Friday, October 19, 2007

Steelers Road Nation: Days That Used to Be

Still in Broncos Country, Jim Wexell continues his quest to unearth how current and past Steelers greats are celebrated in their hometown or on their former college campuses:

"Why are you asking me? I'd only been here a month."

That was Heather, the young Sports Information Director at the University of Northern Colorado upon being confronted on the matter of Aaron Smith's exclusion from the school's athletic Hall of Fame. Heather explained that some old men had to be inducted last year because of failing health. At the time, she'd only been the gatekeeper for a month. But faced with the pressure of a working camera in her face, Heather said that Aaron is already on next year's ballot and that his chances are "extremely strong" since "guys he played with are now taking a more active role here."

I spoke with Mr. Wexell on Wednesday night and I gather that his book is beginning to take shape. Listening to him talk about his experience on the road, I think he'll be able to describe how the Pittsburgh Steelers impact the lives and places well beyond the Pale of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Wexell asked me how I would write a book about Steelers Nation and we agreed that my approach would be quite different from his own. In fact, if I have one book in me, I'd write about Pittsburgh Diaspora and why I think it is unique. I'm also interested in exploring if and how Steelers Nation is different from any other fan base. Perhaps Mr. Wexell will touch on such distinctions, but you can be sure that his version of events will include one great tale after another. After all, Mr. Wexell is a fine journalist and a storyteller.


Frank said...

They better put him in! Look what happened when he got injured last night!

Unknown said...

I have been on the Hall of Fame Selection Committee since it's inception. Aaron has been looked at since he has been eligible. The reason he hasn't been selected is the fact that he'll be in season and won't be able to attend and be honored. We had the same situation with Frank Wainright who played many, many years with the Dolphins. The same year Frank wasn't playing any longer he was immediately inducted. We have let Aaron know this is the case as well. Aaron's '97 National Championship team is being inducted this year on Nov. 9th. With Aaron's injury, I'm wondering if he might attend along with his teammates.