Dreams CAN come true
Bear with me a moment before you make the early decision if this is a case of Tl;dr, or immediately decide that you have no interest in American Football or the city of Pittsburgh and move on to something else.
Though this focuses on my love of the Pittsburgh Steelers, it also shows how, no matter what your dreams and aspirations might be, and whatever obstacles may get in your way, life’s unexpected twists and turns can find you standing there one day and thinking “it finally happened”.
This is a story involving tears, laughter, and love…lots of love.
Hopefully you’re now intrigued enough to want to read on…there are even photos to look at and videos to watch, so pour yourself a drink and get comfortable.
I’m putting this online on Monday 3rd January 2022 for a reason, and that reason is that today (or early tomorrow UK time to be pedantic) the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback since 2004, Ben Roethlisberger, will step out onto Heinz Field as a player for probably the final time, and I thought that this tied in perfectly for me to put into words what was an emotional and physical journey that began 40 years ago in 1982.
I was 17 back in 1982 and loved most things a teenage lad back then did: football (or “soccer” for our American readers), movies, and rock music, and while I still love 2 out of those 3 things, my enjoyment of one type of football was about to be replaced by a complete obsession with another type of it.
In 1982 Channel 4 began showing weekly highlights of NFL games, and while time has dulled my memory as to how we first came to immediately sit down together and watch this new sport to us all (it must have been an advert promoting it), it soon became a weekly tradition that my dad, Ike (my friend since we were both aged 11) and myself would huddle (no pun intended) around the TV and become engrossed in the action playing out before us.
First order of things was of each of us picking a team to follow.
This was of course in an age with no internet, so we couldn’t jump online and do any sort of research on the (then) 28 teams in the NFL, and with no printed media coverage of it over here in the UK either, we were left to our own devices on how we were going to pick a team to support and cheer for while we were all those many miles away.
My dad picked the Green Bay Packers. I have to idea why, and I don’t think he did either, as just a few weeks after he chose them he found himself cheering more for the Washington Redskins (currently the Washington Football Team). His love of Washington was solidified when the 3 of us sat up to a ridiculously early hour on the night of January 30th 1983 and watched his beloved ‘skins beat the Miami Dolphins 27 – 17 in Super Bowl XVII…though Ike and myself always ribbed him that it wasn’t a “proper” Super Bowl win due to the strike shortened season.
That was it. He was a Washington fan.
Both myself and Ike had already been huge KISS fans for a few years by now, and his favourite song was (and still is) ‘Detroit Rock City‘. So despite his love of Manchester United and possibly picking a team that wore the same colours as them (which would more than likely have been the Atlanta Falcons), he chose the KISS connection (Konnection!?..a little inside joke there for fellow KISS fans) and picked the Detroit Lions.
If only he knew then the pain he would endure for the next 40 years (and counting) being a Lions fan. Get your act together Detroit and give my friend some post season success…he’s only ever seen you win ONCE in the playoffs in the 40 years he’s been a fan!
So how did I choose the Pittsburgh Steelers?
Easy. They were one of the first teams we watched and I liked their colour scheme. That’s it.
I knew nothing about their history or their players (both past or present). I didn’t even make the connection until much later about my favourite film of all time (Dawn of the Dead) being filmed in Pittsburgh!
That was it then. We each had our own team to cheer for…and dammit if the 3 of us didn’t cheer at the top of our voices every week during those Channel 4 highlight shows.
With no way to watch a game in full, and definitely not a live game (except for the Super Bowl), Ike came up with an ingenious way (and what now would appear to younger generations as an archaic way) of supplementing our NFL obsession.
He’d bring an old radio of his to my mum and dad’s and we’d sit upstairs in my bedroom as he slowly turned the dial to pick up armed forces radio and its coverage of American Football.
It was broadcast in long wave and the signal was weak. So weak in fact that Ike made an improvised aerial out of wire and had to stick it onto his ear for the best (although still very weak and crackly) sound.
Yes, we sat there like 2 gridiron geeks. Both huddled around a barely audible broadcast. 1 of us having a piece of wire attached to his ear that often came unstuck should we cheer too loudly if one of our teams scored.
So the years went by and Super Bowls came and went. None of them featuring either the Steelers or the Lions, though my dad did well watching Washington’s 3 Super Bowl appearances during the 1980’s (winning 2 of them).
