I am adding this pre paragraph post game: Wrote this before the game but as chagrined and devastated as I am by the way this game played out in the last 24 seconds – I still love these guys. Bless them and their big ol” football guy hearts.
So here we sit a mere two hours from the start of the Super Bowl. Silly as it is, I am nervous and excited and proudly wearing my Seahawk shirt (stolen from my son’s drawer). I have followed sports my entire life thanks to the influence of four brothers – in particular the two who were closest in age to myself. They spent entire car trips tutoring me in the names of Pro Franchises and their nicknames and their starting quarterbacks. Those names may no longer be current – but the interest in competitive
sports was sparked and thus began a lifelong love for watching and participating in sports of nearly any kind. Being the kind of brothers that they were, they also spent many patient hours tutoring me in the mechanics of how to throw a football and baseball and patiently explained the rules of games as we watched them on our little black and white TV with the rabbit ears. If memory serves me correctly, as the youngest I believe I was also ordered to be the person who held those rabbit ears at various angles for hours on end to ensure we could have continued coverage of televised games, but the thrill of being included in my older brothers activities seemed to be payment enough for cramped arm muscles at the time.
I will admit that I have been “Fair Weather Fan” of the Seattle Seahawks. But really? Who cares? Aren’t we allowed to jump on the bandwagon and run amok and immerse ourselves in the fun? It is not like I have been unaware of them over the years. My oldest prodigal son has been reading the sports page since he was four and quoting statistics and names at me so I have kept abreast of trades and options and players on the Seahawks and Mariners. Even on the day when my Mommy instincts were to run from the room screaming “I don’t care about Jay Buhner’s batting average! Stop the madness!” I would smile and nod and pretend interest because it was so important to him. At a certain age he finally noticed my glazed look and waited until his Dad got home to discuss these world changing events and I actually missed those conversations.
But I digress. Today is all about the Seahawks. Seattle is swept up in a fit of green and blue madness and it could not be more fun! My crafty friends have delivered customized dog scarfs for the neighborhood canines to proudly flaunt, fingernails are being painted in a myriad of blue and green and custom designs, and downtown lights have become custom green and blue with 12th man flags and signs everywhere. My brother reported that at Costco yesterday someone started the familiar “Sea” “Hawk” chant and soon the entire populace of the store had picked up the chant and it echoed around the entire store! My sister reported that on a flight into Seattle the flight attendants started the chant and she almost (almost) felt sorry for the persons on the plane who weren’t from Seattle. One of the bands at our high school jazz event last night dressed entirely in Seahawks attire and one cannot walk forty feet in public without seeing at least five people dressed in trademark blue and green apparel.
How can you not get caught up in the fun?
Which is the question I wanted to ask the lady at the gym on Thursday.
My Thursday cycling class is taught by a Seahawk maniac. She loves her team and makes no effort to conceal her pure adoration of their gamesmanship. She dresses in blue and green, dresses her cat in blue and green, decorates her apartment in blue and green – she may even sweat blue and green. She yells at us to go “Beast Mode” in class, has certain moves that she has named after her favorite players and admits to feeling a bit creepy that she thinks Russell Wilson is hot even though she’s thirty years older than him. But she is fun and sincere in her excitement over this football team and 90% of her class has dressed in Seahawks gear for the last several weeks. Again I ask, “How can you not get caught up in the fun?”
The answer to that question would be “I guess if you are the snotty brunette at the gym with the superior attitude.”
I overheard a conversation at the gym last Thursday as we were leaving class in a pile of laughter and sweaty blue and green clothing and yelling “Go Hawks!” to one another that had me shaking my ponytail in frustration.
One perfectly made up woman to another “I am so sick of this whole Seahawk thing. It’s just a bunch of dumb jocks running around trying to hurt each other. I won’t allow it in my house. My children are not going to be raised witnessing that kind of brutality.”
I stopped dead in my tracks and whipped my head around to see if she was joking. Nope. Miss Too Much Makeup At The Gym was pursing her molten red lipsticked mouth and shaking her hair sprayed head as if she were being interviewed for Fox News.
