The stars around my home have been phenomenal lately thanks to a total absence of clouds these past several days. The constellations of Orion and Pleiades, two of my favorite winter formations, hang motionless on a black canvas which possesses an enormity that is impossible to grasp.
As I let my dog Bella out for her final bathroom adventure in our back yard, I spotted a very bright looking object to the Northeast. Unlike other stars, this one had multiple colors that seemed to swirl around it. Fascinated, I grabbed my recently acquired telescope I received for Christmas (“Thanks Ma!”), positioned it upon this strange reddish-orange object and attempted a much closer view.
What I saw astonished me. In the telescope, it appeared to be this swirling energy with points about it, like a diamond spinning on its own axis with a brilliant light source giving off all the colors of the rainbow. It was so incredible looking, it was truly difficult to stop looking at it.
But I had to. There was no way I was going to be the only one to see this “UFO” so I ran upstairs and asked my wife (who had been sleeping for the past three hours) to come take a look at this thing. She shuffled downstairs, cursing under her breath no doubt, took a look, said something about how she thought she saw something weird in the sky on her way home from work too that she forgot to tell me about, and shuffled back off to bed.
I watched this amazing energy-thing for another 20 minutes or so, jotted down some triangulation to see if this was indeed a well-known celestial object my Starry Night software (charts the stars, planets and other objects in the night sky year-round) could recognize, and soon made it upstairs to see what I could find.
I opened up the program, turned the positioning to the Northeast, found my triangulated star formations, and right where this UFO should be – was the star Arcturus.
It was “only” a star.
Alas, this particular UFO sighting had a conventional and rational explanation. Unlike others in my life that have clearly defied conventional and rational explanation, it was the perfect underscore to the notion that a true UFO sighting is indeed the rarest of affairs. A truly special event that generally happens years apart from each other.
You know, like a Seahawks playoff game at home.
This is why I’m completely speechless that this game - as I write these words - is in danger of an NFL-mandated blackout. Although over 90 percent of the tickets for this game have sold, it’s that final 10 percent that can create a television blackout for Seattle and all her surrounding cities and towns.
Oh sure, I’ve heard the various reasons (The game’s very existence wasn’t known until the Seahawks stopped Warrick Dunn 1 yard short of a 2-point conversion to seal the victory and a division championship), but that doesn’t matter to me, and misses the point.
To be honest, I’ve just been embarrassed by it. According to one Seahawk at least, I’m not alone in my sentiments.
"This is a huge thing”, quarterback Trent Dilfer said on Wednesday. “I mean, the biggest sport in the world right now. This city should be very proud to be hosting a game. It's embarrassing, to be honest."
Proud indeed. Where Seattle’s “Do No Wrong” team, the Mariners, stank and sank like Pig Pen on the Titanic in 2004, I was certain the city would embrace the Seahawks and absolutely swoon over a playoff home game.
However, that touches on a painful reality that we Seahawk diehard fans need to admit to:
Seattle just isn’t a football-mad town anymore.
Shaun Alexander, who has created some national headlines of his own in the sports world this week for speaking his mind, continues to the trend when it comes to this city and its – ahem - love for the Seahawks.
“People tell me this is a football town. But if you have to keep insisting that it is, well.... At Boone County High in Kentucky we would get more than 10,000 people a week. People would come from out of state to watch us play. Tailgating started at four o'clock for a Friday night game. My sophomore year at Alabama, we were 4-7, on probation, and the stadium was packed. When you say 'football town,' that's what I compare it to.”
Point well taken, Shaun.
It’s just that I thought a home playoff game, something that is not easy to achieve in the NFL - just ask the other 20 teams sitting at home for the winter, and the four out of 12 teams in the playoffs that have to hit the road - would start the fire necessary to gain the feeling and perspective that this isn’t just another home game.
It behooves me to mention one obvious point of contention. Washington State, especially Western Washington, has become home to hundreds of thousands of transplants from other states. It’s not just their families they bring with them, but their loyalties to their “home teams” as well.
Yet, I wish this city would rise above the apathy and feel what I feel when something rare and wonderful graces their field-of-view. Cherish it. Be a part of the experience. After all, a Seahawks playoff game at home – like a UFO zipping across the sky – isn’t something that comes around every day.
Or every year, for that matter.
Todd Breda is the Owner and Creative Director of Seahawks.Net. If you would like to e-mail Todd, send any and all love letters, hate mail, whimsical musings or stargazing software stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org.