First off I am thankful that we have a following on here who are well-versed in all the aspects of college football and in Pitt football particularly. Add to that the fact that we love to dissect and discuss that subject, with all its many pros and cons, in a civil and respectful manner and it is the best of the best.
I thank each and every one of you all for that.
We have a university that we are proud of in all ways, not just by the wins and losses we garner out on the field of play. Our university is so much more than just that. Pitt does things the right way, even if it means starting over again with new head coaches or disciplining our players in ways that better both themselves and the team. Making the correct decisions isn’t easy sometimes but Pitt gets it right way more often than not.
I thank the Pitt administration for that and Pat Narduzzi specifically. Regardless of how I choose to weigh the good, bad and indifferent about his football coaching duties to me his real mission at Pitt is to be the leader of 100+ young kids and young men and to set examples they can emulate both when they are at Pitt and into their future lives.
Pat Narduzzi has done that as well as possible and I thank him for that. Many fans overlook his off-the-field duties and actions. I feel they are as, if not more, important than the final scores of games.
Here’s to you Coach Narduzzi for seeing the big picture and working to better it.
I thank James Conner for being just about the best role model and football player one can find. He exemplifies all that is good in sports and in life. He may have faltered and wondered “Why me?” in private but in public and in his dealings with other seriously ill people he was as upbeat and confident as one can be.
His wonderful talent and execution aside he is a plain joy to watch and the times I have had in conversation with him I have walked away thinking … “Man, what a great Coast Guard Officer he’d make!” which from me is about the highest praise I can give a young man or woman.
So thanks James – have one on me after the season is over (and I’m serious as hell about your capacity as a future military officer, get in touch with me via E.J. if you are at all interested).
Thank you to the players, coaches and administrators who have come and gone through the football program. It hasn’t been all positive and certainly hasn’t been angst-free. But it has always been entertaining and a source of great amusement at times. The Pitt fans I know may say they live and die with Pitt football but I highly doubt that. But they are crazy fun to listen to and engage with.
So I also give thanks for the friends I have made through Pitt football since I was stationed back on the East Coast. I renewed my detailed interest in the program right after Dave Wannstedt was hired and I started going on the Pitt football message boards and reading The Pitt Blather. It became almost more than a hobby for me and I thank Chas Rich for allowing me to write with him on his blog.
I also thank E. J. Borghetti and his Media Dept staff at Pitt. It was a leap of faith six years ago for him to call me up at home and offer media credentials to a writer who was as critical of the football program as he was positive regarding it. I accepted on one condition – that I never be pressured to lean one way or another or to change anything I had written and that has been the case 100% with one minor exception for a person’s privacy.
I think I speak for a majority of fans who I know when I say that Pitt football is a refuge from problems and stress we may have in other parts of our lives. Since I started this blog in late June it has been a ‘no-politics’ zone and a place where we can all take a break from the madness and strife and let that outside stuff stay outside.
You all have respected that and for that I thank you again.
Finally, I thank the University and the city of Pittsburgh itself for giving me a great starting point in my journey from a young man to a real adult… and for showing me that life is way bigger any geographical or intellectual boundaries.
I have said before on here that my family has been intertwined with the University for many generations now. That influence on me has made a huge difference in my life to date… and will, I’m sure, keep on until my end of days. It has made me a better man but as important it has taught me that it is our duty as thinking, caring adults to reach out to others to help them better their lives.
And boy, I am so very thankful for that.
Hail to Pitt and a sincere tip of the hat to every reader on here. You all are truly the finest kind and have made this blog a joyful thing to do.