From Boston to Pittsburgh

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

How growing up supporting Boston sports prepared me for life as a Pitt fan.

Greetings - my name is Dan Sostek and I'm Cardiac Hill's newest writer. The site is putting a bigger emphasis on the coverage of Pitt's non-revenue/Olympic sports and I'm glad to help the cause as that will be my focus.

I'm currently a student at Pitt that just happens to be from Boston. Throw all of the vitriol my way about the teams I root for. I can handle it; I would probably detest them too if I were born in any other city.

Alas, I am indeed from Newton, Massachusetts, and have been raised a fervent supporter of each of the four major teams. And, after arriving at the University of Pittsburgh, the seamless transition I had into Pitt fandom was in large-part due to my love of Beantown athletics. It was very easy to empathize and understand the Panthers' history; Scottie Reynolds is Pitt's Aaron Boone, Tony Dorsett is its Ted Williams, and Mike Ditka is– well, he's still Mike Ditka. Essentially, I immediately began drawing comparisons in my head between my old and new homes.

There isn't an obvious parallel between Pitt athletics and the major sports scene in Boston, Massachusetts. Since 2001, the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins have won a combined eight championships. During the same span of time, Pitt football tallied one BCS appearance (a loss), and Pitt basketball tallied one Elite Eight appearance (a loss). But this isn't a discussion of success; instead, this is a discussion of the agony, stress, fear, anxiety, worry, and passion that courses through my veins while watching the teams play.

The Boston fans that you see on Twitter bragging about titles, MVPs, and All-Stars aren't what the majority of that fanbase is like. The majority are like me: paranoid. Buckner's error, Boone's home run, and David Tyree's catch still leave me perpetually envisioning the worst (I still expect Dave Roberts to be called out at second whenever I re-watch the 2004 ALCS). Sure, Boston has had a great run of success, but, for at least fans like me, ones raised by a man who lived through Bucky Dent, it is still an extremely insecure fandom. Clearly, this negativity comes from a place of love.

Does that paranoia, pessimism, and insecurity ring a bell? If not, hop on Twitter any time a major Pitt athletic contest is taking place. On what has been dubbed "Pitt Twitter", there are generally two factions of Pitt supporters: the level-headed fans and the pessimists. I have transitioned, for better or worse, into that faction of Pitt cynicism. This passion-fueled pessimism might not be productive, but it sure feels like home. And while I'll still be screaming at the TV on Autumn Sundays lamenting a careless fumble by the Patriots, my voice will likely be hoarse from doing the very same thing the previous day watching Pitt play.

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