Monday, November 24, 2008

Pittsburgh Homecoming

Pittsburgh-based Associated Press writer Ramit Plushnick-Masti chimes in with her take on the upcoming homecoming weekend:

And then there are the tens of thousands who make up the "Pittsburgh diaspora," created by the exodus that drained the city of its population when steel collapsed in the 1980s and jobs were scarce. Since 1990, the city's population has dropped from nearly 380,000 to just over 311,000 in 2007.

Many who have left are scattered nationwide, and even across the globe.

They long for their hometown, and remain fiercely loyal not only to the city, but to its sports teams. On game days, you can find these fans donning their black-and-gold jerseys at Steelers' bars in places as far-flung as Ireland and London.

For now, they impart their love of Pittsburgh to their children and their grandchildren, promising the city's three sports teams—the Steelers, the Pirates and the Penguins—a strong fan base for decades.

"There's an almost biblical story here of people who were thrown out of their homeland, which they had a great attachment to," said Carl Kurlander, who grew up in Pittsburgh, went to Los Angeles to write movies like "St. Elmo's Fire," but came home in 2001 with his wife and young daughter.

There is even a blog dedicated to this Diaspora phenomenon. No, I'm not referencing my own blog. I'm celebrating a newcomer to the scene, Burgh Sightings and Odd Bits:

New and Improved!!! Still featuring documentation of the Pittsburgh Diaspora. It now includes, Odd Bits. Simply put, anything I find wierd or interesting enough to write about will end up here. Enjoy!

Perhaps he didn't unearth enough "Burgh Sightings" and tossed in some "Odd Bits" to keep his post count up. Most of the photos document a passion for Pittsburgh's professional sports teams, which you can see just about anywhere in the United States. However, many fans who follow the Steelers never have been to Pittsburgh, but curiously maintain a love for the city. As to why that is, watch this video (a little under 23 minutes in length and who knows how long it will remain at the designated url).

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