My mum and dad loved to take an annual holiday abroad together each year if finances allowed, but they also each had their own hobbies that the other wasn’t interested in, so would sometimes go away separately too. I’m not sure how often this happens in other families, but to me it was always a normal thing for either parent to off with mates to enjoy “their thing”. With my mum it was invariably a beach break, which my dad didn’t have too much time for, as although he liked a swim in the sea, once he’d done that he’d like to go off and explore.
My dad loved golf and would take golfing trips with work mates. I joined them a few times too…usually to the ones in Scotland, but during the 80’s him and a friend from work (Pete…a Raiders fan) did 2 NFL trips to America to watch their teams.
I have 2 abiding memories from my dads NFL sojourns.
First and foremost is how happy and excited he was when he came back. Full of stories about how amazing the stadiums were, how friendly the fans were (especially when finding out him and his mate had travelled all the way from the UK), and how the atmosphere at a game was incredible and like nothing he’d ever experienced before at a sporting event before.
My 2nd memory is a present he brought back for me. He told me that he’d looked for a Steelers jersey and couldn’t find one (he was in Dallas at the time), and knowing that I wouldn’t want anything from any other NFL team, he’d picked me up a baseball jersey instead.
I unwrapped the present to be almost blinded by a Houston Astros jersey. It was the most garish thing I’d ever seen.
“Do you like it?” he asked.
“It’s awesome” I replied.
I loved my dad and wasn’t going to tell him what I really thought of it, no matter how much we often took the mickey out of each other. I even wore it a few times too…ALWAYS with sunglasses though to stop the glare.
As soon as I started supporting the Steelers in 1982 I had the dream of one day flying to Pittsburgh and watching them, and my dad’s stories about his NFL trips made me even more determined to make that dream come true.
1982 wasn’t just the year that I discovered the NFL, it was also the year that Chris (best buddy of Ike and myself all the way through Grammar school…we were 3 working class kids who bonded both in and out of school) emigrated to Canada due to his dad’s work.
It was heartbreaking as the 3 of us were very close, and this was still in a time when to keep in touch meant writing letters…of which we wrote many, and swapped even more silly recorded messages on C60 cassette tapes. The one upside though was that I could go and visit him in Canada, which I did as often as I could afford to do.
This is when my NFL dream took another small step forward.
Chris lived in Guelph, Ontario. Which is not too far from the American border and tantalisingly close (at least in American terms) to Pittsburgh. So even though it was going to be a visit during the summer months and the NFL offseason, I started planning my first foray into the Holy Land…Pittsburgh!
I wrote a letter addressed to Three Rivers Stadium. No name, just:
The Pittsburgh Steelers,
Three Rivers Stadium,
In it I wrote a brief outline that I’d been a UK fan for 4 years now (this was 1986) and that it was my dream to watch them play in Pittsburgh, and while I wasn’t coming to America during the NFL season, was there any chance that Chris and I could visit Three Rivers Stadium?
A few weeks later an envelope plopped through the letterbox postmarked from Pittsburgh!
Inside were a handful of Steelers stickers (one which still adorns my computer desk that I’m sat at right now) and a typed letter saying that if I informed them of the date that we were going to be there, then they would be more than happy to show us around the stadium!
Do I need to write how excited I was!?
So began the planning for a trip that Chris and myself would undertake when I visited him.
Much like as I did with my letter to the Steelers, I wrote one to the Detroit Lions and explained about my upcoming visit to America and Ike’s love of the Lions. My plan being that we could travel from Ontario to Pittsburgh by looping around Lake Eerie, stopping off at Detroit to visit the Pontiac Silverdome, take some photos there for Ike, and then carry on to the steel city. Probably not the most cost effective way to do it, but it sure would be one hell of a road trip.
A few weeks later I got a reply back from the Lions saying that they’d love to see us, just give them the details and they’ll show us around when we get there.
With reply letters sent back to the Steelers and the Lions detailing the dates Chris and myself would be there, I was all ready to finally set foot on the hallowed ground of my team.
SO the first stop off was in Detroit, and the Pontiac Silverdome was incredible. We were shown all around the stadium and I was taking photographs everywhere for Ike (they are currently up in the loft somewhere or I would have scanned them and added them to this). It was all quite breathtaking, especially when walking out into the middle of the Silverdome and looking up at the incredible domed roof.
