It’s the return of the running log! The only problem is that “running log” is awkward to use in conversation and sounds like an event in the Great Outdoor Games where giant bearded men dressed in flannel run across a river. Therefore, I’ve decided to rename these types of articles, “Reality Writing.” That’s right, I’m attempting to start the next fad in writing. Who knows, it may even become more popular than blogs (Can you name a more annoying fad during the last 5 years? Everyone and their five-year-old sister has a blog now. It has become imperative that you inform everyone of exactly what you did every day. Granted, blogs can start some very interesting and worthwhile discussions, but NO ONE CARES that you managed to stuff eighteen marshmallow peeps in your mouth last night. Right here and now I’m predicting that blogs will be the death of the internet. You’ve all been warned).
Why the return of “Reality Writing” ? For several reasons: the enormous popularity of the first one (I needed to use my fingers and toes to count how many people read it), I’m currently procrastinating homework, this column is due tomorrow, I NEVER miss a Steelers football game, and a coherent column actually requires effort. So without further ado I present to you: “Reality Writing: The Pittsburgh Steelers Host the Cleveland Browns.”
5:30pm: My favorite excerpt from the rap song introduction by ESPN, “We don’t bark we bite, watch how my dogs beat you up on Sunday night- OooooooOoooo” (that would be the sound of an opera singer accompanying a random C-List rapper dubbing over the beat to “Lean Back” by Fat Joe). Sometimes silence speaks louder than words. This is one of those times.
5:32pm: Why are the announcers wearing jackets? They are in a press box! You’re telling me they don’t have a space heater in there? Why even wear the suit if you are just going to cover it up? Why wear pants? I shouldn’t just pick on the ESPN crew; this goes on all the time. Announcers will wear beanies with leather jackets and complain about the cold when it is snowing during games. This is the equivalent of a weatherman toting an umbrella and wearing a rain poncho inside the studio while he tells us it’s going to rain. Wait-they do that? Moving on-
5:44: Only five minutes in and Cleveland strikes first: touchdown Browns. Fantastic tackling by the Steelers. It really looked like those hits hurt-too bad they didn’t actually bring the runner down.
5:52pm: First completion by Charlie Batch to Antwaan Randle El. Now would be a good time to mention that I’m absolutely petrified of him standing behind center for the Steelers. To be fair, seeing Tommy Maddox starting at quarterback gives me a mild stroke and causes my entire left side to go numb, but any game with Charlie Batch leading your team requires a bottle of Pepto-Bismo. I’m only hoping the Steelers can survive this game, so Big Ben Roethlisberger can come back next week and lead the Steelers all the way to the Super Bowl. (Don’t worry, my favoritism will be well concealed tonight, if you can’t already tell.)
5:54pm: Hines Ward makes a circus catch for the touchdown to tie John Stallworth for most receptions in Steelers franchise history. I couldn’t be happier about this. Not the fact that the touchdown just got called back after review of the replay. Or that the Steelers just got denied on both 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1. (Where did I put that Pepto-Bismo?) I’m talking about Ward soon to become the leading receiver in franchise history. There isn’t a receiver in the NFL who better represents the Steelers mentality of football. He’s a tough, hard-nosed, gives 110% on every play, and he loves his job. How do I know? Because it doesn’t matter whether he just scored a touchdown or got pummeled by the defense; he’s always got a smile on his face as he trash talks the other team, and he’s always looking to hit somebody. Congratulations to Hines Ward in advance (because you know-he’s going to read this).
6:15pm: Still no points on he board for the Steelers. The Browns are starting this drive from inside their own one. If they score here I will be forced to test the equation for projectile motion of an object – as my TV is hurled out the window.
6:17pm: That was a safety! A safety! Where is the challenge on that play! Is Bill Cowher paying attention? Where’s the shot of Cowher scowling at the referees as he attempts to intimidate them with his chin? Bill Cowher’s chin is to bad calls what Pinocchio’s nose is to lying. You have to respect a man with facial features like that.
6:25pm: Lots of barking and yelling going on down on the field. If you were on the Steelers, wouldn’t you simply ask the Browns how many wins they have (3 wins versus the Steelers 6) every time they started yapping?
6:31pm: Charlie Batch just under threw his receiver by about 15 yards, normally this would result in the inevitable interception, but somehow it was such a horrible throw that he fooled the defenders into thinking even he couldn’t throw it that bad. The net result: a 43-yard catch. I think one of my hairs just turned gray.
