Big Lead Sports Bar

1/10/2008

The Mondesi's House Team: Jason Devander

JASON DEVANDER

Column: My Big Mouth
Frequency: Bi-weekly
Claim to fame: I was at the game where Jerome Lane broke the backboard at Fitzgerald Field House vs. Providence and still have a piece of glass from it. I also skated against career minor leaguers during pick-up hockey in Hershey, PA, and it was then I realized that I had absolutely no shot at playing in the NHL.

Background: Like many male children born in Western Pennsylvania during the Steelers Dynasty of the 1970's, his first diaper was a Terrible Towel. This initial gesture of love by his mother and father set the foundation for the Pittsburgh-area sports junkie that he still is today.

As a wily 6-year old, who was already analyzing point-spreads in football, Jason watched Dan Marino dissect the Cincinnati Bearcats during his first memorable Pittsburgh-related sporting event in 1981.

After begging his father for weeks, he watched a doubleheader between the Giants and Pirates at Three Rivers Stadium -- which also happened to be the highly-anticipated Jason Thompson/Foodland jersey day to youths 12-and under -- but had his hopes of a sweep dashed by Jeffrey "One-Flap Down" Leonard's grand slam in the 14th inning of Game 2.

Mario Lemieux's arrival taught him that hockey pucks were neither inflated or stuffed, and while at his first Penguins game in 1985, he saw the Penguins play the Canadiens and got his first hockey stick, which was placed in his overly-sweaty, juvenile hands and sponsored by the fine people at Eat 'n Park.

While he didn't get to see his first Steelers game in person at Three Rivers Stadium until 1996, which was only because he was dating -- or can he say boning? We'll go with dating for now -- a Pitt cheerleader at the time whose family had season tickets, Jason learned to support his football team by watching them every week and screaming at the television as loud as he could, a trait he learned from his father. This also furthers the point made by the old anti-drug ad of "I learned by watching you."


Entering adolescence, Jason took his love for sports and writing and attended a local college so he could begin working on future that included being a reporter in the media industry. (And someone who uses dashes and ellipses incessantly.) He worked in the media for several years as a local Pittsburgh-area stringer and wrote articles published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review among other publications. After several years working in the Pittsburgh-area, Jason landed a job with an unnamed media company in New York, where he, his wife, and daughter currently live.

At work, Jason spends more time than he should reading up on his beloved Pittsburgh teams, and after years of prodding, his wife finally allowed him to get the NFL Sunday Ticket and DirecTV at home. He now watches the Steelers there, which makes his wife happy since Jason no longer calls her for car rides on Sundays because he was too drunk to drive home from the bar, but she's still not pleased that he yells and curses at the TV every time he watches a game. Any game for that matter.
While he imparts his knowledge about Pittsburgh sports to his daughter (and other subsequent children he conceives with his wife, which will likely be following a night of overzealous drinking after a major Steelers or Penguins win ... he knows, however, that there are no such thing as major wins for the Pirates anymore, so it looks like most kids will be born in Fall or Winter), he hopes that being a Pittsburgh sports fan who lives out of state gives him a different perspective than other writers.

Or not.

"I'm extremely honored to be a part of the Mondesi's House team of guest writers," Devander said. "The blog is the standard by which all Pittsburgh sports blogs are judged, and I hope that I can uphold that standard among this incredibly talented group of writers."

"Now, where's my beer?"

1 comment:

Jason said...

Uh... I needed to post a comment in order to create a false buzz about my work. Thank you for your tmie.