A Win is a Win…or how I nearly froze my toes off

It’s no secret that I love the Pittsburgh Steelers. So any opportunity to see them play live, I’m going to jump on.

When the 2011-2012 schedule was released, and I saw the Steelers were playing the Chiefs in Kansas City, I made up my mind to get down there to the game. KC is only 3 shorts hours away from Omaha. How could I not go?

The first mission was to convince CJ. That wasn’t hard. He heard the words “football” and “game” in the same sentence and was sold.

Next up – find another couple to go with us. This wasn’t a requirement as we certainly could have gone alone, but it’s way more fun with friends! Turns out I know someone who might love the Steelers just a bit more than me, if that’s possible, and that’s Courtney from Team Trader. She said “yes” without hesitation and we were off to the races!

Now for finding CHEAP tickets. Yes I love the Steelers. No I’m not willing to pay hundreds of dollars for tickets . I was able to find some for $40 each. I knew they would be in the nosebleed section but that was ok. The important thing was to be there, not to be close enough to get flicked with sweat flying off Troy’s hair.

Or was it?

Anyway, Courtney was responsible for getting us hotel rooms. We wanted a hotel close to the stadium but they got booked up fast. She asked me if we wanted something in the $40, $80 or $180 a night range. We both agreed on $80. Well turns out we weren’t able to get those so we ended up in the $180 a night rooms, at the Holiday Inn.

Now I had the go ahead from my hubbie, a couple to go with, tickets and hotel rooms. We were all set!

Let the games begin!

The game was Sunday night at 7:20 (i.e. the NBC Sunday Night Football game of the week). The plan was to leave town around noon and therefore get to KC about 3pm. We’d check in at the hotel, unload our gear and then head over for some tailgating before the game itself.

But first we had to drop Isabella and Samson off at my parent’s house.


Don’t we all look cute in our Steeler gear? Too bad Samson doesn’t have a Steeler collar or something…we’ll have to work on that!

We got to Chris and Courtney’s around 12:30 and hit the road. It was a smooth drive and we got in right at 3:30. Turns out our hotel was literally across the street from the stadium! This was the view from our room on the 14th floor.


That’s Arrowhead football stadium on the left and the KC Royals baseball stadium on the right. All that separated us was the highway!

Here’s a close up of Arrowhead.


Because our hotel was so close, it was packed with other Steeler fans (and a few Chiefs fans too, though most of them already live in town). They were having a tailgating party, face painting and even a shuttle ride over to the game. All cool but we were on a mission to get there fast.

First we had to unload in the rooms.


We had adjoining rooms. That’s my reflection in Chris and Courtney’s mirror, through the connecting door between our rooms. Dork with a capital D.

One thing to note is that it was very cold that day. Like in the 30’s during the day and dropping in to the night. I thought I was prepared for that.

I so was not.

See, I’m not an outdoorsy type of person. I hate camping. I can’t stand bugs. I don’t like any type of outdoor winter activity. Therefore I don’t have any of the gear one might have for those situations. I don’t own snow boots or snow pants. I don’t have a face mask. My hats/scarves are more for fashion than warmth. And I don’t own any long underwear.

I was screwed.

Here’s what I did wear: jeans, a long sleeve t-shirt, short sleeve t-shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, scarf, hat, gloves, socks and regular boots (and of course my Terrible Towel which actually became a good blanket later on). 

CJ had about the same plus long underwear.

Chris and Courtney added to that snow pants and overalls.

We walked over to the stadium because we didn’t want to wait for the shuttle.

DSC01710The plan was to meet up with Chris’ cousins who were tailgating. They told us they were in section A3. We walked and walked around A3 and couldn’t find them anywhere. We did see a lot of Troy look alikes (aka dudes in wigs) and one guy who actually did look like Hines Ward.

And oh the smells. In one step you’d catch a whiff of burgers on the grill and in the next it’d be hot dogs. Further down was the aroma of steak or grilled veggies. There were bonfires, games being played, music blasting and plenty of tents and heaters. Very cool atmosphere.

Yet we couldn’t find OUR tailgate! They finally found us after about 30 min. and we claimed our spot at their truck.


It was about 4:30 by now and we had close to 3 hours to kill before the game. Most of that time was spent drinking and shooting the breeze. Then more drinking and storytelling. Followed by still more drinking and even more crass story telling. For most I think the alcohol kept them warm. I only had 2 beers so it didn’t give me extra heat. At one point I had to go sit in the cab of the truck with the heater on to thaw out.

