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Deserving Steeler Fan Needs Some Help….

Making the World a Better Place

A few weeks ago I had a great meal in Pittsburgh at the Cadillac Ranch (great place, you should try it!).   We normally try to get to know our waiter or waitress a bit – it always seems to make a more enjoyable time.

 

This experience was totally different from any time I have asked our waiter “what do you do for fun?”.   

Meet Dakota Carpin, a nursing student at nearby Robert Morris University.   Dakota wins the best response ever for this question.   I normally find out that most waiters and waitresses  like to hang out with their friends, talk about their spring break trip, or about their kids.    Dakota’s response?    “I’m trying to save up to go back to Nicaragua to help people in need.”

I’ve heard a few people mention that they will go on mission trips with their church or schools, but this was different.   Dakota was basically working to save enough money to personally fund his trip to help others – talking about someone who is unselfish!!

He showed me some pictures of a family that he told me was now part of HIS family.   How they live in a shack the size of what we would consider a small storage space.   It leaked, was about to collapse, and everyone sleeps on the ground.   On his last trip, he personally funded supplies and all his expenses so he could rebuild their shelter.   I was touched and forgot about all of my problems for a few days after our run-in with Dakota.

I asked Dakota if he would write about his trip so that I could share with Steeler Nation – and the rest of the world.   Dakota needs some financial help and I told him I would see what I could do to help him out.    It is important to note that this was not Dakota’s idea, he’s much too humble and a little shy to ask for that.    But ….. after reading his story below, please consider helping him out with whatever you can spare – every dollar counts for his trip.    Also – please share this article with others – I think this is a great story of how not just Steeler fans give back, but how we should all learn a little from Dakota’s example.

Dakota has put together a site for donations and there is a video that shows his last trip – you won’t want to miss it.     DONATE TODAY -   You’ll feel good about helping his cause!

Go Here to Donate

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Here is the information that I asked Dakota to share:

 

Robert Morris University Transcultural Medical Mission Trip to Nicaragua

 

I believe that everyone was placed on this earth for a specific reason, whether we realize it or not. It wasn’t until November 2013, when I took my first trip to Nicaragua, that I realized the purpose and true meaning of my life. This experience completely touched me and changed my whole outlook on life. Nicaragua taught me materials don’t create happiness; it’s about the experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

I had never been to a third world country before, nor had I realized what it was truly like to live under such harsh circumstances. Pictures and videos don’t give justice to the conditions that these people encounter everyday. People in Nicaragua don’t have anything compared to us in the United States, but the sad part about it is that they’re happier than anyone I’ve ever met. People here are happy for the wrong reasons; it shouldn’t be about materialistic items you possess, but the family that you have and who will always be there for you.

The family that I took care of while in Nicaragua made me feel like I was apart of their family, and I now look at them as if they are my family. It’s sad to see such wonderful kids with so much potential being stuck and never being able to progress in life because of their financial situation. For example, the mother in my family made two dollars a day to support her and her three kids. This just shows how far a little bit of money can go to help these families. Most of the families in Nicaragua live in a house no bigger than most American’s living rooms, and they are forced to sleep on the dirt because they can’t afford anything more.

This family’s house is almost ready to collapse on the mother and her three children. The support beams are rotting and twisting. There are holes in every tin wall and the roof is no better. This inspired me to take out a loan to pay to rebuild this family’s home. Especially after the response we got when we explained to our family that we had some extra money to help buy them some supplies and asked them what they needed. The mother told us that we have given her Dakota with Childrenteverything by showing her that there is someone out there who truly cares about them. This statement is something I will never forget.

During these trips we set up a clinic to perform health assessments, provide medications, and educate the financially and economically disadvantaged families in the barrio. Most people here have never seen a doctor before and don’t even know about half of their medical problems. Nursing students, as myself, work along side Doctor Ross to help assess and diagnose any medical problems, as well as helping to teach the community treatment and exercise options. Even though we may help them tremendously, I feel that what I’ve taken out of this experience is greater than anything we could possibly do for them.

Since before I started attending college, I had my mind set on becoming a Nurse Anesthetist; but after I sat down with Doctor Ross in Nicaragua and talked about my love for helping people, I realized why I wanted to pursue this career, money. Money isn’t what life is all about nor is it what makes you happy, and Nicaragua taught me that. It’s the experiences that you’ll remember forever and the accomplishments that you make on the way. This is why I now want to become a Nurse Practitioner; therefore I can continue going back to Nicaragua three times a year with Doctor Ross from my school to continue helping the people who truly need it.

