No future date has been more spoken of than today, December 21, 2012. People have made careers off it. The supposed end of the long-range Mayan Calendar. Famed American philosopher Terence McKenna had developed a numerological formula he dubbed “Timewave Zero,” in which he charted the ebb and flow of major events over world history. His graph goes off the charts in December of 2012, which he proposed would be the point of singularity; in which everything in the world would occur simultaneously, and time as we know it would cease to exist.
Even if McKenna were wrong, it certainly doesn’t seem so in Pittsburgh. Our beloved Steelers are floundering in mediocrity, the Pirates latest collapse is still fresh in our memories, and it’s been so long since we’ve seen the Penguins that they’re starting to show up on the sides of milk cartons. The end of days, indeed. But who’s to blame for the end of the Pittsburgh sports world as we know it? There are culprits to be found everywhere.
The End of the Steelers- A Failure of Bodies
A healthy team is a happy team. The Steelers have been far from both. Has anyone even seen Troy Polamalu? I heard he was back, but I’ve looked for him the past couple games, to no avail. The list of multiple game absentees for the Steelers is quite long: James Harrison, Lamaar Woodley, Rashard Mendenhall, Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger, Ike Taylor, Antonio Brown, Byron Leftwich, Jerricho Cotchery, Willie Colon, Isaac Redman, and I could probably go on for another paragraph. Hell, I think Dan Rooney may even be on IR. You just can’t survive injuries of this magnitude with a lot of success.
The End of the Pirates- A Failure of Leadership
On August 8th, the Pirates stood at 16 games over .500 and poised to make a playoff run. They then proceeded to go an apocalyptic 16-36 the rest of the way out. Once the fall started, there was nobody there to hit the brakes. Not veteran pitcher A.J. Burnett or jovial catcher Rod Barajas; nor manager Clint Hurdle were able to step up to the plate and lead the team back from the brink. People can argue that the Pirates simply weren’t talented enough to maintain their torrid summer pace, and that may be; but it was the lack of a true leader that sunk the Pirates’ ship.
The End of the Penguins- A Failure of Greed
The Penguins playoff loss to the Flyers seems like ages ago, but the bitter taste still lingers. The lockout has dragged on for longer than anyone could have imagined, and has reached a tipping point, with the players’ union threatening to disband. The owners have almost categorically denied any request from the players union. Their refusal to honor the contracts signed under the last CBA is a case study in greed. The only end to the lockout in sight is indeed an end to the universe itself. The sole consolation that Pens’ fans can hang their hat on is that their organization banded together and tried mightily to force an agreement, but ultimately to no avail.
On December 22, we will all wake up with the memory of the “end of the world” as a goofy footnote in the book of our lives. But for the Pittsburgh sports fan, it might just be true.