The Steelers' Terrible Towels
Team symbol helps fans and autistic kids
Frigid winds and swirling snowflakes might scare away some other city from a 5-hour outdoor celebration. But with the Pittsburgh Steelers on their way to Super Bowl, nothing could keep its diehard fans from the party!
Steeler Nation braved the weather to attend a pep rally in Pittsburgh last Friday. Fans watched a replay of the AFC Championship Game on the stadium Jumbotron, listened to local bands, and greeted their six-time Super Bowl-winning team.
The crowd of about 18,000 went crazy waving their Terrible Towels as the players came onto the field. They formed a sea of black and gold gear awash in fluttering Terrible Towels. Some even left their coats behind. They wanted their jerseys on the outside with their team hats and scarves.
What's a Terrible Towel, you ask? Most Steelers fans answer with the simple statement: "A Myron Cope tradition."
The late Myron Cope, who spent 35 years as a Steelers radio announcer, was asked in 1975 to come up with a "gimmick" to be the rally symbol for Steeler Nation.
How about a towel? Everyone has one, right? If you're watching the game at home, you lay it on your TV. If you're at the game, you wave it around. It took a while for the players to catch on, but eventually it became one of the biggest symbols of a professional sports team anywhere.
"Most sporting events have their own version, but there is only one original," says David Booth about those who try to copy the Terrible Towel tradition for their own teams. (Baseball fans call them rally rags.)
But in Pittsburgh, this symbol stands for more than a team victory. All the money earned from selling Myron Cope's Official Terrible Towels is donated to the Allegheny Valley Schools. That organization provides housing and care to hundreds of mentally disabled children and adults, including Cope's own autistic son. Sales have meant millions of dollars to the non-profit group over the years.
The bright yellow Terrible Towels will go up against the Green Bay Packers' yellow Cheeseheads in Super Bowl XLV on Sunday. Yellow will certainly dominate the traditionally blue Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
May the best fan gear, uhm, team, win!
On the Scholastic Kids Press Corps Blog, Kid Reporter Kelcey Flowers writes about her day on the field with the Pittsburgh Steelers during a pep rally last Friday. And be sure to check out Kid Reporter Kenny Figueroa's video report from Super Bowl Media Day in Arlington, Texas!
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