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Missing the Steelers preseason game was eye-opening to what out-of-town fans experience

Because my current job requires me to work on Friday evenings, I knew I couldn’t watch most or all of the Steelers’ first preseason game vs. the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on August 11.

No big deal.

I’ve worked several jobs where missing Steelers games was a routine reality. I’m used to it. I don’t lose sleep over it. I don’t go on the Internet and complain about it. Missing a game now and then isn’t the end of the world. It’s not like you’re missing your kid’s high school graduation party.

It’s only a game, Focker.

But I still try to tune into the radio broadcast even if I can’t actually watch.

I drive for a living and was looking forward to listening to Bill Hillgrove and Craig Wolfley broadcast the action on 102.5 WDVE, the Steelers’ flagship radio station, while I finished out my shift.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t given my assigned vehicle last Friday. Instead, I was issued a rental; it was a great SUV and had everything–including that intoxicating new-car smell. The only thing it didn’t have was over-the-air radio. No, instead, it had streaming radio. Sadly, while one of the two categories was for local broadcasts, “local” in this case meant a lot of places besides Pittsburgh. I spent some time trying to figure it out but had to settle for channels like 102.7 FM, a top-40 station in Los Angeles. It was renamed “Swift FM” or something like that because Taylor Swift was performing in LA all throughout the week. I like Taylor Swift (I’m a 51-year-old Swifty), but it just felt like an ironically cruel summer that I had to spend the night listening to her, instead of the Steelers’ first preseason game.

Don’t get me wrong, there were other artists played on this radio station besides Swift–including Katy Perry, Doja Cat and someone named Lil Durk–but I really wanted to hear the sweet sounds of Wolf as he belted out such memorable tunes as, “Habeas Grabus” and “Gadzooks, Billy!”

I don’t know if it’s because I’m 51, but I never could figure out how to change the radio from streaming to over-the-air. (I’m hoping there was no way. Otherwise, the whole getting old thing is probably true.)

My brother called me shortly after 7 p.m. to complain about not being able to find a broadcast of the game on his smartphone (he has issues). I was like, “At least you can listen to it on the radio, unlike me.” After I said that, I then reminded him that it was only a preseason game, and it wouldn’t be the end of the world if he didn’t get to see it. He assured me that he knew that but then proceeded to remind me that these were “THE STEELERS!”

I got a text from him not long after that informing me that Kenny Pickett had just connected with George Pickens for a touchdown; my brother used so many exclamation points in this text that I wasn’t sure if I was missing a preseason clash or the AFC Championship Game.

I briefly thought about checking my smartphone for updates while navigating the streets of Pittsburgh with my rental car, but society looks down on that for some reason. Also, I didn’t want to start a trend of people staring at their phones while driving.

Therefore, I continued to listen to 102.7 FM and mostly all things Taylor Swift.

I did manage to get done with work and was back in my own vehicle in time to hear the last 1:58 of the game (Wolfley even dropped a “Gadzooks” in during that time), but this was obviously the proverbial garbage time, as Pittsburgh held a 27-17 lead.

It was strange not knowing anything about a Steelers game as it took place (well, other than that touchdown from Pickett to Pickens).

So, did this dose of reality make me more sympathetic toward those non-Pittsburghers who often complain about not being able to watch or listen to Steelers games?

No.

Nothing is stopping you from moving to Pittsburgh. We have plenty of great housing that is surprisingly affordable, relatively speaking.

I will never, ever stop making fun of you for that.

Like, ever

After just a few hours of living in your reality, I’m sure glad to be a Pittsburgh Steelers fan living in Pittsburgh.

Living that reality on a weekly basis would be torture.

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