I recently did a newborn session for a sweet couple and their new daughter. She was 16-days-old and had a head full of dark hair and that perfect newborn baby smell that you just want to inhale so deeply that it makes parents start to look at you funny and wonder why you are vigorously smelling their child’s head. One of the main reasons I love newborn sessions: Baby sniffing. It’s kind of like sniffing puppy breath only more sanitary and less slobbery.
At the beginning of the session, the parents presented me with a request I have yet to receive in my 8 years of business. They wanted their new little daughter to be photographed under this bright yellowy-orangey towel that had “The Terrible Towel” emblazoned across it in bold black letters. I’m not one who usually turns down parent requests unless it’s something illegal or dangerous (yes, I do sometimes get requests like that), but I have to admit this was a unique request. I had no idea what this Terrible Towel thing was or why anyone would want their sweet, precious, beautiful daughter photographed with it. I mean, it’s not exactly elegant looking. There are no dainty flowers or pastel baby animals printed across the towel. It wasn’t overly soft nor did it smell like roses. Or puppy breath.
But, of course I obliged and we did a photo with the towel. I was informed it was a “Pittsburgh thing” and since dad and his family were from Pittsburgh, there were sentimental reasons that went along with it. Seemed reasonable enough, but of course I was still pretty clueless about it all until I got home and decided to do some investigating. And then I felt really stupid.
It should be pretty obvious that I am not a football person. My interest in football spanned a few months my 7th grade year (that would be 1987) when I randomly became an avid Cleveland Browns fan, mostly because my dad was a lifelong Browns fan, and I developed a big crush on Bernie Kosar (everyone who knows me is now laughing at the memory of my giant Bernie Kosar poster on my childhood bedroom closet door. He had great hair, what can I say?) After the Superbowl that year, I lost all interest in football and I have yet to gain it back. But I Wiki’d the Terrible Towel and apparently I am not only clueless about football, but I also don’t know anything about Pittsburgh. Because The Terrible Towel is a pretty big thing in Pittsburgh. And in football. Two things I know nothing about, though I did spend a half hour once at the airport in Pittsburgh on a layover. I guess I didn’t learn much while I was there.
Sweet, sweet girl. Even under The Terrible Towel, she still exudes innocent new life and delicious baby aromas. Her belly was out of sorts that day and we had to work really hard to get these photos, but I’d do it all over again tomorrow. And I have to say, she has already taught me a thing or two:
1) The Terrible Towel is a rally towel for the Pittsburgh Steelers that was created in 1975 by radio broadcaster Myron Cope to attract sponsors to his daily broadcast show, and since has gone on to become a wildly popular symbol of enthusiasm and support for the Steelers organization and the City of Pittsburgh.
2) I should probably find and destroy that photo of me at my 13th birthday party holding up my new Bernie Kosar poster.