“Our wedding day is almost here, my beautiful Hippolyta. We’ll be getting married in four days, on the day of the new moon. But it seems to me that the days are passing too slowly—the old moon is taking too long to fade away! That old, slow moon is keeping me from getting what I want, just like an old widow makes her stepson wait to get his inheritance.” (Theseus addressing Hippolyta modern text excerpt from; “A midsummer night’s dream,” by William Shakespeare)
On Aug. 4 and 6, the Pittsburgh Steelers held two very public exhibitions, rehearsals, practices or however one chooses to define the events that allowed the public-at-large to again get a small glimpse behind the “steel veil” of secrecy. Steeler nation sometimes appears as if they are an anxious groom, preparing to marry into tradition, impatiently waiting and wanting the inheritance of six NFL championships to morph into their seventh Vince Lombardi Trophy. They want their inheritance and they want it now. As far as they are concerned their dowry is incomplete without a present championship ring. As I sat in the dorm room at St. Vincent College after the night practice at Latrobe High School, Aug. 4, observing a full moon, something hit me harder than Steelers linebacker James Harrison ever could.
There is far more to a stint at the Steelers training camp than bodies and sweat flying in opposite directions. Several years ago, I was interviewed for the pregame show of a nationally-televised Thursday night game between the Steelers and Ravens. During the exchange, I told the interviewer: “The Pittsburgh Steelers are not just a football team. The Pittsburgh Steelers are a culture.”
The spirits of Art Rooney Sr., Dan Rooney, Chuck Noll and Bill Nunn Jr. continue to freely roam the grounds of St. Vincent College in Latrobe as well as inhabiting the tunnels and bowels of Heinz Field. These hallowed grounds are more than present reservoirs of flesh. Many spirits remain on call as hopeful athletes petition a higher power for assistance, whether that power be within or without.