Dunlap: Sports Matter – The Steelers Have Proved As Much


I don’t know who is lying, I don’t know who is telling the truth; I don’t know what to make of the impending election as everything in that realm seems so damn polarizing.

I do know sports matter.

I don’t know when this vaccine will finally be available, if it will be available, if it will work or if COVID is simply here to stay.

I do know sports matter.

I don’t know when I will turn on the news and not see violence, businesses forced to close because of the ripple and swell of the pandemic and unemployment rates at astonishing levels.

I do know sports matter.

I don’t know when I’ll get the OK to work in a studio again, what secret envelope people are supposed to put their mail-in ballot in or how the heck some knuckleheads haven’t figured out yet the mask needs to go over your nose, too.

I do know sports matter.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. They aren’t trivial, they aren’t inconsequential and, especially in these parts when the Pittsburgh Steelers run out on the plot of turf to measure their resolve and determination against men representing another city, sports matter a whole hell of a lot.

They do. Full stop. End of story. That’s It Fort Pitt.

You see, for all the aforementioned reasons this has been a perplexing and confusing time in these United States of America where it feels like the only thing we were united in for so long was an inability to get together and live life the way most of us had done so for, well, our entire lives.

Are things looking up?

Are they on the rebound?

Hell, I don’t know.

I’m just a guy who talks into a microphone about sports for four hours in the morning. I’m not smart enough to tell you if they are or if they aren’t.

What I do know is this: There has been a departure from it, if even for just a little while. And, man, the respite from it ---- from all of it ---- has really hammered home to me that sports matter.

Yeah, they matter.

Six times now (and it will be a seventh come Sunday at 1 p.m. when the game from Baltimore flashes across our TV screens) we have drifted into that alternate universe. We yell, we scream, we bite our nails and might even say a prayer to that big man in the sky --- Jesus Christ or Art Rooney, whichever you prefer. In real tense times, maybe both.

We cheer and drink beer.

We eat hoagies and pierogies.

We think at times that Mike Tomlin is the greatest person who ever lived and then moments later we want him fired.

We see the brilliance of Ben and the emergence of Claypool. We slap our kid or our best buddy a high-five when Watt or Bud come around the edge and hammer an opposing quarterback. 
Oh yes, we love when JuJu grabs a ball and inches forward for a first down or James Conner lowers that shoulder into a linebacker who thinks he might wallop him but instead is left on his wallet.

Man, can Diontae fly and Vince Williams hit, huh?

We cheer extra loud for Cam Heyward because of the type of guy he is on and off the field and how we know now he will be a Steeler for life.

We call our dad at halftime and grumble about the play calling or some meaningless spot on a wholly meaningless play.

Yes. We fall into that alternate universe for a few hours.

Sure feels good, doesn’t it?

So the next time someone says, “sports don’t matter” you can do what you like.

Know what I will do? I will tell them about the last six game days since mid-September when through all of this uncertainty in society the Pittsburgh Steelers have offered a few hours to look at that television and feel normal.

They’ve put a pep in our step. They have made us smile.

They have, if even just temporarily, blocked out all the other stuff happening in the real world.

Yeah, for sure --- I do know sports matter. ​