Monday, January 23, 2006

Lock Up Your Back Door, Run For Your Life

So, how did the city of Pittsburgh manage after the Steelers' victory last night? Remember, the cops were expecting rioting in the streets of the South Side as part of a victory celebration.

Well, let's find out:

With the pent up frustration of failed AFC Championships of old, thousands of jubilant Pittsburgh Steeler fans swarmed out of the bars that dot Carson Street on the South Side with their thumbs jutting toward the sky cheering "one for the thumb" in celebration of the Steelers' 34-17 rout over the Denver Broncos last night.

Back in 1981, I had a "One For The Thumb In '81" t-shirt with a cartoon of Mean Joe Greene showing off his four Super Bowl rings with his bare thumb extended in anticipation of another. It didn't happen. Not for him, nor for any of his teammates. The four-ringed Super Bowl superstars of the 1970s are now doing other things, like running for Governor.

So who exactly is left from the 1970s? Obviously not any of the players. Dan Rooney, maybe? The Rooney family is the one constant throughout the history of the Steelers organization.

Somehow I doubt that a Dan Rooney t-shirt would be such a hot seller. But I digress.

Thousands of people swarming out of bars on Carson Street must be a site to behold, and one that the city was wise to prepare for. That big of a crowd can cause considerable damage. What sort of unruliness took place in the aftermath?

Surrounded by police and barricades that had been put up in anticipation of a raucous crowd, hundreds of black and gold jerseys converged in front of the Burger King -- pushing friends in supermarket trolley carts, running alongside Port Authority buses and waving Terrible Towels at passersby and oncoming cars -- to sing their way into Super Bowl XL in Detroit.
Stealing grocery carts from the Giant Eagle, playing in traffic, assaulting pedestrians and motorists with fine linens...this represents an almost total breakdown of the societal order and the worst violence to befall Pittsburgh in over seventy years.

But wait. Police barricades? Buses and cars? Just how much of the neighborhood did the cops block off, anyway? Perhaps it's worse than I thought. Did inebriated football fans hijack Pork Authority buses and crash the gate doin' ninety-eight, saying "Let them Steelers roll, 10-4"? Under the circumstances, I would even be afraid of eleven long haired friends of Jesus in a chartreuse microbus.

So how did the police respond?

In this netherworld of elation, Pittsburgh police officers gave and took high fives. A Bicycle officer rode his bicycle up and down the nearby sidewalks of Carson Street with one finger pointed toward the sky and with revelers in tow yelling.
"Gave and took high fives"? Sound more like they gave up altogether. Who is going to retrieve those stolen shopping carts and return them to Giant Eagle? My great-grandfather was a Pittsburgh policeman on the South Side a little over 100 years ago. He wouldn't have joined the revelers. He would have introduced them to the business end of his billy club, which is still in my family's possession, by the way, and is still harder than iron.

Responsible, professional people have gone feral:

...waitresses at Tom's Diner grabbed pots and wooden ladles as they began their slow jog to the center of the crowd on Carson Street while banging their pots with wide smiles on their faces.
My other great-grandfather was a saloonkeeper on the South Side. He would not have tolerated this sort of tomfoolery. Or, to be blunt, stealing kitchen supplies. Those waitresses would have been so fired.

With the city in total anarchy, no one is safe:

In Jack's Bar [a 26 year old woman] picked up a woman more than five decades her senior, and bounced her up and down in what could only be described as Steelers bliss.
Now they're assaulting the elderly! Someone needs to stop the insanity. Lord only knows what these people would have done if their beloved football team had actually lost.

My neighborhood, on the other hand, was nice and quiet. I had no idea who won the game until almost two hours after it was over. Too busy messing around with the stupid anti-virus program. More on that later.


Kilgore Trout said...

where is the problem with the police being as happy as anyone else? there not allowed to be fans? are you such a cold and bitter person that you cant understand unadulterated joy? I was on carson street sunday night and it was the single most amazing specticle ive ever seen. complete strangers hugging eachother everywhere. sure there were a few bad apples that stole a shopping cart but for the most part it was an non-destructive crowd. as far as the "assulting the Elderly," were you there? how do you know who initiated it? it was probably the happiest moment in that womans life for a some time. this was an event where all social barriers were brought down, race sex economic status didnt matter in that crowd they were simple happy. If you think that the police should begin attacking people for hugging then...
well I feel very sorry for you, you must be a very lonely soul.

Oh and one last note about the police, they did do there job when they decided that it needed to end they came out with the horses and dogs and a wall of police in full riot gear and cleared the streets, to be honest the only time I saw people getting angry was when the cops started forcing them to leave at which point they had to bring in a city buss to use as a patty wagon for all the fans they arrested, so maybe you should find out what happened instead of playing with your anit-virus program before you judge what the event was like.

Nicko McDave said...

It sounds like someone left his sense of humor back on the Vogon spaceship...