I took some time to digest all that has gone on this offseason and I'm headed to the pharmacy.
I'm feeling a spot of indigestion.
Ben will still be the talk throughout the season and any fan that thinks when he returns things will go back to normal is living in denial.
When the Steelers hit the road the signs and jeers will be in full display. There are fans of rivals that post on this website daily that I'm sure have started preparing for when the circus rolls into town. Pittsburgh jerseys with RAPE-N-HURTER complete with the number 7 will be seen. The only upside is hoping a fan is clever enough to show up in a black and gold porta-jon or something else that might at least draw a smile to my face.
My original line of thinking on the subject was yeah he's an idiot, yeah he makes bad decisions, your right he probably is a jag-off and no I have no defense for him. I figured that before long there would be evidence to prove that Ben did nothing other than act like a spoiled kid and that no harm was done.
He's the starting quarterback of a team that I have too much affection for, according to my wife, so I'll be forced to cheer for him on Sundays. Well, I'll cheer on the team, and clap sternly when Ben makes a great play.
On April 8th we had our first child, a baby girl, and the conversation involving the phrase "what if it was your daughter?" took on a whole new meaning.
Yeah, I'd kick Ben off of his speeding motorcycle into a stopped vehicle and drag him into some secluded bar bathroom and have my security team keep everyone out while I kicked in his ribs until he coughed up the appendix he claims to of had removed.
Any father would probably cheer.
That's the easy part. The difficult part will be when my daughter is old enough to ask questions. It won't be easy to explain at games why people still cheer for Ben and wear his jersey. I won't tell her it was some young girl trying to be famous. I won't tell her that Ben was never charged so nothing bad happened. I won't tell her that it was all a big misunderstanding. To be honest, right now I don't know how I would explain it. I'm just happy I got a few years to ponder it.
It puts me into a different perspective regarding my team. The Steelers are a part of our family. I have cousins with Iron City ink in their arms with full sleeves of Heinz Field, PNC Park, Mellon Arena, the Rooneys and Championships past. They all say the same thing.
If the Steelers win another championship with Ben at the helm, it simply doesn't count. The 2 titles that came while Ben was the starter will remain. Any future rings will be out.
It's a tough line to draw in the sand considering when the Steelers do well everyone in my area has the fever. A winning team makes the mood in Western PA change. I have too much of myself attached to the franchise.
Right now there are players on this team that I am looking forward to seeing progress. Guys like Mendenhall, Wallace, Hood and Pouncey. All are players that I clapped for on draft day without them ever playing a down for the Steelers. Mike Wallace was a guy that I learned about from avid fans on this website that follow the draft and know more than the so called experts on ESPN. Because of a fellow Steelers' fan that I met through sportsline I was standing up clapping on draft day for a kid that otherwise I would have never heard of. That's one of the greatest parts of being a football fan is the anticipation of the season to come and it would be that way again this year if not for the discussion that will come up every Steelers' game.
You can hear the air leaking out of my lungs.
Now instead of being able to just enjoy the development of some remarkable young talent I'll be reminded every gameday of how the leader of the offense and face of the franchise disgraced his self and everything that I pride myself in as a fan of what I always thought of as the greatest franchise in any sport. Instead of forgetting about the everyday grind and becoming part of something remarkable I'll be forced to hear it again and again and again...
Hard work, integrity, respect for your opponent and respect for yourself. These are the qualities that I have associated with the Steelers since I was a child. These are the qualities that I would like for my daughter to get out of her sports life as well, no matter what sport she decides to be a part of.
As time rolls along perspective on this will change, from my own personal point of view to the eyes of the rest of football fans around the globe. Ben will be singled out and the legacy of the Steelers will remain. It will be realized that one idiot player on a roster of many doesn't make a team of degenerates.
For now the shine of the trophies and the color of the gold might be faded, but in the end when all is said and done the shimmer will be back. Not only in the trophy case but in the eyes of a young girl that was born on April 8th, 2010 that is destined to bleed black and gold.
Just like her daddy.
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Just a blog, but it is the slow season..........