But a new Pittsburgh may be dawning, and I am bound by duty to be its chronicle. This morning, I came across a bit of news that may be all-too-familiar to the core members of Steeler Nation. But I doubt it, and in any event it is news to me. Today, I am thinking about Pittsburgh in a new light. Here it is:
The Pittsburgh Steelers -- bone-crunching icon, emblem, and soul of our city-state (our wide receivers are tougher than their linebackers! our free safety flies through the air like a streaking missile to intercept un-interceptible balls!) -- have spa days. Or, more precisely, spa nights.
From the New York Times profile of acupunturist Lisa Ripi:
She spends roughly 12 hours each Thursday treating at least 10 players at Farrior’s house, where the Steelers hold their men’s “spa night” featuring acupuncture. Ripi cooks dinner for them, and they play cards while they wait turns. She starts with nose tackle Casey Hampton at 3:30 p.m. and finishes with Harrison roughly 12 hours later.In short, these are not your father's Steelers.
As long-time Pittsblog readers know, I am a native Californian. I cannot object to acupuncture. Nor can I object to white wine and brie in at the tailgate. Been there, done that, watched the 49ers win 5 Super Bowls. Whatever works.
But Pittsburgh has built its modern reputation as a city on the idea that it has nearly succeeded at an all-but-impossible task: remaking its economy as a 21st century knowledge center while preserving its 20th century mill hunk culture. Modern Pittsburgh is smart but tough.
If, however, acupuncture is a key to Pittsburgh's success, then we're going to have to re-think that narrative. Out with kidding/not kidding references to Steely McBeam; never again a smirking comment about Border Guard Bob. Retro is out.
Watch out world: The Burgh is going cosmopolitan.