(To commemorate the 6 month anniversary of PSaMP, I invited some of my favorite bloggers to take over PSaMP for a week. I’m calling it, PSaMP’s Halfie Birthday Extravaganza. Well, its been extended to an obnoxiously long two week blogapalooza, per se. Several kickass local and national blogs agreed to share their feelings on Pittsburgh sports. Hopefully, some will also provide a Mini Pony of the Day. In my mind, it will rule. I hope you enjoy it. Wednesday’s blogger is coming at you sans blog. Its my older sister, Hannah. She comments as Sheena Beaston, and created the lovely PSaMP logo banner. Also, a hilarious Sheena Beaston original LeSean McCoy Photoshop will be unveiled in the near future. Enjoy her words. Or face my wrath.)
When Oh, Henry! Bars Ruled the World (or how I learned to love Pittsburgh sports through thick and thin.
House lights, please. [tap, tap] Is this thing on?
(whispers from the audience: “Who is this? Who does she think she is? She doesn’t even have a blog! What’s going on here!?!”)
Net-posting credibility aside, you will not (and I firmly pronounce this) find another female with a more enhanced knowledge of Pittsburgh sports than that of thine own.
(glances at TSW and shivers in my timbers…)
And yes, I love me some disclaimers, italics and parentheses…so, I would’ve gone all women’s lib and said I was the smartest PERSON re: ‘Burgh athletics, but I’m pretty sure my brother takes the cake on that one.
And in case you have yet to figure it out. tecmo_bowl_bo_jackson is blood. (Not like we’re in a gang or anything, but I’m his older sister. Not that much older…just a scattering of years. 2.5 to be exact. Thanks.)
Enough prefacing. On to the stank.
Ever since I can remember, sports have always been prevalent in my life. Whether it was participating in raucous games of wiffle ball with my family or totally dominating 5 years of slow-pitch softball in elementary school. (I cherished my neon pink and black batting glove. And grape Big League Chew. Still do. I’m chomping it now.) Or even playing a game of catch with a “sister of the cloth” in our backyard. Seriously, this nun was so tall and fierce that Andre the Giant would’ve run away screaming.
My dad was always a sports aficionado and I recall him spinning the yarn and regaling on watching Roberto Clemente at Three Rivers Stadium in the glory days. “He once chased a ball down in the far right field corner, stopped on a dime, whipped around, and gunned down a runner at third. If I’m not mistaken, he one-hopped it to perfection.”
The earliest memories of attending professional sporting events stemmed with a chance stumbling upon a much desired candy bar in the checkout line at Hills department store in 1988. (Western PA readers know what I’m talking about. Best “second-rate department store” popcorn that 79 cents could buy. Take that Kmart.)
Irregardless, Oh, Henry!’s nutty chewy goodness was soon to be in my mouth. (Yikes. Kids, close your ears) Upon unwrapping said treat, some verbiage caught my eye.
“Present this wrapper at your local Major League Baseball team’s ticket office and receive a Peanut Heaven ticket for only $2!”
(I guess something about the peanuts in the candy bar and the general reference to seating in peanut heaven made for a marketing whiz’s dream. Apparently, mine too.)
Our family was, and still is, quite thrifty. So, we ate enough Oh, Henry! bars so we could all enjoy a Pirates game together for a ridiculously discounted fare. (We were also big fans of exchanging Pepsi cans for $5 tickets to SandCastle. So yeah.)
So we loaded up the clan in our maroon Plymouth Voyager minivan and headed to Three Rivers Stadium. We had a ball. And a blast. I only wish I remembered who the Buccos played that day. But what I do remember…
…it was the bottom of the 9th and the score was tied 3-3. Buccos had the bases loaded with Bobby Bonilla on third, Rafael Belliard on second, and Barry Bonds on first. Andy Van Slyke (sigh) at the plate. And he gets walked. Bringing in the winning run. The crowd went nutso, as did I.
I remember walking out of the stadium to our maiden ship parked miles away. (Again, thriftiness beats pricey stadium parking). Everyone pulling out of the parking lot had their windows down and were hooting and hollering as if we’d had just won the World Series. I remember joining in the festivities and screaming nonsense. High-fiving my brother and sister like it was going out of style. It probably did go out of style that night.
Ultimately, this was the tale of how Oh, Henry! saved my life. Or rather, how I became a die-hard Pittsburgh sports fan no matter what.
I do sincerely apologize for my Adult Attention Deficit Disorder rantings. But these only prove the passion I have for a team that has gone through 14 losing seasons in a row. And how I will stand beside them no matter what.
I can only hope that my dangling a pack of Marlboro Reds on a string in from of Jim Leyland’s face will bring back the glory days of MY late 80’s Pirates. (Much like a carrot in front of a horse. Or dare I say, mini pony. Which is an extremely accidental, yet gorgeous segue into my MPotD.)