Many times, people have come up to me and said, "Maddy, why are you such a big Steelers fan? Why is football so important to you?"
Many people are under the impression that sports aren't important and just involve someone throwing or catching a ball. This is simply not true. Sports are just as much a part of our culture as language and television.
I'm a people person. I love talking. I'll talk to pretty much anyone. (That is what gets me in trouble.) I notice that some people don't like to talk as much as I do, which annoys me to no end. However, one of the first things I look for when bringing up a conversation, I look to see if they are wearing any football gear. If they are, I have an instant connection with them. Football (And sports in general) connect people.
For me, if someone brings up the Steelers, I can talk to them for hours. For that short period, we relate to each other. That's why I love Pittsburgh so much: I can go there and everyone is a Steelers fan and I connect with all of these people. I can even relate to people who aren't Steeler fans. As long as people can hold a standard football conversation, we are connected. A little competition never hurt anyone.
Religion, music, and politics divide people. A lot of times, people say that religion unites us, but it doesn't. Just look at the Middle East. Sports are different. I'm Catholic, a Republican, and I love my country music. But I could care less if the Steeler fan next to me is a democrat and an atheist who loves rap music. It doesn't matter. That's the beauty of sports.
The reason I got into football is because I wanted to be a part of something. My Dad lived in Pittsburgh, so he is a huge Steelers fan. I wanted a special bond with him, so I studied football. Now, my Dad and I are so close. When we fight — which is usually rare — we make up fast. One of us just says, "So, did you hear that Bryant McFadden is a Cardinals?" And then it's all better.
Can you imagine if politics was like sports? When I go to Steelers games, I end up hugging random strangers. Can you just imagine, being on Capitol Hill, the Republicans and Democrats are hugging? Economy, a crisis? No problem. The war on terror? Not even an issue. It's amazing the emotions sports bring out in people. I've never seen any other part of culture that unites people as much as sports. That's why sports are important.