When Two Sports Collide In Pittsburgh

I love the Pittsburgh Steelers. Problem right now is: I love the Penguins too and with equal fervor. Now normally this would not be an issue. The seasons overlap, but the games rarely conflict. Even when they are on the same day, such as Super Bowl Sunday in 2011 (a dark, dark day in the ‘Burgh since both teams lost), they are at different times. The best thing about being a hockey fan is, even if there is some sort of regular season conflict, it’s a long season. So you miss a game early in the regular season, it is not a catastrophe. By the time every game becomes critical, the football season is long over. Yessirree, life is good in the City of Champions.

But next weekend, I’ve got a real problem. The NHL Draft is being held in Pittsburgh this year. This is a big showcase for the city and the team, most notably the owners of the team. I, like most Pens fans, adore Mario Lemieux and so if he tells me as one of the collective fan base, to do something, I really want to do it. It’s the least I can do for everything he’s brought to this city. Therefore, when, as someone on the season ticket waiting list, I got my free tickets to rounds 2-7 of the draft and the team’s front office encouraged us to be sure to use them and show lots of local support in the crowd, I was looking forward to doing it. I’ve never been to an actual draft of anything before and there will be other activities there that will be entertaining, including getting a chance to get my picture taken with the Stanley Cup. Who doesn’t want that as a hockey fan?! I mean, c’mon, it’s the Stanley Cup. There is only one of them. I have my picture with the Six Lombardis that belong to the Steelers. As a matter of fact, I have a few. But I’ve never even seen the Stanley Cup except on television. That was enough to get my motor revving to be there Saturday morning at 10 AM.

Then I got the announcement that single game tickets for the Steelers go on sale Saturday morning, 10 AM. You’re kidding me, right? Seriously, of all the days of the year, it has to be this coming Saturday morning! This is a HUGE day as a Steeler fan. Most of us will never see the opportunity to be a season ticket holder for the Steelers, whereas in about eight more years, I actually have a good shot at it for the Pens. My cousin has been on the Steeler season ticket waiting list since she got married. She and her husband told me when I saw them over the holidays that they were told they have another year or two to wait. They’ve been married two decades. I don’t have that kind of time left to wait, so this is the day I get a shot to at least get in to some of the home games at face value prices. But I’m competing with Steeler fans from all over the world. You better be at your computer ready to go at 10 AM. You can’t do it later I the day. They’ll be gone. All of them, not just the marquis match-ups.

Now I’m torn between my two loyalties. I am not sure what to do. You might think it’s a no-brainer, you buy the tickets and then jet down to Consol Energy Center for the rest of the draft. And maybe that’s the answer, but disappointing Mario Lemieux? Man, that’s a tough decision to make.

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