A remarkable story from today's NYT on the Terrible Towel, and what it means for Myron Cope's disabled son Danny:
"It's actually been really hard for me, with the Steelers going to the Super Bowl," the 38-year-old Elizabeth Cope said. "Because I have to see the Terrible Towels everywhere. It's great. But it hurts."
The towels are a swirling reminder of her father, Myron Cope, a longtime Pittsburgh broadcaster credited with creating the Terrible Towel in 1975. Before he died last February at age 79, Elizabeth Cope watched last year's Super Bowl with him in his hospital room. She draped his coffin with a quilt that a fan had made out of Terrible Towels.
But the great part comes from what each of those towels does for people like Danny Cope, Myron's son and Elizabeth's older brother.
Myron Cope left behind something far more personal than a legacy of terrycloth, a battle flag for a city and its team. In 1996, he handed over the trademark to the Terrible Towel to the Allegheny Valley School. It is a network of campuses and group homes across Pennsylvania for people with severe intellectual and developmental disabilities. It receives almost all the profits from sales of the towels. Danny Cope is one of the roughly 900 people the school serves. He has been a resident since 1982, when he was a teenager. He was diagnosed with severe mental retardation when he was 2. He is now 41.
"He's never spoken," Elizabeth Cope said. "Which is kind of funny, because Dad is known for his voice. It's almost like the Terrible Towel is Danny's silent voice."