It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything but sneak peeks here, but I couldn’t let this day go by without a word about Myron Cope. And it’s not just because the Pittsburgh Steelers are heading for another Super Bowl. It’s more about Myron himself today, his birthday.
The longtime Steelers color commentator was born on January 23, 1929 and passed away nearly a year ago. His nasal delivery irritated a few people, but it was music to my ears—Myron always had something interesting (OK, maybe “outrageous” is a better word) to say!
Perhaps more notably to those living outside the ‘Burgh, Myron created “The Terrible Towel.” And more notably to me, in 1996 he gifted the trademark rights to The Terrible Towel to the Allegheny Valley School, where his autistic son resides. In the 12 years since, the school has made more than $2 million in royalties on The Terrible Towel.
During his life, Myron Cope did a lot for the autism community in Pittsburgh. He spoke out as the parent of an autistic child, and helped to educate people about autism. He and his late wife, Mildred, helped to found the Autism Society of Pittsburgh, and raised quite a bit of money for the organization and other autism causes.
A few months after Myron Cope’s death, my own son was diagnosed with autism. Even though I was unaware of Cope’s contribution to the cause of autism before then, it touches me now. He was willing to speak out at a time when autism wasn’t trendy, when it wasn’t frequently diagnosed or discussed.
Before this gets too maudlin, here’s a link to some of Myron’s best “Copeisms.”
And now back to maudlin: Thanks, Myron. And happy birthday. I hope you have a front row seat for that game on February 1.
Thanks to Christopher Preksta, who created the amazing art you see here. You can buy a print or a t-shirt at his CafePress site.