Monday, April 23, 2012

Steeler Saturday: Hines Ward

HAPPY Saturday to all!!! Today, on this dreary, dark day in Florida, I sit at work and pounder random things. One of those random things just happens to be football, and when I think about football I automatically think about Steelers Football!!! What can I say, I am a Pittsburgh girl!


At work I began to clean out one of my E-mail accounts that has gone un noticed for about 3 months... oops. As I was cleaning out my 1000 unread e-mails (no exaggeration), I came across a bunch from Steelers Nation and it got me thinking, and my thinking got me sad :o(

I know I am a little late to the party, but until now I didn't know what to write. Then I thought to myself... Hey this is my Blog and whether you want to read it or not, I can write whatever I want... So here it goes...

***Warning this may be long***



On March 20th 2012 Hines Ward announced his retirement. This was devastating to Steelers Fans every where, especially this girl. I have grown up a die hard Steelers Fan, and active participant in the amazing fan-hood that we call the Steelers Nation. There is no other group of fans quite like us. We travel hard, we cheer hard and we grieve lost games hard. No matter what the season looks like we show up every Sunday PROUD to be in black and gold. There is nothing quite like walking into a stadium that is not Hines Field and seeing almost nothing but black and gold surrounding you... those poor other fans are out numbered in their own home.

This being said, nothing could have prepared me for March 20th. As I said, I have been a die hard Steelers fan since I was born. My father worked with the Steelers and was fortunate enough to be friends with the likes of Terry Bradshaw and Tony Dungy (among others). I , however, grew up watching a whole different set of Steelers... Greg Lloyd, Yancy Thigpen, Kordell 'Slash' Stewart, Jerome 'The Bus' Bettis, Larry Foote, Casey Hampton (so on and so forth).... and of course HINES WARD.

Hines Ward started his professional career with Steelers as a rookie in 1998 wearing, get this #15, (little known fact) before switching to his more popular and well known #86. So of course being the Hines fan I am I had to have one made (still waiting for a "real" one to be made or sent to just me haha)

For the past 14 years I have spent every football season cheering for "My Team" but mostly for "My Man". I grew up, the past 14 years, loving what Hines does on and off the field. He exudes sportsman ship and generosity. He has broken numerous records and has been ranked with some of the all time greats. His smile is known around the world, it puts joy in so many people’s lives, and distain in so many opponents hearts.

Hearing Hines was released from the Steelers was the first moment of sadness. I was torn because, like I said I grew up watching him, and I didn't know if I could bare to see him in another jersey (esp. if it ended up being Baltimore or Cleveland haha).

Hines ward has not only broken records, topped score boards, and made football fun to watch, he has done a lot for the community. Hines started the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation in both the US and Korea (where he is from). He focuses on helping children who are Biracial (like himself) find acceptance not only from others but in themselves. Check out this video....

A few days later Hines announced his retirement... which to a Steelers Fan and a HUGE Hines fan, was in a way devastating. How have I gone 14 years of watching Hines, flash his pearly whites every week, to not being able to witness his unique football spirit anymore.

Then when Hines annouced his retirement it became emotional. Watching Hines get chocked up, seeing how much he loved what he did, was somewhat surreal. It made a true black and gold fan sit back, listen and replay the past 14 years in their heads.

Whether or not Hines continues his career in football, as a coach, an announcer, I will be sure to tune in.
I will leave you with a few of my favorite celebrations....

 Ciao and Steelers Love