An Unusual Eulogy
There was something special living in Pittsburgh. The city and the Steelers have some kind of deep connection. I remember riding the bus to work, the tone of the entire bus rising and falling depending on the outcome of that week. I connected with patients many decades older than me just based on the Steelers alone. I would listen to their stories about games they saw, players they knew. They would recount where they were when they saw the immaculate reception. They talked about how the Steelers revived a city deeply impacted by the fall of the steel mills. I loved every story.
This is unmatched by the memories I have with my own family, especially my dad. His stories about the games he watched and the players he grew up with made me feel like I knew them. Almost every big moment of a Steelers game, you could find me with my phone in hand, talking to my dad. He always said and still says, “we have them right where we want them.”
Now my kids are starting to be interested in the Steelers. They hear my dad’s stories and now mine. Asher plays in the back yard pretending to be Kenny Pickett and runs routes any time my dad is around to throw. There’s something special about things that bring us together— even insignificant things like football.
Yesterday when the news broke about Franco’s passing, it felt so sad. I never met him, but I heard all about him from so many. We right away talked to my dad and sat and watched stories about his football play, but even more importantly about his life. I hope my boys heard the loudest message that was talked about over and over again he was a hundred times greater of a man than a football player. He was humble and genuine and kind. He wanted other people to feel seen. There is something deeply and uniquely powerful— to make someone feel seen. There will probably never be a hall of fame running back coming out of this family, but I hope that when our time is up here, people remember feeling loved and cared for and seen when they were around us.