It was a lazy summer day circa 1982 at our beloved Ellport playground.
My brother, Mike, best pal, Billy, and I lay on our backs, spinning on a merry-go-round and gazing at the overcast sky. We spent many hours at our hometown playground, conveniently located next to Billy’s backyard.
It was on that merry-go-round where the three of us made a pledge: to be there, in the stands, when our beloved Steelers claimed a fifth world championship. Although our means of income as teenagers consisted of umpiring Little League games and picking strawberries, we were committed to our pact.
That pact took us in 1996 to Tempe, Ariz., a trip funded not by umpiring or picking strawberries but by my hawking O.J. Simpson and Walter Payton rookie cards and by my brother trying to secure the purse of a tough-man competition. Unfortunately, my brother drew a Mike Tyson-lookalike in his opening match, and worse yet, in Super Bowl XXX that Sunday, the Steelers suffered a knockout punch, losing to the dreaded Cowboys.
That pact next took us in 2006 to Detroit for Super Bowl XL. Mike, Billy and I were there, in the stands, when our beloved Steelers claimed that fifth world championship and ring, the “one for the thumb” we all coveted.
The wait was over, our childhood pledge to one another fulfilled.
I know I use football clichés and comparisons. But that’s what growing up in western Pennsylvania does to a person, especially one shaped by the rise and fall of the steel industry and the thrill of cheering for an NFL dynasty.
Butler County Community College claimed our own “one for the thumb” for 2020. BC3’s ranking as the No. 1 community college in Pennsylvania by BestColleges.com added to four previous No. 1 rankings by either BestColleges.com or Schools.com since 2015.
Now I have learned of yet another No. 1 ranking for BC3. This one from Niche.com. That’s six for our college and matches the current six world championships won by the Steelers.
Being No. 1 six times in six years – it can leave one’s mind spinning, much like being on a merry-go-round.
Like those Super Steelers of the 1970s and 2000s, our college is filled with All-Pros and Hall of Famers.
We have an exceptional faculty that delivers quality instruction much like Terry Bradshaw delivered long passes to John Stallworth and to Lynn Swann. We have a dedicated and talented staff that paves the way for our students much like Dermontti Dawson paved the way for Jerome Bettis. And we have an amazing Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of Directors that provide integrity, wisdom and values much like that of the Steelers’ Rooney family.
Here’s to another great Steelers season and to an even better academic year at BC3 … and a Stairway to Seven for both organizations in 2022.
I’ll be watching this one from the President’s Office.