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Benspotting

Written by Dan Gigler on .

With apologies to the 1990s Scottish cult literary/fillm classic, a dispatch from Pittsburgh ex-pat Linda Greenwood Hume, a North Allegheny alum living in St. Andrew's, Scotland, who engaged in some "Benspotting" on Tuesday ...

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Pittsburgh native Linda Hume meets Ben Roethlisberger at St. Andrew's.
"My name is Linda Hume, and I came to St Andrews about 6 years ago in order to do postgraduate work at the university in medieval literature. I met my husband (who is from St Andrews) ... and we got married 6 weeks ago at Eilean Donan Castle on the West Coast of Scotland ...

"Growing up in Pittsburgh, I was automatically a Steelers fan. That being said, it was not until I came to live in Scotland that I really began to follow football. It connected me to my hometown and became something I could share with my father while I was away from home.

"I have been here since the Fall of 2005, and have watched the Steelers win two Super Bowls and lose another one, while on Scottish territory. For each one, I sat in a pub and waved my Terrible Towel and wrapped myself up in a Steelers banner ...

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Big Ben prepares to tee off on hole no. 1 at St. Andrew's.
"When I heard a couple of months ago that there was a possibility that Big Ben would be in St Andrews, I determined I would get him to sign this banner for my father.

"... On Monday, June 25th, I got a Facebook message that a friend of mine from Kingsbarns Golf Course (I worked there for a couple of years) ... was caddying for a Pittsburgh Steeler ... I wrote to the manager of the Kingsbarns pro shop and asked him to get me an autograph from Big Ben for my father ...

"I then got a message from my husband, telling me that according to the Old Course ballot sheet, Ben was teeing off on the Old Course on Tuesday, July 26th at 9:20 in the morning, with three other friends. I made sure I was waiting this morning with my banner and Steeler shirt!!!

"I am not a big fan of getting autographs, but I will do anything for my father, including making a fool of myself. I went up to Ben and asked him for a signature and a picture. He was very gracious and kind. He signed my banner right away and waited patiently while I fiddled with my camera that refused to work and finally got out my iPhone.

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Fore from Seven.
"This poor man was accosted by a crazy Pittsburgh fan while on a private holiday and was nothing but smiles ... He was with three mates from Pittsburgh, and they too were quite chatty and interested in why I was in St Andrews. Honestly, the best part of the experience was that I got to meet people from home. There were two other people there who wanted autographs and photos and Ben was equally as friendly and accommodating with them.

"I stuck around and watched them practice putting for a few minutes and then tee off on the first hole of the Old Course. When I left, I went to pick up the autograph my friend at Kingsbarns had managed to get for me for my father. Ben had addressed my father by name, signed it and added 'Go Steelers'. It was very kind.

"... What I really want to emphasize, however, is how impressed I was with Ben. I have not been home for awhile, and do not hear much press about him. The only news we got over here was the disciplinary measures that were taken against him because of his past behaviour. As a result, I was not a big fan.

"This experience has caused him to rise in my estimation. He was on a trip to a country where most people do not follow the NFL, and had no reason to think people would recognize him. He acted with graciousness, friendliness and humility. I was really touched.

"I am sorry for this long ramble. This is what happens when you combine the fact that I have not been home in five years and miss contact with my fellow Pittsburgers ..."

 

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Linda Greenwood Hume makes the vaunted St. Andrew's golf course in Scotland another outpost of Steelers Country.

 

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