Most of the fathers I’ve encountered on this trip get teary-eyed when they talk about that first game in which their sons were introduced as starters for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Salu Polamalu is more proud of something else. His son was first his nephew, Troy Aumua, of Santa Ana, California. Troy visited his Uncle Salu and Aunt Shelly in Tenmile, Oregon, when he was seven years old. He begged them not to let him go back and they didn’t. Later, Troy asked Salu if he could go by Polamalu at school. Those are the reasons Troy has made his father most proud. And after spending the day with the Polamalu family and friends, I understand why Troy didn’t want to leave.
Birth did not deliver me into the hands of Pittsburgh and the Steelers. I chose the city and its football team as the sources of my heritage. Many people tell me that they don't understand why an Erie native living in Colorado would expend so much energy blogging about Pittsburgh and its expatriates. Mr. Wexell's story about Troy's childhood might provide you with some insight into my motivation to adopt Pittsburgh as my hometown.