I stood there mouth agape and nearly laughed out loud. Really? I gave her a raised eyebrow “What the F look” but she was too busy being righteous to notice so I dismissed her and continued on my way in my sweat soaked Seahawk t-shirt and headband, but the whole scene has been niggling at my consciousness for three days now. I’m not one to pick a fight in public (I do not need my family commenting about this. Principled indignation and sticking up for one’s self can be completely necessary sometimes.) Needless to say – I am now ready to formally reply to this statement.
Dear Uptight Lady At My Gym,
I am so sorry to hear you criticize the inclusive fun and joy that the amazing Seattle Seahawks have brought to our town. It is too bad that you feel so moralistic and justified in your condemnation of persons whom you do not know personally but refer to as “dumb jocks” because if you would bother to read or watch any of the commentary about these players you would understand that most of them are intelligent, generous and amazing human beings who would be fabulous role models for your children.
If you were to look away from your moral high ground, you might see that Marshawn Lynch, aka “Beast Mode” our infamous running back known for his ability to consistently move the ball up a virtually impossible field of play, eat Skittles and avoid the press, could teach your children a variety of life skills. This is a guy who grew up in the slums but didn’t succumb to the gangs, drugs and violence. He found a passion, went to college, graduated with a 3.2, saw a vision of a better future and did not look back. Sure he’s made mistakes along the way, but he has learned from them and remained absolutely true to his own ideals. He has started a foundation which helps kids from his ghetto neighborhood value education, learn to write a resume, learn to take responsibility for their actions and help them realize a different expectation of their lives. He brings underprivileged kids to Seahawks headquarters, teaches free football camps to low income kids and is generous with his wealth and time. Maybe you could teach your kids that his “not talking to the media” is a quiet statement about how ridiculous the media and the moneyed are hyping up the non-important aspects of his job and that his silence is more powerful than words.
Maybe you could talk to them about Richard Sherman, our fast talking cornerback, born and raised in Compton – the scariest part of L.A. Smart as a whip he knew he needed a vehicle to get out of Compton and decided to use both his intellect and his athletic prowess to achieve that goal. He graduated with honors from high school got a scholarship to Stanford, no less, and proceeded to not only own the football field there but graduate from Stanford with a degree in communications. He’s known to be brash and vocal and talk trash. You know what else? He’s known to be a team leader, a nice guy, a generous soul and spends much of his off field time with his foundation that serves children who need help. He is the teammate that knows how to build confidence among his fellow players, rally enthusiasm, establish goals and keep everyone on point: traits that everyone could use in any job in the world.
We could talk about Russell Wilson – who was supposedly not “pro material.” From him your children could learn class, dignity and humility. This classy young man believed in his ability and shows a self-discipline and work ethic that brought him from the 12th round draft pick to the Super Bowl in just three years. Despite his cataclysmic rise to fame he spends every Tuesday playing games with the kids at Children’s Hospital in Seattle and quietly leads a life which included a trip to University Church with a bunch of college students following his amazing comeback during the NFC Championship game. (not a publicized fact by the way – my friend’s daughter was there. He doesn’t share these moments with the media.) He studies the game with a scientific intellect and is humble about his abilities and generous to praise those around him which have developed his ability to be a beloved team leader.
I’m not saying the entire team is made up of rocket scientists, and I am not denying that football can be pretty rough and that perhaps more should be done to keep players from injury – but if you would allow a minute to get over yourself – you might see that this is a group of kids who are doing what they love and that their fun has united our region and brought us all together in a good way. After mudslides, fires and school shootings this past year – isn’t it fantastic that we get to celebrate the joy with this team?
The Sweaty Lady In The Seahawks Shirt
- Go Hawks. Thank you for your moral victories, your innate goodness and pure joy in what you do.
PPS – I could go on about Pete Carroll, Earl Thomas, Doug Baldwin, Bam Bam Cam and the rest of our world class team – but you know what? I have a game to watch!