Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Life is a highway
I want to ride it
All night long

[on my motorcycle].

So Pittsburgh has completely lost its mind. Completely and entirely. 25-minute segments on the news about Ben. Radio shows have nonstop callers and continuous debates on the helmet debacle. Everyone has gone completely crazy.

“It’s a hit from some crazed Patriots fan,” original speculations were, as the driver of the van had a Maine license plate.

2nd avenue has been a tourist attraction for 48 hours. Lawmakers are considering revising the PA helmet law due to so much chaos. Frantic worries of the upcoming football season have crossed the western Pennsylvania mentality. Channel 4 had Action News Ben Watch last night.

Fans were putting on scrubs to sneak into Big Ben's operating room. And his recovery room. And his hospital room. Some are not leaving the front of the hospital until Ben leaves. Anything for a tailgate party (Would you expect anything less? "This here mullet is for Big Ben. This here beer is for Big Ben." We're just looking for another reason to drink).

I live in Pittsburgh, so I’m all swept up in the heat of the debate and over-analysis. It’s easy to get lost in the excitement. You kind of forget there’s more news in the world.

I began to wonder as to what the reactions of other cities were. So I checked out the newspapers of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Denver, and Cleveland. Denver and Philly had respectable articles about the incident (and it was front page in Philly). The accident hardly got a mention in Boston. In New York you had to search for the article somewhere in the midst of the sports section to even hear about it.

Cleveland, however... Ohh Cleveland, and our lovely rivalry. I would like to quote from the article by Bud Shaw, entitled “
Big Ben makes very big mistake”.

"Riding motorcycles, even without a helmet, is preferable to swimming with sharks after cutting yourself shaving.

So there.

Roethlisberger has that argument (and not much else) going for him.

What he can't say as he heals from serious injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident Monday, injuries that could compromise his season, is "Who knew?"

The Steelers' quarterback didn't have specific language in his contract prohibiting him from living out his "Easy Rider" fantasies. Or, judging by the souped-up Suzuki he was riding, his Evel Knievel fantasies. Browns tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. did.

What Roethlisberger had, though, was more than fair warning...

If athletes in general feel bulletproof, Roethlisberger must have thought himself bazooka proof. Maybe that's it. He'd won a Super Bowl in his second season, after all."

The article is pretty riveting in its hatred for Pittsburgh. I was a little appalled by how they portrayed the events, but whatever, it’s Cleveland, and that’s how the rivalries roll.

And then
Rothlisberger’s replica helmet is going on eBay for over 5 grand. That’s right, over five grand. (Even got a mention on Sportscenter!)

Makes me wish I had the idea. That site is worth viewing just to read the questions asked to the seller. Hilarious.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette was apparently just as curious as I was about other cities' reactions. They report in an article by Ray Fittipaldo,

For those who thought Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer displayed a childish attitude in Sports Illustrated a few weeks back when he proclaimed "I hate the Steelers," wait until they get a load of what some Bengals fans had to say in the moments after Ben Roethlisberger's motorcycle accident Monday...

A few Cincinnati fans said in their messages that it served Roethlisberger and the Steelers right because former Steelers defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen, they contended, intentionally injured Palmer in an AFC wild-card game at Paul Brown Stadium in January.

"Irony, they cheap shot their way to a Super Bowl, now karma comes in," wrote a poster with the handle Spain.

Cantonbengal posted:
"This is what I been waiting to see happen to the Steelers they all laughed at us when Carson went down. At least, Carson isn't [stupid] like Ben ... hopefully he might miss some time this season."

A poster with the handle flugel wondered: "who is wearing a bigger turban today? Bin Laden or Ben Ridin'?" Flugel also noted that "there's something about Steelers quarterbacks bouncing off hard surfaces that keeps this rivalry fun."...

Why do some football fans react in such a crazed manner in the wake of a potential tragedy?

The whole thing has gotten very childish and I wish I could move out for a day. Ugh.

Anyway, that’s the “live update” on Ben. Hope everyone else in the world has sustained normalcy.

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