The Lions visit was rounded off by the guy that showed us around (I unfortunately don’t remember his name) giving me a book about the Lions (which I gave to Ike when I got home) and then saying to me that he shouldn’t really do this, but I’d travelled a long way and he appreciated that, before giving me one of the official footballs that the team uses for practice (which I didn’t give to Ike…sorry mate, but it’s a proper NFL team used ball!)
Then it was off to Pittsburgh.
Chris had already pre-booked a room for us in a motel just outside the city of Pittsburgh and we continued our travels using Greyhound buses.
We arrived in Pittsburgh on a dark wet evening in June. The rain was pouring down and we were miles away from our accommodation…and with no American money or credit cards on us. Yes, we completely forgot to get any U.S. dollars before leaving Canada.
While standing in the dark outside the bus station like 2 idiots soaked to the skin in the pouring rain, a black and white pulled up in front of us and a uniformed police officer got out and proceeded to question us about what we were doing.
We explained our predicament, and while he didn’t seem entirely convinced, I think our English accents persuaded him that we were telling the truth. So he offered us a lift to our motel to check out our story.
A 10 minute drive later we pulled up outside the motel and the evening receptionist gave us a strange look through the motel glass doors as Chris and I stepped out of the caged area at the back of the police car, both of us soaking wet, tired and bedraggled, and accompanied by the policeman we sheepishly walked up to the reception desk.
It was now, with a cop still hovering next to us, that our story seemed to fall apart.
The receptionist checked, then double checked the bookings for that evening…we were not on them. The cop gave us a look that that screamed “Soooo, what’s the real story here?”
A 3rd check by the receptionist saw that we were booked in from tomorrow evening, but if we paid now we could have a room this evening…but we had no cash, only a couple of Canadian dollars and my travellers cheques which they couldn’t accept.
Finally, after a lot of talking (make that…pleading) she agreed to let us have a room as long as we handed our passports over and they would be put in the motel safe until we could pay.
The next morning we got up and were all ready to get ourselves into the city for the big Three Rivers Stadium tour in the afternoon, but we had no money to get into the city!
The receptionist from the previous evening was still at the desk and once again we embarrassingly explained our predicament. She either took pity on us or was so fed up of us by now that she gave us the bus fare to get into the city.
Once in the city we walked to the nearest bank to cash my travellers cheques, and after standing in line for a while we made our way to a middle-aged lady at the next free desk.
“I’d like to exchange some travellers cheques for American dollars please” I asked her.
“Of course Sir” she replied “have you got any I.D?”
Yes, I had I.D. I had my passport…which was in the safe back at the motel (insert “sad trombone wah-wah-wah” sound effect here).
Time has made me forget exactly what was said between us after that, but the end result was that she lent us enough money out of her own handbag to get a bus back to the motel and then back to the city again.
I told her that we would return with her money after we’d gone back to the hotel to grab my passport. Which involved explaining everything to a different motel receptionist who thankfully let me take my passport back to the city.
The bank teller looked surprised when we both walked back in, and when we reached her desk told us “I thought I’d never see you 2 again”.
I cashed my travellers cheques, left the bank, went to the nearest flower shop, bought a big bunch of flowers, and then went straight back to the bank and handed them to that lovely bank lady with a big smile on my face and said a heartfelt thank you for her kindness.
People of Pittsburgh, I fell in love with you all at that moment.
I’ll never forget walking up to Three Rivers Stadium, a place I’d only ever seen on TV until now, but suddenly I was standing right next to it.
The tour was amazing and we were taken all around the stadium, including out onto the middle of the playing field. I WAS STANDING ON THE FIELD OF THREE RIVERS STADIUM!
I looked lovingly at the 4 gleaming Lombardi trophies and posed next to them while Chris took my photo. One moment I’m in the UK listening to a crackly armed forces radio broadcast of a Steelers game, and then the next I’m in America and literally within touching distance of their SuperBowl successes…incredible.
Then the 1980’s turned into the 1990’s and still I’m waiting to see my team in a Super Bowl.
I was going to be 30 years old on July 25th 1995, and at the beginning of that year my dad took me to one side and said that as a very special 30th birthday present he was going to take us both to Arizona for Super Bowl XXX in the January of 1996…WOW!
And this is where life can often derail the best laid of plans.