Because Chris had so many layers on, and is more warm-blooded than me, he actually took off his outer coat and gave it to me! I was very grateful. My middle (shoulders down to butt) was warm but my face/nose and legs/feet were FREEZING! Mostly my feet. At one point I seriously thought that my toes would literally freeze right off!


On a side note – it is quite a challenge to pee in a port-a-potty when you have umpteen layers on AND it’s night so you can’t see what the hell you’re doing.

Finally it was time to head in to the stadium! We climbed up and up and up to our seats that were almost to the very top.


But we could see the whole field and everything going on so I was good.

Funny story: our tickets were for section 305, row 36, seats 7-10. After having been seated for 10 minutes or so in what we thought were those seats, 3 guys came up and said we were in their seats. We checked and sure enough, we had sat in row 35 instead of 36. So we moved up one and all was well. Until 30 minutes later when CJ and Chris went down for more beverages and got lost. When they made it back we found out that we were actually sitting in the wrong section too! We were in 306 – one over from where we were supposed to be! And those 3 guys in front of us? They were also in the wrong section! They were supposed to be in 305 as well. AND they are season ticket holders! We all laughed about it and decided to just stay where we were since no one else was claiming those seats.

Soon the action started. The teams came out on to the field.


Martina McBride sang the National Anthem.


And some Air Force jets did a fly over.


(Bad picture, I know, but I wasn’t prepared for that and had a cheap camera with me)

Then they did the coin toss.


The dude in the #7 jersey is Big Ben and #99 is Brett Keisel (The Beard).

The game itself was stressful because Pitt didn’t play as well as they should have. Let’s face it – everyone was expecting them to roll over the Chiefs. Even the 3 dudes in front of us, who are Chiefs fans, were like, “Wow, you guys must be upset that you’re not winning by more.” Um, yeah we were. I don’t know what it is about KC but whenever the Steelers come there, they choke. When CJ and I saw them there 2 years ago, same thing happened only they actually lost that game.

The Steelers win games and championships but they don’t make it look pretty.

As the night went on it really got cold. The guys even broke out their face masks.

cj mask

Serial killer #1.

chris mask

And his friend Hannibal Lector.

Us girls didn’t need no stinkin’ face masks. We were basking in the glow of Steeler Nation!

courtney sarah

And beer.

By the time all was said and done, it was 11:30 when we got back to the hotel. I jumped into a hot shower and just stood under the steaming water for a good 5 minutes before I started to feel warm again. Stayed in for 15 more minutes to let the heat soak in to my bones. That’s not typical of me. I’m usually and in and out kind of gal when it comes to showering. But not that night. I needed the heat baby!

I got dressed again and we went downstairs for a cocktail celebration. We were dragging though. We took one look at the crowded bar and went back up to our room and crashed in bed. Slept in on Monday until 8:15 which is a BIG luxury for me (especially when I’m used to getting up at 4:30 am for Kosama).

Then it was back home.

The trip was a blast and Chris and Courtney are super fun. Couldn’t have gone with a better couple. Next time, I’ll go more prepared for the cold.

Here we go Steelers, here we go!

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Go Steelers!

You Win Some, You Lose Some

Did you hear? The Packers won the Super Bowl! Which of course means the Steelers lost. You probably didn’t hear because they only show it on TV every 5 minutes. I for one had to really search to find the outcome of the game.

Ok, all sarcasm aside, yes, it was disappointing to see the Steelers lose and I was sad when I went to bed. But, I don’t mind losing to a team like the Packs. They’re a good team and I do like Aaron Rodgers a lot. Now, if we had lost to the Patriots, I would have really been ticked!

Despite how the day ended, the rest of it was great! We spent most of it at home watching pre-game coverage and coaching Isabella to say “Go Steelers!” Instead she would point to the emblem on my shirt and say “Steelers kites.” I guess they do look like kites. But the Pittsburgh Kites doesn’t sound very tough. Course, neither does the Arizona Cardinals or the New Orleans Saints but they manage to get by with it. Still, I’m not sure I could get behind a team named after a piece of fabric that haphazardly blows in the wind.

But, I digress. 

