Collier’s Weekly: Seven More Sports Worth Your Attention
Can’t motivate yourself to follow the black and gold when they post a losing record? Fortunately, the world of sports is wide.
Listen: You don’t need to feel bad. I know, I know. We’ve been trained from birth that we absolutely must remain breathlessly dedicated to each and every Steelers game (and at least the significant majority of Penguins games). Anything less than total devotion, regardless of the performance of the team in question, is treated with suspicion around these parts.
You may find, however, that continued attention eludes you with the Steelers sitting at 3-6 and the Penguins off to a 6-6-3 start.
It’s okay. You don’t have to turn in your Terrible Towel if you tune out for a while. Hey — Pirates fans have been doing it for 30 years.
Keep up appearances, of course; make sure you know enough about what’s going on to make small talk while waiting for an oil change. (That’s what Sportscenter was invented for.) But consider one of these alternate options for the next few weeks or months. There are plenty of places to put your sporting attention and a lot of places where you can get close to the action for a tiny sliver of what an NFL ticket costs.
Here are seven more local sports worth a look.
Robert Morris Basketball
The women’s team in Moon Township is off to a 4-0 start, having just put up an eye-popping 95-39 final against Waynesburg. The men’s team, meanwhile, won their home opener, smacking Pitt Greensburg around to the tune of an 84-49 victory behind a 20-point game from Junior guard Enoch Cheeks. Making the short drive to see the Colonials promises not only a competitive game, but a comfortable one inside the still-new UPMC Events Center; it’s a great venue for college ball, without a bad seat in the house.
Steel City Roller Derby
If you’ve been to see Pittsburgh’s roller derby squad at their Cheswick home court, the Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena, you know that the four-wheeled frenzy makes for an action-packed spectator sport. Unlike most spectator sports, though, there are opportunities for you to make the jump from the stands to the fray with Steel City Roller Derby; the nonprofit organization is hosting a New Skater Boot Camp on Dec. 15. Follow them on Instagram for details — or to stay informed when another match is coming up.
Pitt Women’s Volleyball
Get in on the worst-kept secret in local college sports: The true powerhouse at Pitt doesn’t play at the Pete, they call Fitzgerald Field House home. The women’s volleyball team in Oakland has claimed 14 conference championships (11 in the Big East, three in the ACC) and are a fixture in the national tournament; they’ve competed for the crown in each of the last six seasons, last year knocking off Penn State, Kansas and Purdue to make the final four. For parents, it’s also a great opportunity to introduce children to a sport that’s growing in popularity and collegiate opportunities.
Independent pro-wrestling outfit Enjoy! Wrestling is dedicated to assembling a roster of grapplers with a focus on gender and racial diversity — but also to putting out fun, athletically dazzling shows. The company brings some of the most talented wrestlers in the world to Mr. Smalls Theater in Millvale; they’ll next take over the storied venue on Dec. 17 for the “Enjoy Odyssey” battle royale. Get a balcony seat for the best view … or get close to the ring, and plenty of action, with a floor ticket.
You don’t have to track down your old lunch-table buddies on homecoming weekend to relive the Friday Night Lights of your youth, particularly in the coming weeks, when WPIAL championships will be decided at several local stadiums. This Saturday, the Class 5A and 6A championship games will be played at Norwin High School, as Pine-Richland takes on Upper St. Clair at noon and North Allegheny lines up against Central Catholic at 6 p.m. The other four classes get to settle things under the bright lights of Acrisure Stadium on Nov. 25.
World Cup Soccer
Okay, I’m cheating a little — this isn’t technically local. But it’s the World Cup, it’s local to every corner of the planet. I’m waiting to hear where the best day-in, day-out bar for catching games turns out to be; stalwart Piper’s Pub is sadly shuttered. But the Pittsburgh Riverhounds are hosting a Black Friday party to watch the matchup between the American and English squads on Nov. 25; seems like a great event to me.
Harlem Globetrotters at PPG Paints Arena
No, the routines never really change; no, the hapless Washington Generals never win. But there’s a reason why the Globetrotters have drawn crowds for nearly a century — it’s good, old-fashioned family fun. I also wouldn’t object if the NBA adopted magical slow-motion plays and defiant sideline grannies. The Globetrotters whistle into PPG Paints Arena for two shows on Monday, Dec. 26.