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Fans 'steel' time with heroes

June 25, 2007|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Area Pittsburgh Steelers fans participated in their own form of worship Sunday morning, paying homage to two Super Bowl champions during a meet-and-greet at Cancun Cantina.

Jon Kolb and Robin Cole, Steelers from the 1970s and early 1980s, posed with fans and signed photographs, banners and helmets during their appearance.

"It's like a religion to us," said Renato Javier, 40, who drove from Columbia, Md., to have the former professional football players sign a helmet.

Javier grew up in Morgantown, W.Va., where the Steelers were the only team that mattered, he said.

"It's a rare opportunity to get to meet these people in person," Havier said.

Kolb said most fans ask him who his toughest opponent was, and what Terry Bradshaw was really like.

Joe Klecko of the New York Jets was a tough opponent, and Bradshaw was "just what you see," Kolb said.

After he retired from football, Kolb earned a master's degree in exercise science. He now works in an orthopedic office, he said.

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He also coaches his youngest son's high school football team.

Cole, a former Pro Bowl participant, makes cheesecake.

"I'm a baker," he said.

His grandmother taught him to cook and bake years ago, and Cole started his own business about two years ago "to survive," he said.

People really love his coffee-flavored cheesecakes, but the sweet potato cheesecake is his signature, Cole said.

Meeting former Steelers is a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity, said Anita Kay, 55, of Hagerstown.

She grew up in Pittsburgh, where rooting for the Steelers is a birthright, Kay said.

It's a diehard love, and there's no way she will ever jump to another team, she said.

"I'll be a Steelers fan for the rest of my life," she said.

The Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Club of Maryland's Hagerstown chapter sponsored Sunday's visit from Cole and Kolb as part of a fundraising effort.

The club organized Sunday's 2007 Golf Scholarship Fundraising Outing to help raise $1,000 for Amanda Gower, a recent graduate of Williamsport High School, said Tony Paci, director of the Hagerstown fan club.

The scholarship goes to someone who is a member of the club, or the child of a club member, he said.

Cole was scheduled to play during the tournament, Paci said.

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