Ex-player's book details Steeler havens across country
Josh Miller insisted the idea to write a book about Steelers bars across the country started with a casual conversation in neighbor Shawn Allen's basement.
“All the fun things you do are usually by accident,” Miller said.
Miller and Allen had plenty of fun logging more than 33,000 miles to visit 100 Steelers bars, and their adventures are chronicled in the soon-to-be-released book “Always a Home Game: Our Journey Through Steelers Country in 140 Days.”
Speaking Thursday night at Rivers Casino alongside Allen at a VIP-only event to promote the book, the former Steelers punter said he arranged a meeting with the Rooney family to pitch the idea — with little confidence.
“We thought we were going to get turned down,” Miller said.
Only they didn't. Dan Rooney and Art Rooney II loved it and gave Miller and Allen their blessing. The result is 240 pages of the duo's hijinx, some of which was viewable during Jumbotron spots a few minutes prior to kickoff at Steelers home games last season.
“We're going to get to share all the experiences they had,” said Sherry Sainovich-Slem, 50, of Beaver Falls, who with husband Butch waved Terrible Towels on Thursday that Miller and Allen signed. “I think it's something every Steelers fan should have.”
After all, who wouldn't want to spend every weekend from early August through the end of the year on the road in a 32-foot RV?
Not so fast, Miller cautioned.
“You eat. You're hanging out. You laugh. You hear the greatest stories,” Miller said. “Then you say, ‘Oh (darn), it's 8 o'clock, and I have to be on-air the next day.'
“So you're driving back from Chicago overnight, taking three-hour shifts.”
Family support also was huge. Neither realized the breadth of the project. To cover the 31 other NFL markets, some trips ran as long as six days. But for a pair of first-time writers, they're pleased with how the book came out.
“The experience was phenomenal,” Allen said. “But you try and document it, and it's almost like words can't describe what it's like. There's this overwhelming sense of emotion everywhere we went.”
Sonny Tedesco, 58, of Ohio Township preordered a copy for his 78-year-old stepfather.
“He'll cherish that for the rest of his years,” Tedesco said.
Bars were chosen to align with the Steelers' 2013 schedule and voted on at the group's website and Facebook page.
They went into each bar with a checklist of information to glean: connection to Pittsburgh, what's on tap, food, the local scene, the story of the place and a biography of the owner.
Allen said the first draft clocked in at 400 pages but had to be cut. Blame Harold's Corral in Arizona, a Steelers bar where Miller winds up riding a horse for the first time and texting Allen from across the bar to save him.
The pair handed out 100 certificates from the Rooney family, verifying each place as an official Steelers bar, and collected T-shirts from all their stops that they had sewn into six quilts.
Most of all, the trip certified what Miller and Allen knew all along: Steelers fans turn out in droves to support their team.
“You can't do this for any other team,” Miller said. “If you're in Jacksonville, good luck.”
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers notebook: Ravens DL fined for hit on Roethlisberger
- Steelers’ Timmons looks to reverse defense’s struggles
- Steelers’ Polamalu relying on smarts as physical skills decline
- Steelers notebook: Big Ben sees increase in throwing out of shotgun
- Steelers defense a long way from ‘greatest of all time’
- Steelers remain confident in ground game
- NFL notebook: Cardinals RB Dwyer arrested on assault charges
- Steelers notebook: Former lineman Kemoeatu receives kidney from brother
- Steelers not receiving big returns on their offseason investments
- Steelers’ Roethlisberger still hurting after hard hit from Ravens’ Upshaw
- Steelers veteran defenders want young teammates to step up