Tag Archives: Ivan Cole

A Tribute to Ivan Cole

by Mike Silverstein

His name on Behind the Steel Curtain was Rick(VA), and he was a regular contributor. Mine was HomerJ, and so was I. We were both rock solid Steeler fans.

He was from the East End of Pittsburgh. And so was I.

We were both living in the DC area, and we decided to take in a Steeler game together at one of the many Steeler bars in the area. 

It turned out we grew up in the same general area at about the same time, that his brother was a classmate of mine, and many of his closest friends in the DC area were high school friends and classmates of mine. Some of us had been friends since grade school. There was a strong connection.

Ivan and I grew up during the time of the great Civil Rights movement, when there was so much hope. Ivan, the introspective football player, navigating his way through high school and college as a black kid, seeking new opportunities. For me, the world brought opportunities my parents never had. Both of us had done relatively well professionally, 

And now, forty-some years later, we were able to reflect on our lives – the parallels and the differences, how race, class, and so many other factors came into play. And, from day one, we felt comfortable talking about these things with a liberating sense of honesty.

Ours was a deep and abiding friendship, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were the river that ran through it. Read more

In Memorium

Like many of you reading this, I “met” Ivan Cole many years ago on Behind the Steel Curtain, first through his comments (always intelligent and to the point) and then through his articles. After a while I noticed when he published a new article that the topic was frequently something I had been mulling over in my mind for a possible article. Ivan had basically written what I would have, only better. I commented to this effect after it happened several times, and he was kind enough to note that he felt the same way about some of my pieces.

We continued to communicate through the medium of BTSC articles and comments until one summer Ivan, an ex-pat Pittsburgher, expressed an interest in driving up from Virginia and attending training camp. I invited him to stay with my husband and me. Although my husband is lamentably uninterested in the NFL, he is interested in people, and he was also curious to meet Ivan.

Ivan showed up at our house the afternoon before we were scheduled to go to camp. I’m guessing he was, like me, slightly apprehensive as to what he’d gotten himself into, but mostly was excited to finally meet in person. The rest is history. Ivan was a “brother from another mother,” as my kids would say. Read more