Weekly Blog

The Pittsburgh Steelers and America

During the 1970s, I was 7 to 17 years old. What a great age, during an incredibly exciting time to be a Pittsburgh sports fan. We were the City of Champions. The Pirates had won 2 World Series and the Steelers 4 Super Bowls. Pitt won a National Championship in ’76 as well. The oldest of 4 boys, my brothers and I would swim and play baseball during the summer, but the other 8-9 months of the year it was football, football, football…with us pretending to be our favorite Pittsburgh Steelers. 

These days I often watch TV or DVDs while working out. Most recently I took in The Complete History of the Steelers (great watch), from when Art Rooney bought the team to when they won their 6th Super Bowl. Dan Rooney makes the observation that Pittsburgh was the City of Champions during the decline of the steel industry, and that the Pirates and Steelers gave people hope, something to really be excited about.

Too young to worry about the steel industry’s impact on the local economy, I fondly remember the hope, happiness, and excitement we had in Pittsburgh in the 1970s. What great times, whether you were at a game, watching on TV, or playing outside with family and friends. Being young, not having a care in the world. Seeing the good in people, the good in things. Having role models truly worth looking up to. An amazing time to be a young Pittsburgh sports fan. 

Still today my favorite sport is football and favorite time of year the fall. The turning leaves, temps in the 50s and 60s, the smell of autumn. What are your memories? How do you relate them to your life today? Times with your friends and family. Maybe related to particular events, sports or otherwise, or a favorite food. Maybe a holiday picnic, i.e., 4th of July. 

This might seem like a stretch but this time of year, around the time of the birth of our country, I’m incredibly grateful that I live in the USA. Although there are other places of the developed world where I’m sure I would have had a great childhood, I sincerely doubt that anyplace could have delivered like America. 

Whether Pittsburgh or Portland (no Steelers there). California or Colorado. Sioux Falls or Sarasota. We’re blessed to be in the United States. I know we have challenges, some very big ones right now, but think about it. What country would you rather be in? If like me…none. Our country has so much to offer. All the freedoms. All the opportunities. The resources, the niceties. 

That hope that existed in the 70s in Pittsburgh. That’s the hope I wish for today. For our kids and grandkids. For our country. And for the world. 

You’ve seen me write about an attitude of gratitude. With this being the day after July 4th, I thank God for our country and all those who have fought for it. I thank God for my journey and all the good memories (including those Steeler Super Bowls). He has us where we are because that’s where we’re supposed to be…with all our experiences (and memories). The question now for all of us is…what’s next? What’s God calling us to do with the experiences, memories, and yes…blessings we’ve enjoyed? 

As always, please email me at with questions, concerns, comments, or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for Greatness!!!

Mark Joseph

Weekly Blog

A Great Quote from Mr. Rogers

Who among us grew up watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood? I know many of my readers are from the Pittsburgh area, home of Fred Rogers. Even if you didn’t watch his show, which included Chef Brockett and Mr. McFeely, aka Speedy Delivery, most of us knew of him. Mr. Rogers was the creator of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001, as well as the host of all 895 episodes, the composer of its more than 200 songs, and the puppeteer who imagined 14 characters into being. Mr. Rogers was an icon who changed children’s television. 

Related to my source for the Mr. Rogers quote, I have a friend named Ed Blank, who spent 39 years as a drama and movie critic for the Pittsburgh newspapers and television stations. A Vietnam vet, I had lunch with Ed a few weeks ago. Now retired, the stories he told were absolutely enticing and included names like John Wayne, Johnny Cash, Carol Brunette, Burt Reynolds, and many more. I can’t wait to be with Ed again. 

During our lunch, Ed told me a story about Fred Rogers, who became a friend of his. He had overheard Fred say to someone, “remember, there is no such thing as a conflict-free life”. Ed later related that story back to Fred, who had no recollection of it. That didn’t mean it didn’t continue to have an impact on Ed, as it did me.  

“There is no such thing as a conflict-free life”. With the exception of “God loves you unconditionally”, there may not be a truer statement. Conflict can be national or international, like what’s going on in Afghanistan right now…an absolute and arguably avoidable mess. 

Most of the conflict we experience is more personal than global, taking place at home or work, with those we typically interact with most often. Like all other issues in life, the answer is in Scripture or taught by the Church. Related to how we are to handle conflict, check out Matthew 18:15-17. Added to what St. Matthew indicates, I would offer the following points. 


There is no such thing as a conflict-free life 

Consistent with Mr. Rogers as quoted by Ed, there is no such thing as a conflict-free life. If that’s your expectation, then you’re in for a hard time. Conflict is a part of life. We’d all do ourselves a favor in learning how to handle it. 


Although not all conflict is avoidable, much of it is

By establishing ground rules or expectations up front, so as to make sure there are no misunderstandings after the fact, can go a significant way in minimizing or eliminating conflict. Although not always possible or practical, I like to have things in writing. 


Conflict doesn’t have to be confrontational

Many people run from conflict because they think it automatically means confrontation. That is not true. Conflict done the right way is healthy. You could argue that you wouldn’t grow or become a better person without conflict. 


Attack the problem, not the person

Be empathetic. Nobody cares what you know until they know how much you care. You can’t be self-righteous and on-the-attack and expect a good outcome. Instead, be invested in resolution and agreement as opposed to being right. Two sayings that come to mind:

  • Hate the sin, not the sinner 
  • Love your neighbor as your self 


You can say anything to anyone, as long as you say it softly

Tone is so important. An elevated voice (or perception of one) makes people feel like they’re being attacked. No one responds well to that. Speak softly. Smile. Both go a long way. 


Communicate often and early

People don’t like to be surprised. Most are creatures of habit. Most people are planners, albeit sometimes only subconsciously. They don’t like to be left in the dark. They much prefer forewarning. Give people as much advance notice as possible and don’t be surprised by last minute things creating conflict.  


Identify to the other person your struggle with the situation

You may say something like, “You know, I’m not very comfortable bringing this topic up to you. The last thing I want to do is hurt your feelings or bring conflict between us. The truth is though, you’ve hurt my feelings. I’d love for you to help me talk through this. I’d like to understand what you really meant, in addition to sharing with you how I perceived it. I’m hopeful that we can resolve any issues between us. Are you willing to work through this with me?”


Do the above with those closest to you as well

Oftentimes with family (and very close friends), we fear conflict the most. I think that’s because we fear the risk of loss. We also have expectations and often unspoken agendas for those in our inner circle. As such, with emotion we react instead of respond. The suggestions above all work and arguably are most important for those so important to us. 


Thank you, Ed, for the story that prompted this blog. By extension, thank you to Mr. Rogers. Both men have stories steeped in life lessons for us.  

As always, please feel free to contact me at with questions, comments, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.  

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph