Tuesday, December 08, 2009

On the Steelers

So I gather that the Steelers got beaten by the considerably more terrible Raiders this Sunday, or rather I gathered this at the end of the game when Jack texted me the final score like I asked him to. (Honestly, I believed the outcome would be bad once more than three hours had passed since kickoff and I hadn't heard a final score yet. Easy games don't seem to last long.)

Kyle and I had planned on going skiing at Mt. Hood Meadows yesterday but with all signs pointing to inclement weather -- words like "Blizzard Conditions" and "wind standby" on the resort's webpage; icons on the interactive Internet map of the highways leading there showing snowflakes, or exclamation points, or little Honda Civics plunging through iced-over guardrails while their drivers yell out "I just wanted to go up the Buttercup lift a few times until I remembered how to turn" -- we opted not to do so. Nonetheless I didn't push for using the freed-up morning to go watch Pittsburgh/Oakland in a bar; besides owing it to Kyle to let her pick the entertainment for a lazy, couch-sitting Sunday morning for once*, I find that when the Steelers are slumping and playing a bad team, there's no outcome that will actually make my brain happy rather than sad if I actually watch the game. (Mental process helpfully sketched out below.)

Useful brainal flowchart (click to enlarge).

In general, I decided a week ago after the Ravens game to try to take a short break from consuming any Steelers news other than final scores, until I'm back in the local media market for the holidays and, I expect, can easily watch the Steelers take on the Packers and the Ravens and, in all likelihood, mathematically play themselves out of postseason contention. (God forfend that I count them out of course; I'll watch them try.) That span includes two games that entirely fit with the flowchart, one of which they've of course now lost, and covers some time prior to the Christmas season when I have some stuff I should do with my head other than getting the hometown football team all up in it. Hopefully that doesn't make me a fair-weather fan -- maybe a poor obsessive. At any rate I look forward to diving back into the pool of web-based coverage in a couple of weeks.

I tend to exchange a pretty steady stream of commentary from Jack over email during the day, too, so it's not like I don't know Anthony Madison's back on the kick coverage team or anything.

Anyway, as the team's prospects are turning more black and less gold as the season winds down, and the question of the day seems to be whether this season turns into a rerun of 2007 or of 2006, I think my takeaway from following this season (even if they were to get it all the way together and steal another Super Bowl victory out of the jaws of "What the crap, guys, that was the Chiefs, come on") is just how much fun the 2008 season was to pay attention to, in pure entertainment terms. All the hair's-breadth, final drive victories (including of course the championship) were nerve-wracking at the time, but it all sweetened quickly in retrospect -- due in no small part, of course, to the fact that the Steelers won it all the end -- and it's striking how exciting, competitive, and generally worth-watching their average game was last year. (They only really got rolled by the Titans, and of the teams they beat I think they only really ran over the Texans and the Browns twice.) That's probably a once-in-a-few-decades thing. After the loss to Baltimore a couple weeks ago, Behind the Steel Curtain ran a decently eloquent piece touching on the joy in watching a good game, win or lose; 2008 was like a whole year of that, with the added bonus of the good guys actually winning.

That would be my Steelers-related thought for the first half of December, I guess. At the moment I'm most of the way through the second edition of Elizabeth Wilson's excellent biography / oral history of Dmitri Shostakovich, so there's a kind of replacement value in focusing on rooting for my favorite Soviet composer to maintain some respect in the eyes of a younger generation of intellectuals following the Thaw of the 1950s. Or alternatively in rooting for myself to actually do my Christmas shopping at some point.

* That entertainment would be the last several episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender (soon to be a probably much less charming M. Night Shyamalan movie) and playing several bouts of Tetris on my recently rediscovered Game Boy Advance. That would be the same Tetris cartridge from the first-generation Game Boy we bought back around 1990, for any members of my immediate family keeping track, so know that that investment is still paying off a little.


Blogger Jack said...

Ah, Tetris! How it speaks to soul of mother land!

12/08/2009 8:26 AM  
Blogger nate said...

Rough translation of lyric

Oh, Tetris, my love
Your name, like an old song of home
Blowing across the steppes,
How it freezes the heart!

For you I will brew coffee
And fry [regional style of potato dumpling]s
If you come to me
And bring me a long skinny piece

Oh, Tetris, etc.

For you I will sing sweetly
No, I don't need another L-shaped piece
I still need that long skinny piece
Still another L-shaped piece!
I could actually use an L-shape
But one that goes to the right
These all go to the left
Dammit, I had such a good build-up

Oh, Tetris, etc.

For you I will dance strengthly
Oh, oh now I get a long skinny one
I get three long skinny ones right in a row
Why couldn't I have gotten these like five pieces ago
I would have had two Tetrisses right there
There's no way this is random
I hate this game
Do you guys want to play Dr. Mario instead?

Oh, Tetris, etc.

12/08/2009 10:41 AM  

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