Friday, February 4, 2011

To Pull for the Pittsburgh Steelers (There's Even a Catholic Reason, or Two)

My buddy Blaise Pascal has this to say about sports,

Men spend their time in following a ball or a hare; it is the pleasure even of kings.

I'm a baseball fan, so I watch professional football once or twice a year, usually. However, my family and I always watch the Super Bowl. And this year, I'll be pulling for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

This is mainly for personal "childhood memory" reasons. Franco Harris, one of my favorite players, and the Immaculate Reception, for example.

Terry Bradshaw connecting with Lynn Swan for catches like this.

Vietnam veteran Rocky Bleier (#20) one of my favorites too, scrambling forward for yardage tenaciously, in this case for a touchdown.

And I can't forget John Stallworth.

Glory Days! It turns out that the Steelers have a pretty well know contingent of Catholics in the organization from down on the the playing field all the way up to the owner's suite. Strong safety Troy Polamalu, for example, is a strong witness for the Faith. According to an article from the Catholic News Service back in 2006, Troy,

is not an NFL superstar who happens to be a man of faith. Rather, in his heart, he is simply "a Christian with a passion for Jesus... Success in anything doesn't matter. As Mother Teresa said, God calls us not to be successful but to be faithful. My prayer is that I would glorify God no matter what, and not have success be the definition of it.

NFL players who quote Mother Teresa? Who knew! One of the authors of that article, Gina Mazza Hillier comments that, "the entire Steelers organization is a blessing. The owners (The Rooney Family) are devout Catholics and the players are humble."

Perhaps the same is true for the Green Bay Packers. I can't say, because I don't have the same affinity for the Packers as I do for the Steelers, so I won't be looking into the matter. I do know that a couple of bishops have a bet (all proceeds of which will benefit Catholic Charities) on the outcome of the game this year.

As Bishop David Zubik says,

Have fun with the game, enjoy our Steelers, but don’t let these things define us, don’t let them become such a passion that we lose perspective.

Amen to that. Go Steelers!

Update: Catholic Roots Run Deep for Both Teams.