Greetings from Los Angeles. I have been a POV reader since you launched and an occasional commenter under PittPride26. Reading the blog post today by Pittman4ever really flooded back memories of how I ended up at Pitt so I started to jot them down and it ended up being longer than I intended or imagined…
By Dan LoBue (Pittpride26)
I ended up at Pitt in a pretty round about way that I thought you guys may find entertaining. Growing up in northern New Jersey I latched on to the Steelers as my favorite NFL team. It was the late 70’s, the Giants and Jets were terrible so I bandwagoned. As 1990 rolled around it was time for me to figure out my college destination. I was in the top 1/3 of my high school class, had (slightly) above average SAT and played varsity football and baseball. My parents wanted me to stay in state but with those solid credentials Princeton was off the table so the logical destination for me was Rutgers.
At our high school college fair the University of Pittsburgh had a table so I wandered over and was talking Steelers with them. Boy I loved Rod Woodson back then, 26 was my football number and I still wear it to this day on softball jerseys! They also started telling me about the campus and the city feel. Living in the shadow of NYC I always dreamed of living in the city and being able to watch the Steelers every week sounded awesome. Watching any team you wanted was not an option back then. That said Rutgers was going to be my choice but might as well apply to Pitt anyway and did so.
To add another layer, my high school girlfriend was a year older than I was and
currently a freshmen at the University of Delaware. She really wanted me to go there. It is actually a pretty great campus but at 17 years old it seemed like picking a school based on my girlfriend was a bad idea. Did I tell her that?
Heck no! Instead I filled out the application. The last page said ESSAY (optional) so I opted NOT to write the essay figuring they would deem me lazy and reject me which would help me avoid an unpleasant conversation.
Winter 1991 arrived and my application letters came back. To my utter shock and dismay, I did not get into Rutgers. It surely worked out in the end but I have never really gotten over it as several of my lesser ranked classmates got in as did my youngest brother. I love my home state but I will always hate Rutgers for this rejection. I got into some smaller Jersey schools and Penn St accepted me with some you can go ton a branch campus for two years and then transfer to main campus that I never considered for a second.
Then Pitt’s letter arrived and I was accepted. It was at that point I started to get excited at the thought of attending Pitt so I scheduled a campus visit to actually see the place. The day we were leaving to visit Pitt a letter from Delaware arrived. Lo and behold despite my laziness it was an acceptance letter!!!!!
I went to see Pitt and fell in love with the campus, the city and the idea of being close to the Steelers. I even took a tour of Three Rivers Stadium that day. We just drove to the stadium in the winter, walked in the office and said we were Steeler fans from New Jersey and they took me out on the field and gave me some swag. It was amazing and my college choice was made.
I had one more piece of business to take care of, so I hopped in my 84 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and drove down to Delaware to tell my girlfriend I was going to Pitt. Did I tell her Friday night when I got there? No… coward that I was I waited until Sunday morning before I had to drive back. It did not go great but we actually stayed together until Christmas break of my freshman year.
So I stepped on campus Fall of 91, my orientation roommate was future Pitt QB John Ryan. I graduated in 1995. The truth is while I was there it was a pretty dark time for Pitt athletics. No bowl games, one NCAA appearance which was a first round blow out loss to Keith Van Horn and Utah. That said it had no real impact on my time at the school, I loved everything about it and molded me into the person I am today. Not sure people should apply/pick a college based on what professional football team they like but I have no regrets.
After graduation I returned a few times for big games in the 90’s, I was at the last Pitt stadium game vs Notre Dame and the 12-0 Three Rivers game against Penn St. Being in a big crowd and seeing two big wins cemented that I would follow my school and my team for as long as I walk this Earth of ours.
Coming from a dark timeline of Pitt sports as a student my expectations to this day remain tempered but it also has meant that I have truly enjoyed Howland-Dixon hoops and recent football wins over Clemson and Penn St because I have seen what rock bottom looks like.
I transferred employment to Los Angeles in 2003 and have not been back to Pittsburgh since 12-0. I play softball every week with a Pitt hat on and most weekends you will catch me in a Pitt t-shirt. Every few weeks the hat or shirts inspire someone to strike up a conversation about Pitt and I love it. I have two young boys and “maybe” sadly for them they watch Pitt football and hoops with me every week and they too have shirts they proudly wear. Oh, and they also like the Steelers…
I can’t wait to get a weekend picked out with both Pitt and the Steelers at home to take the trip back and show them around and watch my teams play live. In fact, it will 100% happen in 2019. (as I think Pitt football is going to have a good year then 😊)