In the June of 1995 my dad complained of a few stomach pains while visiting me one day. A few days later he was suddenly rushed into hospital with them.
For 2 weeks he lay there slowly getting worse, and as I walked out of the ward after another daily visit, I turned around at the door to look at him and he gave me a thumbs up and winked at me…it would be the last time I’d see him conscious.The pain had become intense and his internal organs had begun failing, so he was put into an induced coma which lasted another 2 weeks before he passed away on July 5th 1995.
He was 53 years old.
It came out that he had pancreatitis and was one of the 1 in 5 cases that are severe and result in life-threatening complications, such as multiple organ failure.
My 30th birthday just 20 days later was a subdued affair to say the least. My granddad (my dad’s dad) passed away just a few days after my dad went into a coma. He was suffering with dementia and didn’t comprehend that his son was in hospital, while my dad never knew that his father had passed away. It was a sad time all around.
Sunday January 28th 1996 and it was Super Bowl XXX.
Myself and Ike were ready to watch our 1st Super Bowl without my dad being there with us, and wouldn’t you believe it, not only were the Steelers playing, they were also up against my dad’s teams deadly rival the Dallas Cowboys!
I obviously couldn’t stop thinking throughout the game that my dad and I would have been there, both of us cheering for the Steelers…as of course he wouldn’t want the Cowboys to win!.
Life sneered at me once again, as not only was it now to be NFL nights without my dad, the bloody Cowboys went and won the game.
By this time I was online (my dad was a techy geek and I’ve followed him in that respect) and I joined Pittsburgh Steelers forums and discussion groups. Something which years later would give me another step forwards towards my dream.
10 years after Super Bowl XXX I got to watch the Steelers in another Super Bowl, this time lifting the Lombardi after a 21-10 win over Seattle and with new QB Ben Roethlisberger leading the offence.
In a strange set of coincidences, their win not only gave me a belated 40th birthday celebration after the utter devastation of my 30th birthday, it also took place at the Detroit Lions new stadium of Ford Field.
My dad was there in spirit with Ike and myself when we watched them lift the Lombardi, as we always placed one of his Washington t-shirts on the couch next to us.
Just 3 years later I was watching the Steelers win again in a 27 – 23 win over Arizona (the place where my dad and I would have watched the Super Bowl together), and 2 years after that I was watching them for a 4th time in the big game, though this was a 31 – 25 loss to the Packers (my dads original team choice, AND the game was played at Cowboys Stadium, home of Washington’s rivals…always so many little links keeping my dad connected to my NFL watching).
So after a 14 year wait to see Pittsburgh in a Super Bowl, then a 10 year wait, I’d now seen them in the big game another 3 times in a space of 5 years.
Roethlisberger had been my favourite player from his very 1st season…I’d sat through far too many uninspiring Pittsburgh QB’s over the years and here was one who was lighting up the field and the fanbase.
Speaking of fanbases (and harking back to when I mentioned about being online), I was part of many Steeler online forums, and in 2013 was one of the lucky 26 people picked to attend a Q&A with Big Ben himself in London…a 368 mile round trip from where I live in North Wales.
Hosted by Neil Reynolds of SKY Sports TV, the event kicked off by showing a highlight reel of Ben in action, followed by questions from some of those attending (I got to ask him how/if being a new father affected him as a player), before moving on to Ben explaining how plays are drawn up, then ending with all of us meeting him personally for a quick chat, a photo and an autograph. He even gave a fan the shirt off his back…quite literally the shirt off his back.
(That’s me holding my Terrible Towel right next to Ben)
So it’s 2013 and now 31 years of me being a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.
I’ve watched them in 4 Super Bowls (winning 2 of them), I’ve visited Three Rivers Stadium (which was demolished in 2001 and the Steelers now play at Heinz Field), I’ve met my favourite ever Steelers player, and while I greatly appreciate all of those things, the ultimate dream of seeing them play a home game and cheer them on surrounded by fellow Pittsburgh fans still seems so very far away.
I’ll jump back quickly to 2012 because that is the year I started podcasting. Myself and my good friend Thom recorded a weekly podcast called ‘80s Picturehouse’ which dealt with movies and music from (not surprisingly) the 1980s and we finished putting out shows in 2017.
