result of sitting on the porch in the scorching Texas sun, sipping mint juleps and whistling Dixie.”  In lieu of that fact, after Art Rooney II, spoke about that incident I would surmise that from this point forward that his bravery should probably never be questioned.

Fifty years of covering the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp at St. Vincent College. My, my, my, my: time truly travels at warp speed when you’re having fun.

Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412.583.6741

He is also a contributing columnist with urbanmediatoday.com Follow him on Twitter@ultrascribe

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