Around 4:00, we headed out to a Super Bowl party. Isabella was set and ready to go in her own Steeler kites shirt!!

No, she’s not squinting. That’s her game face. Or maybe that’s her “blue steel” (which would be appropriate). What can I say, she’s fierce!!

(By the way, the adorable Steeler bow she’s wearing was custom-made for her by Cindy from Tutu Your World. Cindy does great work so this is my shameless plug for her.)

Here’s Munchkin with her daddy (no worries, he does have a Steelers shirt on underneath the maroon one, otherwise I wouldn’t have let him leave the house).

We were among the first ones there, which was good. Gave Munchkin a chance to survey the lay of the land and get to know Sammie, another girl who’s just a year older.

Isabella was a little shy at first, but before too long she was running around with all the little ones. She was the youngest so there were times when she didn’t understand what they were doing or didn’t quite fit in, but overall I think she had a blast just running around the rooms! It was hard for me to keep up with her!

Here was my dilemma: I’m a pretty social person and really enjoy being out with friends. But I also really love the Steelers and wanted to focus on the game. On top of that, I had an active 16 month old that needed looking after. So I was torn about what my priority should be. Ok, not that torn. I mean, obviously Isabella is the priority, but that still left the other 2 things. So here’s what I did. The first quarter, I socialized and watched Isabella. The 2nd quarter, CJ watched Munch so I could focus on the game. At halftime, we went upstairs where it was quiet and both watched her (and the Black Eyed Peas who I thought did a great job). Then the 3rd quarter started and Isabella was getting crabby and CJ was tired and so we decided to head home. Fortunately we were DVRing the game so once we got home and put Munchkin to bed, I could pick up where we had left off and not miss anything.

It was probably better for me to see the ending in the privacy of my own home anyway, where I could sob in peace.

My Father-in-Law was nice enough to call and offer up his condolences though. He said something like, “Well they played with their heads up their butts but I’m still sorry they lost.”

Those tender words really helped to start the healing process.

Now football season is officially over and it’s time to concentrate on other things, like American Idol. Don’t you just love Steven Tyler? He’s like a teddy bear and a drag queen all rolled up in to one. Love it!

Stay strong Steeler nation, we will be back. We always are. We’ve won the Super Bowl 6 times, which is more than any other team in the NFL. That’s why I can be proud of my boys. Even though they didn’t win yesterday, they still made it there, which is more than 30 other teams can say. 

Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cross that goal
Pittsburgh Steelers, Like free wheelers, Roll, roll, roll
Bring us victory and joy will be supreme
And win more fame with ev’ry game
You Pittsburgh Steelers team
Go, Go, Show ’em how a team can fight
Go, Go, Fight with all your might
Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cross that goal
Pittsburgh Steelers, Like free wheelers, Roll, roll, roll
Bring us victory and joy will be supreme
And win more fame with ev’ry game
You Pittsburgh Steelers team!


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Road trip to Dallas

In case you haven’t heard – we’re going to the Super Bowl! Well, not me, but the Steelers are.  

One of the items on my bucket list was to go to a Super Bowl game. This would be a great one! Oh man, can you imagine? But, it’s not as easy as it sounds. You can’t just get tickets and go. Well, you can but only if you have a lot of money.

 Which I don’t.

One of the guys I work with had a shot at a Super Bowl package if the Patriots made it (which they didn’t – in your face Tom Brady! Now go get a haircut). For 10 grand, he and his wife could fly there and back with the team on their jet, stay in the team hotel, get 2 tix to the game, all access pass to the team locker room, attend the after party with the team and get unlimited amounts of chocolate raining down on you wherever you go. Ok, maybe not that last one but seriously, doesn’t that sound frickin’ awesome!

Picture it – me and CJ flying down to Dallas on the Steelers jet. I’m sitting next to Troy, putting conditioner in his hair. CJ ‘s conferring with Mike Tomlin, helping him decide which plays to run. Big Ben and James Harrison come over to join us for a drink. Hines Ward grills up some burgers and gives us all fashion tips. Then we land and head to the hotel where our room is next door to Ben’s (hey, someone’s gotta keep an eye on him making sure he doesn’t get in to anymore trouble).

The day of the game we all head to the locker room where CJ gives a rousing pre-game pep talk and I take pictures. Lots of pictures. We head up to our box seats and find that Jerry Jones is our waiter. Move it JJ, I want my hot dog as soon as it’s off the grill and not a minute later! The game is awesome and the Steelers beat the Packers by 3 points which makes victory all the more exciting and sweet. Everyone is hugging and Art Rooney throws C-notes in the air in celebration.