I loved recording the interview shows with actors/directors/mucisians/etc so much that I started what I initially called my “solo album project” of 60MW in 2014 so that I could interview people from outside of 80’s entertainment…it has now blossomed into a multi-format show with a team of different hosts…including Thom where we record our newly branded “Decade of Decadence” shows and chat about 80’s movies and 80’s related news.
An interview show that I recorded in March 2018 for 60MW would culminate just 7 months later in my by now 36 year dream of seeing the Steelers play at home coming true.
Myself and Tina chatted with the lovely Lori Cardille, and during the conversation it came up that not only was her husband Jim a huge Steelers fan, he was also a long time season ticket holder going back to the days at Three Rivers.
To say that Lori and Jim are the most wonderful people you could ever imagine to meet is an understatement, and without going into detail, all I’m going to say is that thanks to their kindness, generosity and both having a beautiful soul, they not only offered me their home to stay at in Pittsburgh, Jim was going to take me to a game at Heinz Field!
I think I was in shock for a while, and I have goosebumps right now just thinking about it.
This was it, it was finally happening!
I planned a 10 day trip which would fit in 2 Steelers games; the 1st being a home game against the Cleveland Browns which Jim was very kindly taking me to, then I’d head off down to Baltimore to watch the Steelers away at the Ravens the following Sunday.
I wanted to keep something to mark this dream coming true…apart from all the memories I was going to make, photos I was going to take, and inevitably the Steelers merchandise I was going to buy. So I got a custom flag printed to take with me to the games and represent Wales at them.
Little was I to know when I ordered the flag how special it would become!
Remember those coincidences I’ve mentioned regarding my NFL watching and my dad since he passed away? Well here’s a hell of a one for you.
On Friday October 26th 2018 I began my journey from Wales to Pittsburgh. This involved (due to it being the cheapest for me), driving to Manchester, getting a flight from there to London, then London to Washington, before finally jumping on a plane from Washington to Pittsburgh.
I was one of the first to get onto the huge plane at London as I eagerly awaited my flight to Washington (yes, home of my dads team again). The aircraft began to fill with hundreds of passengers and like most people do, I began to wonder who was going to sit next to me (I was in the centre block of seats).
A guy and his wife approached me he and said hello and that his seat was next to mine. He took off his coat…and I got as close to fainting as you can possibly get without passing out. Under his coat he was wearing a t-shirt about pancreatitis!
We sat and chatted the entire flight. It turned out that he was a pancreatitis survivor and got as close to death as you can with it as his organs were shutting down too. He was flying to Washington to do a charity fundraising run for it…I’m sure that my dad was stood in the aisle next to me smiling during that flight as myself and this stranger swapped stories.
My dad stayed with me at Washington airport too, as I took a wrong turn while trying to find my connecting flight to Pittsburgh and ended up at the wrong end of the departure gates…the end where I passed a framed jersey of John Riggins…my dads favourite ever Washington player.
Arriving in Pittsburgh I was met with a statue of Franco Harris. I was so excited that I just had to take a photo…not knowing that he would appear before me again just a couple of days later.
Never having met Jim or Lori before I was of course a bit nervous. I shouldn’t have been though as it instantly felt like we’d all known each other years. Better friends to have I cannot ask.
My 1st morning in Pittsburgh was unforgettable for all the wrong reasons. Just up the road from us was the Tree of Life synagogue, and reports of a shooting were all over the news, as well as telling everyone to stay in their homes as it was an active shooter situation.
Lori and I visited outside the Synagogue a couple of days later to pay our respects to the victims and their families. It was a very emotional experience that I’ll never forget.
Saturday afternoon began by Jim taking me into the city and showing me everywhere that I could buy Steelers merchandise. Suffice it to say that I bought as much as I thought I could get away with without going over the weight limit for my luggage going home.
This was followed by a visit to Primanti Bros and having one of their world famous sandwiches…it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The culinary delights didn’t stop there though, as when we got back home Lori surprised me with a special cookie she’d had made, and not only did it look great, it tasted great too.
Then it was Sunday October 28th…game day.
Jim drove us down to Pittsburgh, parked near Heinz Field, and we walked towards my dream.
As you now know, this was a 36 year old dream by then, and dreams are very nice to have. This dream though was about to become INCREDIBLE.
Jim went to a ticket booth while I stood and looked around in awe…at the stadium…at the fans…at the tailgating. Then Jim was in front of me holding 2 things out in his hand for me.