6:33pm: Jerome “The Bus” Bettis has just arrived at it’s destination. Tooooouchdown Steeeeeeelers! Please remember to remove all of your luggage from the overhead compartments and exit the vehicle in an orderly fashion.
6:46pm: It’s official. Hines Ward is the man after his 538th catch. Is it too late to rename Heinz Field to Heinz “Ward” Field? What diehard Steelers fan would be against this? Plus, the Steelers would still get the endorsement money from the Heinz Corporation. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.
6:50pm: Field goal try for Pittsburgh is-Good. Now that they have the lead at 10-7, you’ll notice I’m much calmer now (much to the chagrin of my roommates, who delight in my constant negotiations and pleas with the box in our living room).
6:58pm: Quote from Joe Theisman, “This is where you will really see how good Trent Dilfer is, the way he manages the game, the way he manages the clock.” One play later, Dilfer gets intercepted after doing his best “three flies up” imitation with the football. And people wonder why I believe in jinxes by announcers.
7:09pm: We go to halftime right after the Steelers add another touchdown. I’m not quite sure what surprised me more, the fact that Hines Ward has been robbed of two touchdowns already this game, or that Charlie Batch showed some leadership and ran in the last points of the half.
7:12pm: Chris Berman’s halftime report is on. This gives me an excuse to talk about the longest play in NFL history: Chicago’s Nathan Vasher’s 108 yard missed field goal return for a touchdown against the 49ers. WoW. That’s the kind of play that a team makes only when they believe in one another (or rather, the type of play a team allows only when they have given up on each other). I’ll let you decide which one.
7:24pm: Caution: blood pressure rising. Apparently Charlie Batch broke his hand on the last series of the first half. Tommy Maddox will now be Pittsburgh’s quarterback for the rest of the game. Warning: cardiac arrest imminent-
7:28pm: This is why I love Bill Cowher. What do you do when you are forced to play a quarterback who you wouldn’t trust with your high school varsity team? Simple: have someone else pass it. The Steelers just did a reverse to Antwaan Randle El, followed by him throwing a 51-yard bomb to Hines Ward for the touchdown. That’s 17 unanswered points for the Steelers if you’re scoring at home.
7:46pm: The sun rises in the morning, the stars come out at night, and Tommy Maddox throws an interception. That is just the way the world works. I could stress over the details (an awkward throw behind Ward) but I knew this was coming. I’m at peace with it now. Besides, it was called back by a facemask on the Browns.
7:54pm: Chris Hope just mopped the floor with Antonio Bryant of the Browns, forcing the fumble and getting the Steelers possession. It is at times like this that call for me to yell, “Here comes the pain train! Woooo! Woooo!” No, I’m not ashamed. Stop looking at me like that. I can feel you judging me with your eyes-
8:08pm: Duuuuuuuuuuuuuce. That’s the roar from the crowd every time Duce Staley of the Steelers touches the football. Not to be confused with the Bruuuuuuuuce chant that everyone in St. Louis screams when Isaac Bruce catches a pass. Why do fans only do this with names that sound like booing? Braaaaaaaaaaad. I could get used to that. It would be like a flock of sheep following me around.
8:15pm: That sound you hear isn’t me laughing at the Browns, who just went for it on 4th and 10 and failed to convert. It’s the sound of me laughing at Browns wide receiver Antonio Bryant and his full-blown temper tantrum. He kicked the ball in frustration and stormed off to the sidelines after dropping the pass. The best part is the total silence from the announcers afterwards. It is times like this I always picture them muting their mikes as they roll on the floor laughing and giggling with one another until they finally compose themselves and turn the mikes back on. If I ran ESPN I would leave the mikes on in situations like that. This is probably why I’m notrunning ESPN.
8:32pm: Jeff Reed’s field goal try for Pittsburgh is blocked and returned for a touchdown by Cleveland. A mute point, this game is wrapped up.
8:52pm: The Steelers take a knee and this one is “innnnnnn” the books. Final score: Pittsburgh 34, Cleveland 21.
8:53pm: As I sit here wrapped in my Steelers blanket, checking my Steelers calendar, and drinking from my Steelers mug, I realize there is only one way I can finish this column. Steelers win.
Bradford Applin is a sophomore majoring in aerospace engineering. If you see him on campus, be sure to shout, “Braaaaaaaaaad!” at him as he walks past. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments on this article or observations on sports in general.