Thursday, February 4, 2010

Beating Pitt

Beating Pitt is about the most satisfying gift that a Mountaineer team can give to its fans. Nothing in the regular season brings more joy, nothing defines whether or not a seaosn is good more than winning over the hated Panthers. Jack Flemming recounted how his father taught him at an early age to hate Pitt. Most of us got the same education.

Funny thing, that hatred does not extend to the city itself. Three of West Virginia's largest cities lie within its metropolitan area. Northern West Virginians love the Steelers as much as anyone north of the border and Pennsylvanis Steeler fans love their West Virginia brethren who can yell, scream, and hate the Ravens just as fervently as any Keystone State resident. I remember coming out of a game at Heinz Field passing a street musician playing a saxophone. My wife asked him to play Country Roads. When he started that very familiar song, at least a hundred people on the bridge with us sang at the top of our lungs. Pittsburgh is like us. People kick them, make fun of them, call them rednecks. Their professional sports teams' success is the middle finger they extend to the rest of the world.

The University of Pittsburgh is alien to the city. It puffs up its elitist and academic reputation, refusing to accept fellow city university Duquesne's degrees as legitimate. Pitt sees itself as a cut above in a blue collar city. No wonder it has few real football fans. That is why West Virginians can love the Steelers and Penguins while hating Pitt. Even most Steeler fans hate Pitt. Not even a good blue collar guy like Dave Wannstedt can turn that image around, an image of a university that thinks it is above its raisin'.

Last night WVU fans were treated to an absolute humbling of their proud rival. The players, coaches, and crowd of West Virginia got into Pitt's heads from minute one and did not let up. Throwing objects onto the floor was absolutely childish and only motivated the other side. That was one or two bad apples at the most. Chanting "NIT" at them was much better. It reminded them of their frustration and only demoralized them more. Doesn't matter that we won the NIT a few short years ago and were proud of that feat. We're on top today and that is what matters.

No comments:

Post a Comment