Cafe 227

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Difference Between Pittsburgh and DC, Part 1: Friday Night Lights

I returned from my 3-day Labor Day holiday in Pittsburgh on Sunday evening. (See, unlike the rest of the country, I had to work Monday.) Exhausted after a long weekend and a seemingly longer drive home, I grabbed the Sunday edition of the Washington Post from the garbage pile in our front "yard," poured myself a glass of delicious Port, and grabbed a stool at the bar to do some light reading before bed. That's when I saw this article on the front page of the Post's "Sunday Source" section.

A primer on the local high school football rivalries.

The differences between Pittsburgh and DC have never been more apparent to me than at that moment in time.

See, in Pittsburgh, everybody knows about high school football - young and old, men and women alike. To paraphrase Jeb Babbin, publishing a high school football primer in Pittsburgh would be like going deer hunting with an accordian. Your average, middle-age Yinzer could probably tell you who Woodland Hills' quarterback was during the 2000 season before he could tell you his spouse's birthday. (Steve Breaston.)

Of course, this makes perfect sense. I mean, nobody moves to Pittsburgh. So, it can be deduced that people who live in Pittsburgh went to high school in Pittsburgh and have thus been exposed to the local high school football rivalries their entire lives.

The DC metropolitan area, lying at the opposite end of the economic spectrum as Pittsburgh, has a lot of transplants who don't know squat about local high school football. Sort of like me. (And those who do know a lot probably don't read the Post's "Sunday Source," which recently profiled non-dairy ice cream substitutes "for the vegans, lactose-intolerant and dairy-allergic among us.")

I'm not saying one type of city is better or worse than the other. I'm just saying it's different, that's all. Very different - as you'll see later this week when I write about by new favorite bar in Pittsburgh, Belevedere's, and compare it with some of my favorite bars in DC.

(Oh yeah, while we're on the topic of high school football, I'd like to point out that my alma mater, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, is currently ranked 11th in the country. That's right - in the whole United States. Where's Marist ranked, Chico? Yeah, thought so.)


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