This is why I am writing this article for everyone. I’m trying to raise money to assist me in returning to Nicaragua and pursuing this dream. Each trip costs $2500 to go on and I have to pay this each trip out of pocket. I don’t have the money to keep attending these trips and helping but with your support it’s possible. Any extra money being donated will go towards medications, beds, stoves, plates, water storage systems, tarps for roofs, clothing, and food for the poor families in need. Any support is greatly appreciated!

 

Thank you,

Dakota Carpin, RMU Nursing Student

 

Dakota Carpin with ukulele from Nicaragua

Dakota Carpin with a Ukulele from Nicaragua

 

Go Here for More Information

and to Donate

Steeler Seat Licenses – A Great Investment?

Pittsburgh Steeler Seat Licenses – Is This a Great Investment?

The stock market has been up and down – extremely volatile.   The real estate market… let’s not go there!    How long will you be able to sell your gold items before is starts to crash?

Possible the “safest” investment is Steeler Nation!!!   Here’s a great article that talks about the value of the license fees at Heinz Field.

 

The most valuable piece of real estate in the city might not be a mansion in  Shadyside or a skyscraper Downtown but a seat in Heinz Field.

In the decade since the stadium opened, the personal seat licenses or PSLs  fans bought for the right to purchase season tickets have soared in value,  offering a far better return on investment than the slumping stock market or  even the price of a barrel of oil.

Take, for instance, a fan who bought a license for a seat in an upper level  of Heinz Field for $250 in 2001. It now is selling for an average of $4,306, an  increase of 1,622.4 percent, based on 2011 sales at STR Marketplace, a website  authorized by the Steelers to allow fans to buy and sell seat licenses.

A seat license that went for $500 in an end zone now is selling for an  average of $7,486, an increase of 1,397.2 percent. And one that sold in a lower  midfield section for $2,700 when the stadium opened now is going for an average  of $17,131, a jump of nearly 534.5 percent.

Taken together, the 49,278 seat licenses sold by the Steelers for an average  of $1,172 since Heinz Field opened now are selling for $9,802, on average, or an  increase of 736.3 percent, based on the sales data.

By contrast, the price of a barrel of oil has increased by 340 percent since  2001.

“It certainly is an impressive increase in value, no doubt. That’s a  testament to how much the community loves the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Preston  Hill, vice president of STR Marketplace, which manages seat license transactions  for nine National Football League teams, three Major League Baseball teams and  two NASCAR racetracks.

It’s doubtful that many fans saw the seat licenses as a keen investment  strategy when they plunked down anywhere from $250 to $2,700 for the right to  buy season tickets before Heinz Field opened.

In fact, many fans grumbled about having to pay a one-time fee for the right  to purchase tickets. Several disgruntled ticket-holders even sued, claiming the  seat licenses they bought didn’t match the seats they got. The lawsuit  eventually was dismissed by the state Supreme Court.

The Steelers ultimately raised an estimated $40 million through the personal  seat licenses and used the money toward their $123 million share of the cost of  the $281 million stadium.

Ten years later, the licenses are providing an unexpected bonanza to fans, or  at least those interested in selling their seats, perhaps the most coveted of  possessions among the Steelers faithful.

Mr. Hill said the Steelers are in the “top tier” of teams in the country in  seeing increases in the value of seat licenses. In all, 15 NFL teams, including  the Dallas Cowboys, the Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Cleveland  Browns, the Chicago Bears and the New York Jets, require fans to buy seat  licenses.

“The demand for the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise is higher than almost any  in the country. It is phenomenally high,” Mr. Hill said.

He and Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp Ltd., a Chicago-based industry  consultant, said the team’s success on the field — with two Super Bowl  victories and three AFC championships since moving into Heinz Field — is  obviously a key factor in the appreciation of the seat license.

But it’s not the only one.

Mr. Ganis said another thing that worked in fans’ favor is that the Steelers  priced their seat licenses below market rates so that longtime season  ticket-holders moving over from Three Rivers Stadium could keep seats in roughly  the same location.

An even bigger factor, he said, is simple economics.

“Very few people want to sell personal seat licenses. As a result, those who  want to sell can charge a higher price because … there are many who want to  buy,” Mr. Ganis said.

Then there’s Pittsburgh’s well-known and rabid interest in the team. The  Steelers credit that enthusiasm for helping to drive up the value.

“The value of a seat at Heinz Field is a direct reflection of the passion  that Steelers fans have for their team,” said Mark Hart, the Steelers’ director  of planning and development.

Teams typically turn over about 2 percent of their licenses in a given year,  according to Mr. Hill. The STR numbers do not include sales on sites like eBay  or Craigslist or private transactions.

