Dunlap: What A Show Of Generosity by Pitt Leaders

Pitt Panthers mascot "Roc"
Photo credit Justin Berl/Getty Images
By 93.7 The Fan

Man, I hope they hang a banner at the Pete. 

I hope it gets to that someday. And someday soon.

They’ll have a big ceremony, invite a bunch of dignitaries. You know what it will look like; everyone will be all dressed up, standing along midcourt or maybe the end line and glaring high into the rafters. Music will play --- probably from the Pitt band --- and the bigwigs will have those shiny ‘Pitt’ script lapel pins poked into their clothing. They’ll have a damn good reason to be proud. 

They will glance up as far as the eyes can see, with one bright, beaming spotlight enveloping that covered banner. 

Then it will be unsheathed. 

It will hang there from that moment on, for the world --- not just Pitt --- to see.   

I have a few ideas, maybe it can read:

Pitt 21, COVID 19 

or

2020 DEFEATED CORONAVIRUS 

Something along those lines will work. That will do it for me; that will certainly suffice. 

But, man, I hope it happens. 

On Wednesday, the University of Pittsburgh parlayed an announcement made in February (when its Center for Vaccine Research said it would start to try to tackle coronavirus) by pushing forward a monumental donation to the cause. Between men’s basketball coach Jeff Capel, football coach Pat Narduzzi, women’s basketball coach Lance White and director of athletics Heather Lyke, Pitt put together a $500,000 donation to the cause with the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers each kicking in $100,000. 

That’s $800,000 --- $800,000 to try to get us all to return to normal, try to whack this thing out for good, try to minimize the impact that’s already ravaged and devastated our country and world. 

Yeah, that’s $800,000 from Pitt --- and Pittsburgh --- people given directly to try to eradicate something that, dare I say, has impacted every single one of us. 

“Nothing great in life is ever achieved alone,” Lyke said in a statement. “Pitt Athletics is honored to join forces with the Penguins, Pirates and Steelers in support of the Center for Vaccine Research and its extraordinary researchers. April marked the 65th anniversary of Dr. Jonas Salk's victory over polio and it is apparent that funding for vaccine research remains as crucial as ever.”

It does. 

As does getting rid of this nuisance that has claimed too many already. Often us Pittsburghers gloat with pride --- and maybe a little too much. We celebrate all things, even the tiniest thing Pittsburgh. We try to find any Pittsburgh tie we can and make any subject, cause, event or person Pittsburgh-centric or force a connection to our wonderful city. 

But this time it is real. It is really real. 

The front lines against all of this? They are right here in Oakland.

The people fighting the hardest in the world against coronavirus? They are, quite literally, our neighbors. They worship with us, their kids go to school with ours, they eat (take out for now) at the same restaurants and they cheer for the same teams. 

They are us --- we are them. 

They just happen to be prodigiously smart, wear white coats to work and know their way around science labs. 

Other than that? They are us --- we are them. 

What the athletic leaders at Pitt (along with the professional teams) did for them on Wednesday will never be underappreciated. Such a gift cannot be taken lightly and needs to be celebrated. 

Let’s hope one day it leads to that celebration I described above. 

You know the one: The one where they raise a banner at The Pete after they beat this thing once and for all.

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