Excitement buzzed all around Latrobe Memorial Stadium in the form of children’s laughs and screams as they waited for the Steelers’ arrival on August 5. Leading up to the Steelers night practice, Latrobe celebrated the Pittsburgh Steelers with fans from across the nation.
Kids bounced around the stadium from the rock climbing wall to getting their face painted to games to watching the Steeline Drum Line to getting their picture taken with Steely McBeam. Cole Sorber, 5, was extremely excited to see Steely McBeam and get his picture taken with him. The smile on Sorber’s face was contagious and his declaration that he “really loves the Steelers” only made other fans around him smile more.
Children also had the opportunity to participate in the Gatorade Junior Training Camp on the side of the stadium prior to the night practice. At the camp, kids participated in drills for wide receiver, running back, quarterback, defensive back, and linebacker positions. Madalyn Pevarnik, 8, who plays all around on her school’s football team said the camp was “a lot of fun”and hopes to come back and do it again next year. While watching the Steelers, other youth football players excitedly identified drills that the Steelers did during their practice that were similar to drills that the kids practiced.
Patterson drove from Virginia with his family to come watch the Steelers at the Friday Night Lights event. And he wasn’t the only Steelers fan visiting from out of state. Hanna Nevadetti, 11, and her family drove 2,078 miles from Tucson, Arizona with the hopes that her dream of meeting her favorite player, Ben Roethlisberger, would come true.
When the Steelers finally arrived at Latrobe Memorial Stadium, the 12,100 fans in attendance cheered and raised their footballs, helmets, and Terrible Towels. The sea of black and gold that they formed would make anyone believe that Steelers fans really did “bleed black and gold.”
A lot of kids were most excited for the opportunity to simply meet or see their favorite player in person, which was Antonio Brown more often than not, or get players’ autographs. However, Friday Night Lights is much more than just a chance to get autographs or another Steelers practice. The event not only provides children and families from all over with a day full of memories, but also benefits youth in the Latrobe School District.