Of course, to profit from the increase in value, a fan must give up a seat  and ticket, perhaps calling into question which master he or she will serve:  money or football.

“It’s like owning an NFL team. You never really profit from it until you sell  it but it’s nice to know you can,” Mr. Ganis said.

It’s a tough decision fans of some other teams don’t have to make.

Mr. Ganis said in some cases, there’s been little increase in value. In  others, depending in part on the team’s performance, the seat licenses actually  have lost value. In still other cases, teams have priced the licenses so high  there’s not much room for growth.

The Pirates, for example, sold a limited number of seat licenses at $2,000 a  pop before PNC Park opened in 2001. As the team’s losses mounted, interest in  the seats waned, and the team began selling season tickets for the seats to  non-license holders. Some fans now deem the licenses to be worthless.

One football team that has seen the value of seat licenses grow is the  Steelers’ biggest rival, the Ravens.

Michael Burke, Ravens’ manager of ticket sales and hospitality, said seat  licenses — more than 71,000 were sold — have tripled in value since the team  began selling out its stadium in 2004.

He attributes the jump, in part, to the team’s success on the field, with one  Super Bowl victory and numerous playoff appearances since 2000, and to a devoted  fan base not unlike Pittsburgh’s.

“I would say it’s very similar. Pittsburgh and Baltimore are two of the  smaller NFL markets, two blue collar towns that live for their sports,” he  said.

Baltimore teamed up with STR Marketplace in 2007 to give fans a secure site  to buy and sell seat licenses. Mr. Burke said the team decided to go that route  after becoming aware of attempts to sell bogus licenses as the value of seat  licenses increased.

The Steelers have been using STR since March 2010.

However, fans who think they’re sitting on a gold mine might not want to wait  too long to cash in, said Neil deMause, co-author of “Field of Schemes,” a book  that examines the public financing of stadiums and arenas. He said the seat  licenses have a definite shelf life.

As Heinz Field ages and the Steelers start to think about a new stadium or  extensive renovations, the value of the licenses likely will decline, Mr.  deMause said.

“If I bought a Steelers PSL, I would be very happy with the way things have  worked out so far, but I wouldn’t count on it as my next nest egg because there  are too many uncertainties,” he said.

One fan who has been on both sides of seat license transactions, as a seller  and a buyer, is Steve Masters, a software consultant at Carnegie Mellon  University’s Software Engineering Institute and a longtime Steelers fan.

This month, Mr. Masters sold a seat license he bought for $1,200 in 2006 to a  soldier stationed in Afghanistan for $6,000 after posting the seat on STR  Marketplace.

As part of the transaction, he paid a 10 percent fee to STR, which shares the  revenue with the Steelers, and ended up with $5,400. He originally had listed  the seat in section 131 near the goal line for $8,500. He believes the price he  got was “reasonable.”

“I thought it was a good offer and I’m satisfied with what I got for it,” he  said. “I have to say that when I initially bought it, I wasn’t looking at it as  an investment. But when I was looking to buy [other seats] and saw the  marketplace, I realized that it was worth more than I paid for it.”

Last year, Mr. Masters purchased two seat licenses in section 110 on the 40  yard line for $30,000, or $15,000 each, in a private negotiation. He dipped into  his savings to pay for the seats.

“It was a substantial amount of money. It was like buying real estate. I was  excited about it. I was pleased because I was able to get some nice seats. My  wife wasn’t quite as excited about it as I was,” he said.

With the transactions, Mr. Masters currently is the proud owner of five seat  licenses and the accompanying season tickets, which he and family members use.  Based on the sales data, he probably could make a tidy sum for himself if he  sold them. But he’s not looking to cash in any time soon.

“I’m not interested,” he said. “First and foremost, I’m a fan.”

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11331/1192861-53.stm#ixzz1eueTXo00

Older Steelers vs. Young Jaguars

The Pittsburgh Steelers Experience vs the Jaguars Youth and Inexperience

The Pittsburgh Steelers have more experienced players that almost any team in the NFL.   The Jaguars are almost the exact opposite.   Will it be the tested experience and wisdom of the Steelers?   Or will the improving Jaguars finally a win after dropping four straight?

Here’s a great article written by the Sports Network that gives great insight into Sunday’s matchup:

 

Though the Jacksonville Jaguars were able to put up a season high in points scored against the league’s top-ranked defense last weekend, it still resulted in a fourth straight loss.

