Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The Tennessee Titans beat the listless Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday afternoon. You might be surprised to learn that most of the fans in attendance went home disappointed because the game was played in Nashville:

While watching the game at home, I stepped away at one point to do laundry. After hearing what I was sure was the fan response for a Titans score, I ran into the other room to find out that Pittsburgh had just scored. The Steelers fans were so loud it was hard to distinguish the home team by listening.

While I'm sure a good number of Pittsburgh expatriates live in Tennessee, I suspect a lot of Steelers fans drove to the game from cities such as Charlotte and Atlanta. Steelers Nation (a native Pittsburgher informs me that the proper term is "Steeler Nation") taking over an opposing stadium, something I've experienced firsthand, informed the Burgh Diaspora blog. Something special is going on, but I wasn't sure exactly what it was.

I'm now confident that there is no domestic urban diaspora as prolific and attached to the homeland as the Pittsburgh Diaspora. My new question: Does the uniqueness matter? Figuring out how to task the out-migrants with regional economic development is a tall order. Getting excited about a Steelers game is one thing, but doing something to help Pittsburgh may not be of interest. There is plenty of Pittsburgh pride to go around, but that doesn't mean the Diaspora is interested in returning or seeing their hometown thrive.

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