At this point it had been months of hand shaking and baby kissing and sometimes baby shaking and hand kissing, but months can make even the most mundane activity a blur. The last 48 hours I had slept a total of three and none of those were in a row. I was filled with energy and a smile that stretched from ear to ear, quite possibly drunk on a lack of sleep, or just happy to be coming to an end of my adventure. For the last 10 hours the hour by hour polls had shown me pulling away and there seemed to be little doubt from the professionals who make their living predicting such things that I was in for the nations biggest upset.
An audience had filled the A/E Performance center near the Allegheny River and for at least a couple of hours they had been happily waiting, drinking drinks and chatting as if the Steelers had announced the signing of a particularly promising running back. While my campaign had come together on more of a whim than any sort of serious plan, it would have seemed a stroke of genius to at least have thought to have someone introduce me on this night, but instead, a podium stood alone on the center of the stage and when the returns began to be announced on a large screen TV behind the stage soon after eight PM, it became clear this would not be a long night. As the numbers appeared a slow murmur grew to a loud noise and soon people were clapping and chanting. In Pittsburgh a winner is a winner and people love their winners in the city with three rivers.
At the first commercial I walked to the lonely podium and because there had been no announcement or light change or anything formal, for a few seconds no one seemed to notice, so I stood there and watched the crowd. It was a beautiful moment, a once in a lifetime moment. There were maybe a thousand people spread out in front of me, and slowly they began to turn towards the stage and as their focus and attention became one, they changed and clapped and screamed and applauded. At first I was just silently watching and as the roar continued to grow I was overwhelmed. I could feel myself getting surprisingly emotional and without even thinking about it, both hands shot up to the air, as if a touchdown had just been scored and the crowd literally lost their shit.
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