When I married my wonderful husband on March 18, 2000, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I also married the Columbus Crew, Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates and Penguins, the US National soccer team, and the game of soccer itself. Of course I knew he loved these things, but I didn’t understand the immensity of his passion. Once we started dating and I was just learning of his loves, I recalled a class we had together and the times he skipped said class to drive to Columbus for a Crew game. I joined him on a couple trips to Columbus for the games when we officially started dating. I can also remember visiting him at his apartment and finding him motionless, eyes glued to the TV. I joined him and watched game after game of something called the “World Cup”. All I knew was that it was a bunch of soccer games being played in France. But man, Nate was really into it. I mean not much conversation going on at all. In fact, that seemed to be the case at the Crew games and especially the ride home if the Crew found themselves in the unforgivable position of being the losing team. I suppose these should have been warning signs to me, but I was falling in love. It didn’t matter that I chose to cheer for the Browns and Bengals (mainly because I didn’t want to choose between my dad and brother), and they were unfortunately in the same conference as the Pittsburgh Steelers. Of course my devotion to the Steelers was sealed when at my wedding reception Jerome Bettis gave me a huge hug and agreed to take pictures with our wedding party. It also didn’t matter that I knew NOTHING about soccer. I fell in love, got married and 9 years later, well let’s just say I’ve been brainwashed.
We’ve been season ticket holders with the Crew for 10 years. I have been to almost every home game and have actually traveled to Washington D.C and Chicago just for a game. Not only that, but when the Crew finally made it to the MLS Cup Championship game, I willingly and excitedly I might add, agreed to cash in our credit card points for 2 plane tickets to LA for the game which was occurring the following week. I’ve attended World Cup viewing parties in the middle of the night at Crew stadium. My basement is painted Black & Gold which is the perfect choice to celebrate both the Crew and the Steelers. On our 10 day trip to England I agreed to attend 3 “football” matches. On my birthday, I sat through the cold and snow at my husband’s first Steeler home game! And now my husband coaches high school soccer, so I sit in the stands supporting “coach” while watching 14-18 year olds playing the “beautiful game.”
Hey, it could have been worse. I could have married the Michigan Wolverines.
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