Back in the locker room, the guys are high-fiving, hugging and slapping each other and we get in on the team picture. We also get an autographed game ball. Everyone heads out to party it up and show Dallas how it’s done. The next day we fly home, passed out on the plane and snuggling to our championship t-shirts.

What? It could happen.

Or, I could get together with all my friends and watch the game the good old-fashioned way – on a high def big screen T.V. with lots of food and beer. Yep, that sounds perfect to me!

But hey, if anyone has some extra cash and wants to get me an early birthday present, I’ll take one of  these:

 Don’t worry – I’ll throw in the $70 for parking. Hey, it’s the least I can do.


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I Heart the Steelers!

I don’t know about you, but I’m really enjoying this football season. Not only is my team (the Steelers) doing well, but there have been some major upsets and surprises.

Some of the underdogs, ehem Chiefs, came out of no where to really kick some butt.

Last year’s Super Bowl winner got beat by a team that no one saw coming.

The two #1 seeds going in to the playoffs got beat this past weekend.

And the Steelers are still in it! Does it get any better? I don’t think so.

I haven’t always been a Steelers fan. In fact, I haven’t always loved football. Ask anyone I grew up with. I had exactly zero interest in the game, either at the college or pro levels. This surprises a lot of people given that I’m from Nebraska. You’re practically born here with a Husker pacifier in your mouth. I’m probably not a Husker fan because I didn’t grow up in a Husker household, no I was spared from the fever. We’re a Notre Dame family. Wait, what’s that sound? I think I just heard half of my Nebraska readers “tsk tsk” in disgust. Yes, you read that right. We’re (or rather my mom, dad and sister) are Notre Dame fans. I didn’t drink the kool-aid though. I just endured it.

Then I went off to a college that wasn’t UNL or even in this state and was able to get further away from the Husker Hoopla. I went to a small private school that had a Division 3 football team. The games were a fun social outing (read: drinking event) but nothing that we got super crazy over. The only sports I really cared about at Coe, when I wasn’t studying or shooting photos, were drinking and partying (and yes, those are athletic events much of the time).

My parents weren’t devoted followers of any pro teams either (though my dad watches pro football, and roots for the Broncos, he isn’t super in to it) so I wasn’t exposed to it. Heck, I don’t even remember watching any Super Bowl games until 5 years ago or so, and even then I only went for the social aspect of it (and to watch the commercials).

The turning point came when I did a 6 week assignment for Del Monte in Pittsburgh in December of 2007.

In my hotel room

I was in the heart of Steeler Nation and it was hard not to get sucked in. I was surrounded by it everywhere I went. The Del Monte office shared a parking lot with Heinz field so I saw the stadium every day.

Heinz Field

Jerome Bettis’ restaurant was downstairs from our office and we ate there for lunch several times a week. All my co-workers were huge fans and everyone would wear Steeler gear on game days. When the Steelers were featured on Monday Night Football, there would be people everywhere around the stadium with their Terrible Towels. One night I had the MNF game on in my hotel room as I did some work and the commentators were talking about how it was pouring rain outside. I thought to myself, “Yeah it’s raining here too” and then realized my “here” was the same place they were talking about on TV! I looked over and saw an image of the Pittsburgh skyline and could see my hotel. It was surreal and I instantly got hooked.

And I’ve been a fan ever since.

I bought my first t-shirt that week from the airport on my trip home. I still have it (along with a handful of others) and wear them every weekend of football season.

The 2008-2009 season was the first where I really followed them – and they won the Super Bow!. Oh man that was exciting! I thought maybe I was their good luck charm!

Then the next year came and they didn’t do so great. It’s the Super Bowl curse I tell you!  

And now here we are again, heading in to the game that determines who will be the AFC champion and move on to the Super Bowl. All they have to do is beat the Jets. Ha! I say that like it will be easy. It won’t. In the past 2 weeks, the Jets have taken down the might Colts and Patriots so the Steelers will need to bring their best.

And Isabella and I will be cheering as loud as we can!!

(CJ says I look a little crazed in this picture. I was trying to show enthusiasm and get Isabella to smile. You can see how well that worked.)