Jacksonville and rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert try to avoid dropping five in a row for the first time since 2001 this Sunday at Heinz Field, but must do so against another tough defense in the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The learning curve for the Jaguar offense figured to be steep when the club released quarterback David Garrard before the start of the season. Luke McCown opened the first two games before head coach Jack Del Rio opted to go with Gabbert, the 10th overall pick of the 2011 draft.

Gabbert is still searching for his first victory as a starter, though he had one of his better games in last weekend’s matchup versus the Bengals. He threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Jason Hill to put the Jaguars up by four with 8:24 to play, but Cincinnati scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the quarter following a short punt by Matt Turk, then added another touchdown on a fumble return to end the game and deal Jacksonville a 30-20 defeat.

The loss left the Jags winless since a Week 1 victory over Tennessee and came after a handful of missed opportunities. Twice Jacksonville had the ball inside the Cincinnati five-yard line, but came away with field goals both times.

Though the inexperience of the offense could be to blame, running back Maurice Jones-Drew isn’t looking for silver linings.

“There is no positive in losing. We tried to take the high road the last three weeks,” said Jones-Drew. “We’re just not making enough plays on offense. It’s frustrating. The only answer is within us. Right now we have to find a way to win games because we’re breaking down in the second half.”

Though Del Rio put some of the blame on himself afterwards and Gabbert commented that you win as a team, Turk still suffered the backlash for his poor punting, getting released on Tuesday after averaging just 37.7 yards on seven kicks.

Gabbert would be wise to keep a notepad handy this weekend as he goes against Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who connected on five touchdown passes in this past Sunday’s 38-17 win over the Titans despite a sprained left foot.

Roethlisberger matched a single-game team record he already shared with Terry Bradshaw and Mark Malone, helping Pittsburgh to a third victory in four games since a lopsided 35-7 loss at Baltimore back in Week 1.

Gritting through injury, Roethlisberger also helped his club win for the fifth straight time at home including the playoffs, but was quick to spread praise to his teammates as well.

“I’m not the only guy playing with an injury. I’m not going to complain about it,” said Roethlisberger, who was often limping between plays. “More impressively and more importantly is how guys have stepped up and filled in for people. I don’t think I have enough time to name all the guys. There were so many. I’m just so proud of them.”

Pittsburgh also played last weekend without defensive end Aaron Smith and linebacker James Harrison, while running back Rashard Mendenhall was active despite a hamstring injury but did not play.

Without Harrison, fellow linebacker LaMarr Woodley stepped up with 1 1/2 sacks and an interception — Pittsburgh’s first of the year — while running backs Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer combined to rush for 156 yards in place of Mendenhall.

SERIES HISTORY

These two teams met twice annually as members of the then-named AFC Central from 1995-2001, but have not faced one another since a 26-21 Pittsburgh win in Jacksonville during the 2008 season. The Jaguars had defeated the Steelers three straight times in regular-season play prior to that defeat and hold an 11-9 edge in the overall series. Jacksonville’s last non-playoff trip to Heinz Field took place in 2007, with the Jags coming away with a 29-22 decision.

Jacksonville also bested the Steelers in Pittsburgh during the opening round of the 2007 AFC Playoffs by a 31-29 score, the only head-to-head encounter between the clubs in the postseason.

Del Rio sports a 4-2 lifetime record against the Steelers, while Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin is 1-2 against both Jacksonville and Del Rio as a head man.

WHEN THE JAGUARS HAVE THE BALL

It comes as no surprise that with a rookie under center, the Jaguars rank last in total offense (270.6 ypg) and passing (150.0 ypg) and are 31st in points per game at 11.8. Gabbert (608 passing yards, 3 TD, 2 INT) did throw for 221 yards versus the Bengals, but 74 of that came on his scoring pass to Hill (12 receptions, 1 TD). Overall, the quarterback completed 15-of-28 throws and was sacked three times, though he wasn’t picked of. Hill led the Jaguars with five catches for a career-high 118 yards, while fellow wideout Mike Thomas (23 receptions, 1 TD) and backup running back Deji Karim added three catches each. Tight end Marcedes Lewis (8 receptions) has also been a reliable target this year when healthy, but he was held to just one catch versus Cincinnati. Even with Jacksonville failing to sustain a pass attack, Jones-Drew (476 rushing yards, 2 TD) has still been able to contribute and ran for 85 yards and a score on 19 carries last weekend. He needs just 110 yards from scrimmage to join Fred Taylor and Jimmy Smith as the only players in club history to reach 8,000, but he hasn’t run for a score on the road since Nov. 15, 2009.

