Monday mornings are bad enough, but this one was especially tough. It was February 6, 2006 and a few hours earlier, the Steelers defeated the Seattle Seahawks for their fifth Super Bowl victory.
As a Raven fan, I knew my nose would be rubbed in it all day. Sure enough, as we opened for business, the Steelers fight song played on the intercom. Then the boss came on and congratulated the Steelers on yet another championship. Throughout the day, Steeler fans gave me the verbal jabs. “Did you see that game, Russ?” “How ‘bout those Steelers!” “We got on for the thumb, now.”
Our afternoon department meeting was no better. A Steeler screen saver danced on the computer. A vintage pennant celebrating the first four championships was hung on the wall right below a spanking new Super Bowl XL pennant. There were Steeler post-it notes, a Steeler desk blotter, a mini Steeler football and jersey, a Steeler patch, a Steeler framed picture, a Steeler….oh man, I don’t want to go on.
I enjoyed a respite last year. The black and gold fans were pretty well behaved. “What a difference a year makes” was the term I heard from the uncharacteristically meek Pittsburghers. The 58-7 two-game whipping the Ravens put on their heroes last year helped, I’m sure.
This is what my life is like working with so many Pittsburgh folks. When the Ravens are on top, the workplace is fine, but when Big Ben and his troops dominate, I want to complain to my shop-steward. I guess I could accept this if I were a Baltimore transplant working in Johnstown, Aliquippa or Monroeville, but I suffer the black and gold fans right here in Baltimore County.
That’s right, on Purple Friday, while thousands of Marylanders go to work in Ravens gear, I’ll be surrounded with a healthy dose of black and gold. One colleague already warned me to expect the Pittsburgh contingent to be especially colorful during Raven week. Wait a minute. This is Baltimore. Here, we’re supposed to call it Steeler week, not Raven week.
While some of our workers are true-purple Raven fans, the Steeler fans make noise beyond their numbers. I’ve worked in this building for nine years now, so I’m not sure if this is typical. I’m wondering if other Baltimoreans have the same Pittsburgh refugees working in their place of employment. I would appreciate your comments.