*** Continuing Journeys of Hawk Hat - 1/28/2014 - Oprah … Uma … Uma … Oprah. ***
Today I decided to introduce Hawk Hat to the only other NFL cap I have ever worn other than that of my beloved Saints. The irony of the circumstances behind this happening triggered many important memories. We will share them tonight.
Tonight Hawk Hat met Steeler Cap.2005
Retreating back into the memories of that year I remember the devastation wrought by the failed levees caused by Katrina and the damnation of our season as Saints fans. As the season wore on, fully understanding the dilemma that my Saints were facing I latched onto two teams to follow past the regular season. As a forever NFC fan I began supporting the run of the Seahawks. But, in the other conference there existed a late season hot upstart that may be able to make a run … the Steelers.
One very special friend and an acquaintance tipped the scales of balance into the favor of the Pittsburgh Steelers for me. As much as I appreciated the spunk of the Seahawks, I could not abandon what would be a very special time for my friend, Kaye.
I met Kaye back in the late ‘70’s when she was one of the starting forwards on the North Carolina State University woman’s basketball team. The other starting forward was her twin sister, Faye. I remember Kaye as a bubbling personality, beautiful and caring.
Here is a picture I took of Kaye, Faye and several of their friends at a softball game in 1979. Kaye and Faye are left and right on the second row from the top.
I remember hanging out with all the girls on road trips and especially disco dancing with Kaye at a Raleigh dance club. I remember all the games that I traveled with the team as a photographer through the season and into the postseason. Kaye and Faye gained a certain level of fame and earned a spot in a Wrigley’s Doublemint commercial and when both spent a time in professional basketball, a Dannon Yogurt ad.
During our time at NCSU Kaye met a guy named Bill. I met Bill in passing on several occasions, but it is Kaye that I really remember.
This brings us to the rest of the story …
Kaye Young married the outstanding linebacker of the same class at NCSU, Bill Cowher, and was there by his side when the Steelers faced the Seahawks in the 2006 Super Bowl. I bought the cap to support my old friend and her husband and wore it throughout the game.
Under five years later, Kaye died after a battle with skin cancer leaving Bill with three daughters. It came as a total shock to me when she passed and is probably not well known by the general following of the NFL. I am sure this is why Bill left coaching as he wanted to spend the time with Kaye before her death and with his girls after.
Not sure where Hawk Hat and I were going with this, other than to say that today’s Journey took us far back and brought back many special times, happy and sad. But, you cannot define a real journey up front and along its unknown path many discoveries are made. The Journey is defined by the act. I hope y’all gained a little from this installment in the Journey. I know Hawk Hat and I have.
Until the next time …
P.S. Friends, note that the only time I ever wore a cap from any other team during the Super Bowl ... they won.