One was the ticket to the game, while the other was a pre-game pass to go out onto the field!
I teared up and could barely speak. All I could do was hug him and croak out a barely audible “thank you”.
We both made our way out onto Heinz Field itself and I watched as the players came onto it to warm up. JuJu Smith Schuster and T.J. Watt giving me a high five as they passed me.
Jim’s seats are the best in the house, perfectly positioned in height and right on the 50 yard line. I can’t even begin to put into words what this was like for me. Hopefully by now you’ve read through everything that has led to this moment, and here I am…in Heinz Field (after being ON it!), watching the Steelers play, with the added bonus of sharing that moment with a fellow Steelers fanatic and the man who made it possible.
Part way through the 1st half Jim said “have a look behind you”, and there just a few rows away was Franco Harris. Not the statue this time, but the real NFL Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Steelers legendary running back.
Good this day get any better!?
Yes it could.
Jim and I grabbed a drink at half time (I paid extra for a big Steelers plastic cup which comes out on game day here in Wales when I watch them on Gamepass) and as there was still some time left before the 2nd half began when we got back to our seats, I decided to say a quick hello to Franco…when was I ever going to get the opportunity to do THAT again!?
A big guy (obviously with Franco) stopped me as I got closer and I explained that I only wanted to say a quick hello to Franco as I was from Wales and would never get the opportunity again. The guy told me to wait a second and he went over to Franco and said something to him.
“Franco would love to meet you” he said when he returned to where I was waiting and waved me through to the Steelers icon.
I had a lovely chat with Franco (who said he’d never met anyone from Wales before) and not only did he pose for a photo with me (taken by the guy who originally stopped me), but he also signed my flag that I had with me.
I’m here at Heinz Field, I’ve been ON Heinz Field, I’ve had high fives from JuJu and T.J., I’ve met Franco Harris, and to top it all off…THE STEELERS WON.
A 33 – 18 win was the most perfect end to this 36 year dream that exceeded all of my most wildest expectations, thanks to Jim and Lori being the kindest and most wonderful people to someone who they barely knew, but who now I’m eternally grateful to call very good friends…never a Steelers game goes by without Jim and myself swapping WhatsApp messages.
I even got to see Big Ben throw 2 touchdowns in a divisional game victory…perfect.
The trip hadn’t ended though and the following Sunday morning I awoke in Baltimore and put on the TV…NFL Network of course.
There before me on the screen, reporting outside M&T Bank Stadium (which was just a 15 minute walk from where I was staying) was yet another Steelers legend…Rod Woodson.
To hell with breakfast, I immediately got dressed and walked across to the stadium in the hope of seeing Rod.
Well, not only did I get to see him, I got to meet him, have a chat and a photo with him, get my flag signed by him (now signed by TWO Steelers Hall of Fame players!) AND I was mentioned on NFL Gameday Morning…the presenters saw my flag and came over for a chat. They loved my story so much that they said they were going to mention it the next time they went live.
I quickly phoned Tina back in Wales and told her my Gamepass login details and to get NFL Gameday Morning on the TV ASAP, as not only was I going to be in shot, but I was also going to be mentioned on it as well.
She videoed it as she was watching.
I was sat in amongst Ravens fans…deadly rivals of the Steelers. I didn’t know what to expect but had read that it could be an unpleasant experience to be there as an away team fan, especially as a Steelers fan.
I think my Wales flag and accent got me a pass from any divisional rivalry hatred, as everyone I talked too was really nice…even when I cheered on the Steelers in a 23 – 16 victory (including seeing Ben throw another 2 touchdowns).
Then it was off to Washington on the Monday, before the long journey home on the Tuesday.
If you’ve made it all this way until the very end, then thank you. I hope that reading about my dream coming true (despite not everything always going smoothly), will give you hope that whatever your dream might be, it may one day come to reality as well.
I hope to watch the Steelers “in the flesh” again in the not too distant future. Ben won’t be there this time, and fingers crossed the Steelers can find a new franchise QB before too long (though after watching them for 40 years now and seeing some of the QB’s they’ve had, I’m fully prepared for a long wait if needed), but no matter who is playing for them, I’ll be cheering loudly here in Wales, surrounded by things in my little podcasting room that I look at every day with a big smile on my face, and which constantly remind me that dreams CAN come true.