Jacksonville faced the league’s top-ranked defense in Cincinnati and now faces a Steelers unit that is second at 282.8 yards allowed per game. Pittsburgh also owns the top pass defense (174.0 ypg) and is allowing just 17.8 points per game. The Steelers have yet to allow 300 net passing yards in a game, with Tennessee’s total of 240 last week marking the highest they’ve permitted so far this season. With Harrison (23 tackles, 2 sacks) expected to miss another month due to a broken right orbital bone, Lawrence Timmons (30 tackles) moved to the outside spot and made five tackles, while Larry Foote (14 tackles, 1 sack) came off the bench and started on the inside. With Smith’s injury, Ziggy Hood and rookie Cameron Heyward both saw time on the field and combined for six tackles and 1 1/2 sacks against Tennessee. James Farrior (31 tackles, 1 sack) led the way 13 tackles and will combine with Woodley (19 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 INT) in attempting to keep Jones-Drew in check. Safety Troy Polamalu (35 tackles, 1 sack) added nine tackles last week and will hope to take advantage of Gabbert’s inexperience.

WHEN THE STEELERS HAVE THE BALL

While Roethlisberger’s five touchdown passes were impressive nonetheless, it was the running game that surprised most during last week’s win. With Tomlin opting not to use Mendenhall (173 rushing yards, 2 TD), the Steelers still averaged 6.2 yards on 28 carries, their highest since a 6.3 average on Sept. 26, 2010. The numbers were inflated a bit by Dwyer’s 76-yard run, but Pittsburgh still rushed for 100 yards in the first half for the first time since Dec. 7, 2006. It will be curious as to how Pittsburgh divides the carries this weekend. Roethlisberger (1376 passing yards, 8 TD, 6 INT), meanwhile, used his record-tying day to become the second Steelers quarterback in team history to surpass 150 career touchdown passes – along with Bradshaw — and is also just 122 yards shy of joining Bradshaw as the only Pittsburgh quarterbacks to reach 24,000 career passing yards. Roethlisberger, who completed a pass to eight different receivers, continued to hit Mike Wallace (31 receptions, 3 TD) for big plays, finding the playmaker for a 40-yard score, while Hines Ward (20 receptions, 2 TD) had a game-high seven catches and scored twice. Tight end Heath Miller (15 receptions, 1 TD) also hauled in a scoring throw from Roethlisberger.

Despite their 1-4 record, the Jaguars can’t be upset with how the defense has performed this year. Jacksonville ranks eighth overall at 316.4 yards allowed per game and is 10th against both the rush and pass. The Jags have held opponents under 300 total yards in four of their five games this year, the second time the club has accomplished that in team history. Led by a pair of linebackers in Daryl Smith (36 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT) and Paul Posluszny (39 tackles, 1 sack), Jacksonville is tied for second in the league by forcing 17 three-and-out drives and has totaled five sacks and three interceptions over the past two games. Right end Jeremy Mincey (13 tackles, 1 sack) and backup John Chick both had a sack in last week’s loss, part of a line that is expected to have Aaron Kampman back for the first time in 14 games. Kampman hasn’t played since Oct. 31 of last year due to a torn ACL. Smith, who’s questionable due to a concussion, and Posluszny both finished with nine tackles last week, while safety Dwight Lowery (15 tackles, 2 INT) had an interception, Jacksonville’s sixth of the season. Cornerback Derek Cox is also questionable after missing the past two games with a groin injury.

KEYS TO THE GAME

One matchup to watch for will be Wallace against the secondary of the Jaguars. The Steelers wide receiver is a big-time threat down the field, but Jacksonville is tied for second in the league with just 13 plays of 20-plus yards allowed.

The return of Kampman could be big for the Jaguars, who will need to slow down the Steelers’ run game to put pressure on Roethlisberger and his ailing foot. A healthy Kampman should help Jacksonville increase its current season total of eight sacks, which have come from seven different players.

Gabbert, meanwhile, can expect no mercy from a veteran Steelers defense that will try to force him into a number of rookie mistakes. Expect the likes of Polamalu, fellow safety Ryan Clark and veteran corner Ike Taylor to pounce on mistakes.

OVERALL ANALYSIS

The Steelers answered their second loss of the season with a gut-check win over the contending Titans, showing some flair that has been lacking at times this season. With five games to go until the bye, one has to wonder how Roethlisberger’s ailing foot will hold up, but Pittsburgh showed last week that is has no problem going to the run game to set up big plays for its quarterback. While the Jaguars’ defense has been able to hold its own, their one-dimensional offense stands no chance against the Steelers punishing stop unit.

 

Click here for a link to the Sports Network