A Christmas Story

"Fans often respond like children. The massive mood swings that accompany each win or loss have been even more dramatic this season. So much was expected and dreamt of, and disappointments have been so much harder to endure."

With apologies to Jean Shepard

The 2004 season has been a trial for Seahawks fans everywhere. At times, it seemed just possible that our dreams of playoff glory would come true. At other times, it seemed like the entire season lay torn and tattered at our feet like so much brightly colored Christmas wrap, while we stood, like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, wearing the most embarrassing-looking bunny rabbit sleeper ever gifted by a clueless distant aunt.

All we wanted for Christmas was a division championship and a shot at the playoffs. As of this morning, that dream gift still lies hidden, like Ralphie’s Red Ryder 200 shot carbine-style range model air rifle. Will it actually be brought out from its hiding place behind Father’s desk? Or will it remain hidden and unopened while we hear the dreaded “Maybe next year” promise that never seems to come true?

Fans often respond like children. The massive mood swings that accompany each win or loss have been even more dramatic this season. So much was expected and dreamt of, and disappointments have been so much harder to endure. Funny, but in most things people mature and come to realize that things are seldom as bad or as good as they seem.

In sports, supposedly adult fans vent their frustrations in immediate and visceral ways.

Give fans a three-game winning streak and they wrap themselves in visions of the accolades of a teacher and class over an essay of surpassing eloquence.

Give them a three game losing streak and they feel alone and deserted by their friends, a lonely child with his tongue frozen firmly to a flag pole, awaiting rescue by the fire department and police.

A tough road win, and all is right with the world. We can read our Sunday paper, smell the coffee brewing in the kitchen intermixed with the aroma of roasting turkey and dream of the coming feast.

A home loss feels like the Bumpkus’s dogs have ransacked the kitchen and devoured the Christmas turkey.

There seems to be no middle ground for football fans, especially Seahawks fans.

So what will it be this day after Christmas?

Will we all sit down to a feast, after a win locks down a playoff berth for our beloved Seahawks?

Or perhaps we’ll dine in some empty downtown chop-house with Oriental waiters singing “Deck the hawrs with bawrs of hawr-ry!”

Meanwhile, with the fans trying to watch The Christmas Story, complete with happy ending, the team has served up a Twilight Zone™ marathon, complete with strange plot twists and macabre ironies. Fans want to feast and celebrate, but the Seahawks version of To Serve Man (the Fans) is a cookbook, and the fans’ hopes and dreams are on the menu.

Today, a very dangerous Arizona team comes to town, holding faint hopes that if they win out and get tons of help from around the league they still might win the NFC West division championship. Obviously, Seattle cannot let that happen. At their last meeting, the Cardinals played the part of Farkus, the yellow-toothed bully. Today, we need to poke that bully in the nose, and chase him out of our house bloodied and humiliated.

It’s the right thing to do.

The Seahawks posted a fairly respectable 4-4 record on the road this year, a solid improvement over last year’s 2-6 result.

But they have dropped 3 home games already this season, games they probably should have won handily. Gone is the euphoria of last season’s unblemished home record, and with it the confidence of playing at home, and a lot of the support from previously rabid fans. There has even been a willingness to boo the team when they make dumb mistakes or play poorly.

Hopefully, the team will not give the fans reason to boo today.

Here’s to the team not letting the Bumpkus’s dogs into the house to purloin our Christmas turkey, so we can enjoy a playoff feast.

Cheers, and remember that immortal line from Jimmy Buffet, “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.”

I hope every Seahawk fan had a fun and fulfilling Christmas this year.

Best wishes.

Seahawks 30
Cardinals 20

Steve Utz writes a column for Seahawks.NET every Sunday. Send your feedback to Steve at wisecoyote1@cox.net.


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