Friday, November 23, 2012

Clairton, A Forgotten Steel Town's Unforgettable Football Team on The NY Times Front Page

The Friday after Thanksgiving, Heinz Field comes alive with High School Football championship games, where many of the fancy big high schools, like Central Catholic, North Allegheny, Upper St. Clair, Mt. Lebanon show off all their pride. But somehow the games can never mean as much as for the old factory and coal towns.

From The NY Times:

“The businesses have shuttered; we lost our mill, lost our grocery store,” said Tom McCloskey, the principal at Clairton High School and an alumnus. “It seems the odds are stacked against the town. Football is a way we can persevere, ride the success of the team. A lot of people look forward to Friday night. Everybody comes together around one common good thing we’ve got going on."
Apart from providing community pride, football serves as a neon advertisement that, despite its troubles, Clairton remains open for business. In fiscal 2011, the city budget finished in the black for the first time in at least a decade. United States Steel has invested more than $500 million to upgrade the nation’s largest coke plant here along the Monongahela River, 12 miles south of Pittsburgh. A grocery store is planned for next year. Real estate is plentiful and cheap."
"The players celebrated and dressed and headed for home, one win from establishing an improbable state record with 60 consecutive victories.
“It doesn’t matter where you are around Pittsburgh,” said Mathis, the athletic director. “You say Clairton, people think great football. They don’t think dying steel mill town.” 
Clairton won their 60th consecutive victory over Sto-Rox. They haven't lost since  Sept. 11, 2009    

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