It is easy to forget how definitively "Pittsburgh" Myron Cope was before he became the lionized soundbox of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He graduated from Allderdice, then the University of Pittsburgh, and even worked his first job up north in Erie. It is also easy to forget that the man used to be able to put the pen to the page with surprising flare and efficiency, serving as a noted freelance writer for Sports Illustrated.
Yet pictures like these remind any Pittsburgher of Myron's most resonant trait: his undying enthusiasm for the Pittsburgh Steelers, an enthusiasm that found endless avenues of expression. He took our lingo and extrapolated it onto a national broadcasting canvas that had never heard such words before (and in many cases, neither had we). The only reason that the Terrible Towel has any cultural value is because of Myron - I will always believe this. Virtually every stadium in America now has white hankies or red wavers or some material item that is supposed to signify a united fan base. These items look silly because they possess no cultural currency. Fans grab them just before game time, wave them because they are told to by the jumbotron, and, generally speaking, look like dancing circus creatures. In most cases, the items are discarded after the game.
Before any of this commercialized and "unified" fandom began, one crazy man decided to try this whole business out. He talked funny. He had an undying love for Steelers football. And he loved waving his yellow towel.
Myron taught us that these types of passions, goofy as they may be, were alright. They were alright because unlike the piles of white pom-poms filling garbage cans after games in other cities, these towels rested on dinner tables and family mantles in homes across the country. These passions and habits are still alright today, because it is these quirkily unique expressions that make us, and Myron Cope, Pittsburghers.
RIP Myron Cope