Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Steelers Road Nation: Walk On

Jim Wexell interviewed the brothers of Steelers DE Aaron Smith:

Steve Smith grew up in Colorado Springs and has been a Steelers fan all his life, and he said that had to do the great 70s defenses. You probably don't know this Steve Smith. He's one of Aaron Smith's three older brothers. He played free safety on the same Sierra HS team in which Alex Molden played cornerback.

Aaron is the youngest of the Smith brothers and the biggest. He, according to Steve and Dave, also had it the easiest from a demanding and physical father. Steve and Dave were both kicked out of the house at the age of 16, but Aaron's mom finally left dad when Aaron was 12. They moved nearby so Aaron and the other brother, Kevin, could continue attending school in the Sierra district. But it may have been too close for Aaron's comfort because he slept with a sword by his bed just in case his father came around. Steve also added that their father's demanding ways helped toughen them up as Steve tried to put a spin on a tough story. Still, it sounds like a difficult way to grow up. Details, of course, are forthcoming.

If you have read Mr. Wexell's books, you can appreciate his skillful digging into the past of a player and capturing what makes a person succeed at the level of professional football. What makes his story about Steelers Nation unique is the shift of the perspective to that of those living outside of Pittsburgh. Aaron Smith is a quintessential Steeler, but life on the Front Range of Colorado is quite different from that of industrial Pittsburgh.

If you look, you can find the essence of Pittsburgh all over the world. There is a thread connecting this community and I expect that Mr. Wexell's forthcoming book will allow us to better understand it.

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