Dr. Priya Narasimhan, the Steelers fan who may hurt her team

Women who watch sports have a special place in my heart, even if they watch it just to check out Priya
David Beckham's butt. I'm particularly enchanted with Dr. Priya Narasimhan — and not just because, like me, she was born in Tamil Nadu, India, and grew up in Ndola, Zambia. A computer engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Narasimhan is a football fan who is trying to use technology to improve the sport. Yes, she's developing a way for a referee or other official to use a remote control to shut Terrell Owens' mouth.

Actually, her technology would be more useful than even that. It would be able to tell, for example, whether the Pittsburgh Steelers really scored the winning touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday or whether the referee needs a new prescription for his contacts. Of course, Narasimhan may not want the Steelers to be deprived of any touchdowns.

… Dr. Narasimhan, who grew up in India and Africa, found herself
becoming a rabid Steelers fan after she moved to Pittsburgh seven years

"When I moved here, I loved the people and their energy, and then I
fell in love with football and I just started watching the Steelers and
now, you can't get me out of the home on Sundays."

Impassioned as she was, she also found herself "throwing things at
the TV many times when calls didn't go my way," and she began to wonder
whether the wireless technology she was familiar with could help
resolve some of those disputed decisions, as a further iteration of
instant replay. [Link]

I wish the technology had been available on the evening of Feb. 5, 2006, when I found myself throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the TV. I was watching my favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks, play in the Super Bowl (finally) and face a few controversial calls, which contributed to their loss to the … ahem … Pittsburgh Steelers.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.


  1. I liked your India’s 9/11 article. I guess the sarcasm is lost on America anyway.
    While readin about Priya and her pittsburg connexion, i recalled an anecdote. apocryphally attributed to GB shaw (or was it Bertrand Russel)
    It so happened that Shaw was in Pittsburg as chief guest of something or the other. The host gave a speech about him and his connection with Johns Hopkins univ… but pronounced it, erroneously, just like the majority, as John Hopkins (s missing in Johns)…
    Shaw was peeved… so when his turn came, he started his speech by thanking the people of pittburg, how nice pittburg was, the climate of pittburg, the economic development of pittburg…
    Anyway, have a look at my latest post (and ask Malathi to read it too; she’d enjoy it; BTW tell her i am awaiting her comments abt ‘The White Tiger’)

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