Yesterday’s Ravens/Steelers game started out with a message of unity — it was, after all, the tenth anniversary of 9/11. We all stood for Taps, paid more than the usual amount of attention for the Star Spangled Banner, then oohed and aahed as fighter jets screamed by overhead.
And then the football started. According to an opinionated man in the nosebleed section with me, there were fewer scuffles between players “because of today.” It still looked pretty brutal out there, though. After one nefarious move by Pittsburgh, everyone in my section started shouting “Steelers SUCK, Steelers SUCK!” One sincere-looking guy tried to switch it to “USA! USA!” but that didn’t really work. Resentment trumps nationalism, at least when it comes to football.
But it was hard to stay cynical when the Ravens were rocking it so hard. And the upside of having a long and sometimes miserable rivalry is that other times, you get to triumph. All those silly outfits seem worth it.
And on the hot, crowded light rail home from the game, no one was grouchy; we were even nice to the Steelers fan who tried to shove his way on the overstuffed car. After all, we felt kind of sorry for him.