Pitt-Penn State — A Rivalry Renewed
My kids will grow up and remember me yelling at the TV during the Army-Navy game. Lately, of course, none of that yelling has helped Army in the least, but at least I came by that type of conduct honestly. When I was a kid, I remember my dad yelling at the TV, too. He’d only do it once a year and the target of his frustration, excitement, anger and joy was always the same: The Pitt-Penn State game. As a kid who grew up in Irwin, PA and went on to attend Pitt, my dad was a diehard Pitt football fan. Today, we are spoiled. No matter where we live, virtually every game played by every team is available on one of the 500 TV channels or, at the very least, available to watch over the Internet. Not back then.
For work, my dad and mom eventually moved to Burlington, Vermont where I grew up. There were not a lot of Pitt games on TV up there in the fall. Undeterred, I remember my dad driving us 3 hours to Albany, New York because some Pitt game (Syracuse, I think) was on down there, but not at our house. So we found a mall and sat in Sears for 4 hours watching the game. My grandparents still lived in Irwin, and I remember my dad sitting on the couch with the phone to his ear. At the other end of the phone, my Grandpa Brown held the phone up to the radio so my dad could listen to the end of the games. Of course, for the Pitt-Penn State game, my dad didn’t have to go through all of that. Pitt-Penn State was always on TV, even all the way up there in Vermont. It’s one of the tragedies of conference realignment that we lose so many of these annual rivalries. Nonetheless, Pitt fans like my dad can put those frustrations away for this weekend. Pitt-Penn State is back on. The game is at noon at Heinz Field. Although my dad can’t make it, I’m sure he’ll be home yelling at the TV. Some things never change because some things shouldn’t change.