Now artists are paying tribute to the local wildlife with Allegheny Animals with Attitude, or TripleAAAnimals, described on its website as a “fictional sports league that celebrates the animals in our neighborhood that have no time for human foolishness.”
So far, the project has released a few designs representing neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh, with more to follow. Right now, lovers of animals and fake sports teams can purchase t-shirts, stickers, prints, and more with the Mexican War Street Squirrels, as designed by line artist Jegan Mones, or the Sugar Top Grubby GroundHogs logo by Naomi Chambers, made in honor of the Hill District.
Organizing the project is local fashion designer and Pittsburgh City Paper columnist Tereneh Idia, in partnership with the gift shop love, Pittsburgh. Items are available at the love, Pittsburgh website, or at the TripleAAAnimals Society6 page.
Each team comes with a short description highlighting how the animal relates to its chosen neighborhood and various landmarks.
Idia says the idea was originally inspired by a Twitter thread from Pittsburgh musician, INEZ. Idia continued the conversation on Aug. 7 with a tweet about “The Allegheny Animals with Attitudes Softball/Dodgeball (?) League” that included a list of several fake teams. The tweet resulted in a number of replies suggesting more imaginary neighborhood teams.
“There was a flood of comments and it was so much fun,” says Idia, who is also listed as the "commissioner" of the league. “So I thought it would be cool to extend it and make these fake sports teams with the animals.”
She then contacted love, Pittsburgh, which carries handmade goods by her business, Idia’Dega. Idia also received a small grant from ORIGINS, a Bridgeway Capital program that supports Black makers, designers, artists, and craftspeople in Pittsburgh, to launch the project.
Kelly Sanders, co-owner of love, Pittsburgh, says she and her business partner, Monica Yope, even pitched in by suggesting the Mt. Washington Wild Turkeys for Idia’s “already incredible, Pittsburgh-crowd sourced league.” The idea came to life through a design by Anire Mosley depicting a stately, if somewhat mean-looking, turkey with a sharply peaked Mt. Washington logo.
“We love everything about what the [TripleAAAnimals] League is about: from playfully representing our city, especially when we can all use some added joy, to hiring local artists to bring the neighborhood teams to life,” says Sanders.
While she’s currently based Turkey (the country), Idia says she hopes to continue the project by engaging more local artists to create designs, for which they will also get a portion of the sales.
“The idea is to do drops throughout the year with different neighborhoods and themes,” says Idia, adding that she is currently seeking artists for an Earth Day series focused on Pittsburgh city parks, and for a series around Juneteenth focused on historically Black neighborhoods.
She adds that, overall, TripleAAAnimals will cover not only Pittsburgh but locations throughout Allegheny County.