Saturday, September 8, 2007

Live the Questions Now

The title is drawn from a Rilke quote rotating along Elizabeth Perry's site , a Pittsburgh treasure for sure.

Tonight I watched Penn State beat Notre Dame with my neighbor Bob (he's the Class of '38 from Dear Old State, I'm '92).

Bob told me about being on the sidelines as a 12 yr. old in 1930 when Knute Rockne brought his team to town to face Jock Sutherland at Pitt. He was earning boy scout merit badges at the games by working as an usher, but for the Notre Dame game he got to be on the field. Bob helped set up the Notre Dame bench and then sat on it during the game, fetching things from the locker room as needed. He doesn't remember much from that day other than sitting there in awe of the Notre Dame players. I have this image of Bob going back into the locker room to get something just as Knute Rockne was firing up his guys with another win one for the Gipper speech

The Boy Scouts had a big effect on Bob. Joe
Katz was his scout leader (he was three or four years older than Bob). I actually think Joe Katz may have been Pittsburgh's first paid blogger:
His first big break came during the Pittsburgh Flood of 1936. Joe and his partner got an idea after seeing "all of Pittsburgh seemingly taking those unforgettable photos of desks, chairs and debris floating down the main thoroughfares in Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle." Joe decided to publish a souvenir booklet of the flood. He bought up anyone's undeveloped films, spent a whole night reproducing the photos, then took a train to Cleveland (where at least they had electricity) to have 100,000 copies printed overnight. "We sold them all in four days at 10 cents apiece,"Joe says. But he adds: "For years I could have kicked myself. For 50 cents they would have sold just as easily! Even so, that was the most money I had ever seen in my life."
By the way, the Lions didn't come alive until Bob joined the "White Out" and held up this Dear Old State shirt that I gave to him last weekend. Hmmm...

Truth be told, Bob rooted for the offense of both teams the whole game. He said he just wanted to see good football. What, good defensive football doesn't count?

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