Have a seat in Bloomfield

October 24th, 2005

Have a seat in Bloomfield

The feeling of a roaring stadium produces its own kind of adrenaline, but sometimes a comfortable chair anchors the excitement of football at home. So instead of a road trip, like weeks past, I headed to Bloomfield – Pittsburgh’s Little Italy – to watch the game at my friend Scott’s house.

When I don’t tailgate, I get to enjoy Sunday at a leisurely pace. Instead of my usual 5:00 AM start, I get to enjoy a morning at home, eat a nice breakfast, and watch some of the NFL Today before game time. By kickoff, I had a comfortable seat at my friend’s house in Bloomfield. Much more comfortable than the mustard palace seats but only slightly more attractive.

As if the morning news told everyone to “Shhhhh,” silence filled the streets of Bloomfield before and during the game. Businesses were open, but unless you served beer or food, it was empty. Few people were on the streets. Those who were out were most likely rushing for last minute supplies at the grocery store, or en route to a television. But inside homes and bars there was plenty of life, all focused on the day’s game, a must win situation against the Cincinnati Bengals.

My host welcomed me in and offered me a seat. “Want a beer?” then with a grin he tapped the end-table next to him, and behold, a mini-fridge full of Iron City. As the group showed up and prepared for kickoff, I imagined my old bachelor apartment, and all the others I had been to. There must be countless couches with their edges worn from all the football games they’ve endured. Numerous stains from sloppy high-fives, and scattered cigarette holes from upturned ashtrays adding to their character. As much as the beer commercials over-stereotype this setting, it is a great environment to watch a game with the guys.

At half-time I bid farewell to the couch and headed out to see what the rest of the community was doing for the game. As if the city had been evacuated, it was still eerily quiet. Heading up Liberty Avenue I came across Del’s bar and restaurant. When I first noticed it, there were people outside, then everyone put a heel on their cigarette and filed back in; half-time was over. A seated patron named Freedman welcomed me to the horseshoe shaped bar, and we watched the rest of the third quarter with the packed bar. Over a $1.50 draught beer, he explained that he had season tickets, but didn’t like sitting on the bench seats in the upper end zone. While we talked, Big Ben threw his first interception, but the Steelers came back to put the game away.

By now I was a little hungry so I headed further up Liberty for a slice of pizza. The place was empty. The proprietor was almost surprised to see a customer, but gladly warmed a slice for me. Then returned to folding boxes as he watched the game in the back corner of the shop. By now the game was almost over and the Steelers were certain of the win.

My last stop was the bar Lot 17 where I met a few more friends. I really wanted to go to Cincinnati, but then I would have had to deal with all those Bungles. This time it was nice to stay home. To be in place where it was okay to unload a Steelers bag of good luck charms, and set up a shrine on your local bar.

Steelers defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-13

Have a seat in Bloomfield

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