Wednesday, June 22, 2005

It's the end of an era in Pittsburgh

Myron Cope has retired as the color commentator for and most recognizable voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I grew up listening to Cope's colorful broadcasts of Steeler games, and his various "Copeisms" (see the link for a list) were the absolute highlights of the game. His postgame show, where he presided over a loving audience of semi-inebriated fans in "Cope's Cabana," was always great fun to hear. My mom and I used to listen to games on Sunday afternoons when we'd play orchestra concerts, go to Pittsburgh, or otherwise be away from the TV, and no matter how the team was doing that day Myron Cope made the game worthwhile. When James and Rob went to a Steelers game in 1998, in my directions to Pittsburgh and the stadium I strongly recommended that they tune into "Cope's Cabana" on the way home. Upon their return to DC, when I asked them about the game and Cope, James said, "That guy was juiced!" I saw Cope once in person, after a Steelers-Texans game at Heinz Field. He took calls and questions from a small group of hardy fans in the "Cabana," smoking and nursing a beer the whole time. I didn't have the chance to meet him, but just seeing him made me feel better about a terrible game that the Steelers should have won easily.

Cope, whose previous career was as a sportswriter for newspapers and Sports Illustrated, is going to continue writing in his retirement. His memoir, Double Yoi!, is a wonderful account of his life as a sportswriter and broadcaster, and should be required reading for any Steelers fan. I'll have to get some of his other books as well. Steelers games on the radio won't be the same without him, but at least he'll keep on writing.

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