Special teamer Charlie Rogers exploited the layout of the stadium to promote himself, create energy, or make himself smile. Why couldn’t I use it to verbally carve the opposing players? Mostly this occurred during pre-game warm-ups; you could get within twenty feet of the players, even less if you really doubled over the rail. Factor that in with a half-empty stadium, and you KNOW they’ll hear you. Magnificent!
Everyone had a different style. I usually resorted to the standard digs on their alma mater, maybe an embarrassing moment in their career. I’d ask a lineman if he’d hold me like a baby, remind a lineman that field turf meant “not edible”, ask a lineman to hold Flutie like a baby, etc.
One particular incident that sticks out to me occurred on September 23, 2001, when the Eagles were warming-up in preparation for the undeniably demoralizing, systematic, thrashing they unleashed that day.
A.J. Feeley, then a rookie Eagles QB fresh from the University of Oregon, appeared an intriguing target. It so happened that the University of Oregon was shamefully marketing their then QB Joey Harrington, in hopes he’d garner consideration for the Heisman Award. That really didn’t seem fair to me. Why didn’t they do that for Feeley? In hindsight, he’s a better NFL player, anyway. It wasn’t right.
So I questioned Mr. Feeley about it, yelling out such obvious questions as, “What does Joey have that you don’t”, “What really goes on between Phil Knight and Joey Harrington”, “He gets a billboard in NYC, and you get nothing…what?”
All of which is offensive, strange, and horrific, done only to appease my primitive and immature humor. But you know what? A.J. and I thought it was funny, and that laugh couldn’t have happened anywhere else.
The 2001 Raider game is another one etched in all diehards’ minds. It was our first peek into what until then had looked like a bleak future. Shaun Alexander treated the Raiders defense like a Bakersfield chimp…literally tearing them apart. The man who had been shouldering misguided and ignorant blame by some faithful, Matt Hasselbeck, showed us why Holmgren had plucked him from Green Bay.
The fact I was eyewitness to that, after suffering a year and a half of miserable weather, without the comfort of a winning team, armed with only the wit and humor of ACTUAL FANS around me is where I get my arrogant since of entitlement.
There are other games that stand out. Like the Colts game, when we all got to see why Mike Holmgren drafted Brock Huard. For a half, Brock was brilliant, enabling Mike to look the genius we had only heard of. Only for Mike and all of us to find out a few weeks later, Brock’s built identically to Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Unbreakable.
Or, there’s the time in 2000 when NFL statisticians missed Mike Anderson’s 472 rushing yards against the Hawks. Somehow, they only credited him with 195 yards… must’ve been hard to see through the rain.
In total, there were 16 regular season games at Husky Stadium, some more memorable than others. The less memorable games have been replaced with narcotic-related non-functioning brain tissue, or memories of the witty, cartoonish, creepy, lovable, odd cast of miscreants that also called those east bleachers home for two years.
Shamefully, close to all of the individuals who contributed to the personality of those bleachers have since melded into one collective entity in my mind. But like anything else, there’s always going to be specifics that are just to precious to forget.
There’s everyone’s favorite make-up and skirt-wearing crew that, unfortunately for them, sat at the bottom of the bleachers. While now they’re marveled at for being hardcore over their costumes by some of the newer fans, in Husky Stadium, no one was impressed. We had been fans for a long time, so the only thing the mugging and cheerleading routine got from us was a “turn-around”.
There’s the guy whose job was to hold the cable for whatever cameraman was filming the game. Oddly enough, he never appreciated us singing “Real American Hero...Mr. Camera Cable Holder”, to the tune of the Budweiser commercials in that same vein.
As was known to happen a time or two, I was misunderstood or judged a bit harshly by the security working that section. They were making it no secret that I was being watched. Of course, I’d antagonize the situation by reminding them I wasn’t the only fan in attendance, or maybe they should check out a play or two.
All of that tension peaked after a little girl was struck in the head with a football, thrown errantly from my general vicinity. The security director was beaming ear to ear when he told me, “Admit you did it...you know we have tape of it”…”they’re reviewing it now—lets avoid the charges”. To which I replied simply, “Once you review the tape and see that I didn’t do it, I want a public apology down below…in front of everyone”. He agreed and gave me that apology. After that, it became a joke that no one would ever let him live down. He also took me off whatever watch-list I was on; understanding that I was just drunk, immature, and loud…nothing else.
