It doesn’t seem like we could find one more year-in-review story for this issue, but I do have another. For a long time, I believed that in a sports city like Pittsburgh, its alt-weekly should have a sports section. This year that finally became a reality.
While we knew we’d do some coverage of major sports, the goal was to show you a side of Pittsburgh sports and recreation you might not know about. Here are some of my favorites from this year. Please note that while I loved last week’s duckpin-bowling story, it’s not included because, well, it was last week.
How to catch a fly ball. This was our very first sports-page story and to be honest, we decided to do it because we already had a great picture. But after a Pirates fan was seen on national television drenched in his own nachos after going after a ball, we thought some tips were in order. “I would never sacrifice a beer for a ball,” one fan said. “But maybe nachos."
Playing Through the Whistle. In October, CP interviewed author and Sports Illustrated writer, S.L. Price, about the book he wrote after spending five years getting an in-depth look at the Aliquippa football team and the community around it. In it, Price tells the stories of guys who made it big, the scores of others who are barely making it today, and the dozens that never got out alive. But as Price said, “I don’t think anyone gets out of Aliquippa wholly clean.”
Carlos Jaromir Blanco Jr. This young asylum-seeker came to Pittsburgh from Mexico City to escape the dangerous barrios that he and his family lived in. Now, Blanco is like a lot of young men from Western Pa., who feels the most at home on the football field. The best part of playing for North Allegheny High School as a starting defensive lineman, he says, is “making my family proud.”
The Command B.R.O.S. Earlier this month, we told you about Rahim Jones and Carl Harrington, two guys in their mid-40s who started playing scenario paintball to stay in shape. It grew into an obsession, and they’ve even developed a YouTube channel around it. Their personalities and love of the sport have turned them into ambassadors for the game. “Anybody can play this game. All races, ages, shapes and sizes,” Jones says.