Here we go the excitement is palpable with the Pittsburgh Steelers heading back to the Super Bowl for the third time in six years.
From an historical standpoint, the game will be a combination of the best the NFL has to offer: the Packers, who set the tone for Super Bowl Championships as winners of the first two title games taking the field with the Steelers, who have won more Super Bowls than any other squad in history.
They'll play in Dallas, the home of the only other franchise to make eight appearances in the world's biggest football game.
The hype is only just beginning, and the side-stories are endless. There will be lots of talk of the potential redemption of Ben Roethlisberger, and probably far less discussion about the small-town upbringing of Packers center Scott Wells, who grew up in Brookville. The super anticipation makes it fun to live in Steeler country, as fans gear up for a black and gold extravaganza.
Super speeds are being clocked in Florida, with the Daytona 500 just a few weeks away; for the first time in three years, Daytona opened its gates for pre-season testing this past weekend. The sessions were a chance for teams to try out the newly repaved surface, which promises three-wide racing.
It was also the opportunity to get NASCAR back in the news during the sport's off-season. Racing is facing the challenges of falling TV ratings and attendance numbers, and it needs a boost big-time. That may come this week, when officials are expected to announce some tweaks to the points system and championship format. It should make for a very interesting 2011 Sprint Cup season.
Super fundraising efforts continue for the Penn State Lady Lion basketball team, gearing up for its annual Pink Zone game on Feb. 27. Fullington Trailways has joined the team to offer free bus rides for cancer survivors to be part of the game and surrounding festivities. Buses will descend on Penn State from the Bedford/Altoona area, as well as routes from Harrisburg/Hershey/York, Dubois/Clearfield, Huntingdon and Lewistown. Additional buses are coming from Williamsburg/Lock Haven and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
The team hopes to pack the Bryce Jordan Center with more than 10,000 fans and the largest group of survivors they've ever hosted for the game. Survivors receive free tickets for themselves and up to three guests, and then get to take part in the halftime ceremonies and a post-game reception. The event not only raises money and awareness, but gives those who are battling breast cancer the opportunity to come together with a community of those who have beaten the disease, providing hope and camaraderie, and the feeling that they are not alone. That experience may be worth even more than the thousands of dollars the event will raise.
Survivors can register for their tickets and bus rides at www.GoPSUSports.com/pinkzone.
Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Kellie@BedfordCountyChamber.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.