Undeniably, the most memorable of any of the fans, ever encountered, are actually two people making up one superfan. The combining of their personas speaks to them being identical twins, their McKenzie brother-type bond, and a consistently maintained state of drunkenness requiring both minds to fulfill the simplest of tasks. Picture a 22-year-old, short, portly, consistently sloppily drunk, Ted DiBiase (of 1980s WWE fame) suffering the effects of alcohol poisoning, tragically contracted at the age of seventeen. To me, and most people in those bleachers they became simply, “Darryl & Darryl”.
Regardless of reasoning, their stumbling arrival always coerced a lighthearted murmur from us in the stands. Being the celebrities they knew they were, they anticipated the buzz, recognizing the admiration with the raising and holding of their arms until they arrived at their seats. Throughout any game you’d hear random shouts, “Darryl & Darryl” which always got a return gesture; be it an inaudible groan or lifting of the Monarch-spiked cola. The closer the game, the less shouts they’d receive; a blowout usually dictated thirty “Darryl & Darryl” shouts per hour. If at anytime you noticed one going to the restroom, concessions, or smoking without the other, you wanted to pay attention. There’s was nothing quite like the hug those two would share every time the other would return from his 10 minute trip to concessions.
Some may view the above description of this fan as mean or arrogant. Most of the time you’d be correct, I’m those things and much more, but not in this instance. The mental picture in mind of those two always makes me laugh and after that 2001 season I routinely ask fellow Hawk fans if they’d seen them, always hearing “no”. There were rumors, some unsubstantiated sightings, plaster footprint moldings, but no serious leads.
And then, in section 300 last season, I picked up a familiar yet unrecognizable electricity from the fans surrounding me. I immediately turned my attention the same direction as the others and once again saw those four drunken and unmistakable arms in the air. My reactionary shouting of “Darryl & Darryl” garnered me only looks of confusion.
To that section, those two were drunken nuisances FINALLY banished from their section after numerous complaints. To me, they were “Darryl & Darryl”, the intoxicated embodiment of a time when it may’ve been more about the Hawks and less about winning.
I thought about explaining the “Darryl & Darryl” phenomenon to them, but looking at their faces I soon realized that few, if any, ever attended any of the no chance in winning, wet, windy, cold, miserable Husky Stadium games. What would be the point?
Time has removed most of the individualized personalities contributing to those Sundays being special. And most likely, time’s affected my ability to reflect and portray with absolute accuracy. I’m sure not all, or even the majority of, those fans appreciated or condoned the manner in which I expressed my passion for the Hawks. You must also account for an ego’s ability to filter and distort memories, slanting things favorably.
Even with all that, there was something different and special about those two years, that’s undeniable. To this day, if I see someone walking around Qwest or anywhere wearing the ghetto BECU, freebee, plastic ponchos handed out at Husky Stadium, I cant help but acknowledge their presence and show respect. Even if it’s through nothing more than a sudden lift of my head…they’ve earned at least that much. It’s an unexplainable feeling, that odd bond that demands respect from a someone who rarely gives it. There’s one last tidbit, that to me, explains it better than I ever could.
One of the many immature, stupid, and random things I’d blurt out once, and only once, at a home game is “there’s a secret market out there……a secret market for Zorn Porn”.
It was done in a creepy voice, had no relation to the game, no one thought it was funny or ever acknowledged it…it’s just one of the many odd things I do. It didn’t even relate to his hiring as QB coach…I honestly don’t remember when or how it started.
In the Hawks’ 2001 home opener against the Eagles, about midway through the first half, I blurted out that random Zorn line. Upon hearing it, one of the quieter and more conservative guys in our area, one who without question was annoyed with me the entire year before, turned around and said, “Thanks, I’ve been waiting nine months to hear that”.
After that, we turned our eyes to the game.
Known very well to friend and foe as "pehawk" in our fan forums, Ryan Davis will be providing a fresh voice on the Seahawks, Seattle sports in general, and life in a nutshell. Feel free to send your thoughts, recriminations and mule sniffs to Ryan here.