By Cole Hetzler and John Conley
Pittsburgh culture has been shaped from many things. But Pittsburghers love nothing more than a hometown sporting event.
“Sports have an emotional effect on Pittsburgh and they definitely helped shape the city.” said Heinz History Center intern Reed Mclaughlin.
The culture was shaped by sports, and there’s nothing more dominant in Pittsburgh sports than the city’s football team. The Steelers have the most championships out of the city’s professional teams, which has helped create a massive fan base. And with every fan base, comes a tradition.
“The thing thats sticks out the most to me about Steelers football would be ethnic things, such as Franco’s Italian Army.” Mclaughlin said.
Franco’s Italian Army was a group of Italian natives who traveled to games and cheered on Steelers running back Franco Harris from day one. They called themselves an army and the leaders considered themselves to be generals.
“My favorite Pittsburgh sports memory was the Penguins game where Sidney Crosby came back from a long-term injury and scored twice, that was my sons first game and it was really special.” said Bitner.
Bitner, of Harrisburg, says that some sports are more popular because of their long history.
“Soccer didn’t reach the U.S until somewhere around the eighties” Bitner says. “Sports like hockey have been around here forever.”