Gold Lot Sports Writer and Editor - Who Am I - Antonio Wolfe

I was going to take a moment to explain my background with Pittsburgh sports.  However, after thinking about it, my background is Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh sports.

Two of my very first memories are at Pittsburgh sports stadiums.  They are both those sorts of memories that are so distant you are not even sure they are real.  The first is at Three Rivers Stadium.  I remember my Dad taking us to Sunday afternoon games, but always complaining how Gene Lamont would play his “Sunday roster”.  Because the promotions were catered toward kids on Sundays, we would go to a lot of Sunday games and see a lot of losses. 

We were walking in the first level concession area.  At Three Rivers you could not see the field from the concession area like you can at PNC Park.  A loud crack of leather on concrete echoed through the dark gray hallways and a ball rolled passed me.  A foul ball had shot its way through the section entrance.  I was stunned.  It was my first time realizing a ball from the actual game could leave the field of play, and I could keep it as a souvenir.

I did not get the ball that day, but I will never forget that feeling. 

The second memory I have is sitting at Pitt Stadium for a football game.  It was freezing.  I think it was my first ever experience of sitting on bleachers in the cold.  It wasn’t great.  However, they did a segment back then where a giant Pitt jersey with the number 12 on it was featured. 

I asked my Dad what that meant.  He explained how there are 11 guys per team on the field at once.  We, the fans, were number 12.  At that moment I felt my importance as a fan skyrocket.  What went from a miserable, cold day on butt chilling bleachers, turned into a game I could help my team win.  I was the 12th man at Pitt Stadium that day.

My parents are from Peters Township.  My dad, Dave, worked downtown at Duquesne Light for 30+ years.  I was very familiar with downtown as early as I can remember because of him.  My Dad grew up a huge Pirates fan and attended World Series games with his mom.

My mom, Toni, grew up in East Liberty with her ‘straight off the boat’ Italian immigrant family.  They did a majority of their grocery shopping in the Strip District and never left without taking a bite out of their loaf from Pennsylvania Macaroni Company.  She grew up a huge Penguin fan and can still be heard yelling “shoot the puck” during every Penguins power play.  Her loves in life are my Dad, her kids, Mario Lemieux, and Terry Bradshaw. 

My parents had Penguin season tickets for years until my brother was born in 1991.  They were going to name him after whichever player scored the series-winner in that year’s Stanley Cup.  My mom was praying it was Mario Lemieux, but instead it was Ulf Samuelsson.  They settled on calling him David instead. 

My Dad, my brother, and I had season tickets to Pitt Football and the Pirates for years dating back to the early 2000’s.  My Dad and I can still be found at PNC Park, 20 games a year in section 307.  My brother worked for the Steelers for several years before moving to Orlando, Florida.  We could not afford Steeler tickets until my brother was able to offer us his employee ones he got for free. 

I don’t want to forget to mention my sister, Rebecca, who is an avid sports fan as well, but can’t get to as many games as she used to since she moved to Erie, PA.  We froze our butts off for the game against Miami in the 2016 playoffs when the temps were in the teens.  She will still come into town to watch Steelers playoff games at my Aunt Deb’s house.  If you didn’t think we were a Pittsburgh family from the previous paragraphs, having an “Aunt Deb” really seals that.

Not to mention, I have been at some of the biggest games in Pitt Basketball history.  We were standing on the balcony of the club in the Petersen Events Center when DeJuan Blair ripped down the rebound that brought Hasheem Thabeet to the floor.  My Dad made the trip to Dayton on a Thursday to bring my brother to the game against East Tennessee State in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.  He then did the same thing that Saturday to take me to the game against Oklahoma State. 

The first night I ever drank was the fateful Scottie Reynolds layup night in the Elite 8.  I was at a friend’s house for my first “house party”.  I was terrified of getting caught by my parents, but I wanted to be one of the cool kids, obviously.  When Pitt lost that night, in gut-wrenching fashion, I put down 6 or 7 Coors Lights and that was enough to put me out.  My mom picked me up the next day and could tell just from my walking that I had been drinking.  I was grounded for a month.

So you see, my background is Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh sports.  I come from a Pittsburgh family, who have grown up rooting for the Pirates, Penguins, Steelers and Pitt.  I take the G2 Busway every day to my office downtown.  Pittsburgh is in my blood and it always will be.