Given the demographics of Seahawks fans, it’s easy to project what you may have done to curb your waves of anguish. I’m sure some of you handled the immediate anguish by reaching for a bottle or substance. Others may have lashed out in violence, regardless of whether the target was germane or not. The wiser and less impulsive amongst us may have written e-mails, complained to NFL officials, or taken to defaming NFL refs on any message board upon which you were still allowed.
Personally, I grappled with the tide of anger, pain, regret, and remorse by doing some or all of the abovementioned daily. All of it culminated in a boarded-up, shut-off, and barricaded room, lined with urine-filled jars, with me naked and mumbling “bring in the milk…bring in the milk…bring in the milk”. The re-creation of Jerry Lundegaard's arrest and extraction scene from Fargo is the only reason I’m capable of scribing to you today.
This will be my last re-creation of that time, period, or despair, however. At some point, all of us need to move on, focus on the upcoming season, and choose to remember and not relive.
Our anatomies equip us with many ways to regurgitate and abandon such trauma in hopes of healing. Adhering true to my persona, I’m enlisting the most basic of all these methods: sharing it with another. Here’s my Super Bowl XL nightmare:
In June of 2005, I began the worldly debated and much publicized plotting of my relocation within the cozy confines of Sin City. What I failed to take into account during my planned move was my indentured servant status with whomever it is that controls karma. The Seattle Seahawks, the team I live and die with weekly, the team whose old likeness brandishes my right bicep, those lovable crusaders of mediocrity, the most frustrating team in the NFL, would finally make it to the Super Bowl. I would be absent for the Seahawks’, and Emerald City’s, finest hour.
Within the context of that planning, another underlying scheme was hatched; a mass pilgrimage of Seattle-born drunken, heathen miscreants to Sin City, roughly five weeks after my move, to view the Super Bowl. It was to be grand, atrocious, intoxicated, and beautifully dangerous.
What began as a miniaturized vision of Mardi Gras in my mind, quickly digressed into a quaint party of five over Super Bowl weekend. What finally arrived that Friday, February 3rd were the following: a longtime friend and diehard Hawks fan, a drunken Seahawk-mocking Cowboy fan, a younger brother who’d recently discovered the NFL, and a sarcastic NFL-indifferent identity-mocking friend and co-worker. Collectively, we reeked of a boy band that had stayed touring ten years too long and were angrily inebriated because of it.
To avoid offending wives, loved ones, Billy Graham, Tom Petty, or tipping-off the police, I’ll spare everyone my narrative of what transpired the first two days and nights. All I can or will tell you is that by the time Super Bowl Sunday Morning rolled around, all of us were in the possession of a rental car smelling of booze, Doritos, cat food, and pastrami. And the phrase “I bet we could fit two in there if we broke some legs” had been floated four times.
I began that Sunday morning as I did any Vegas Sunday involving houseguests… un-velcroing my head from the pillow, gathering my position and place, then sauntering to the living room to witness what positions the passed-out patrons had fell. Being that this Sunday was a Seahawks Sunday, I had another routine to obey. After we groggily showered, viciously abused one another on everything from ethnicity to follicle status, and partook in a few samplings of coffee, I began my Seahawks ritual.
I stepped into my closet adorning myself with a white undershirt to pull my customized #86 Hawks jersey loosely over somewhat sagged out designer jeans to agree with my white-boy thuggish exterior, and “cherryed” the whole ensemble with a solid black flat-billed Mariners cap – stylishly and intentionally left askew. I was now ready, ready for anything, a feeling all of us get…even in varying degrees on NFL Sundays. Describing the act, even now, offers a surge of adrenaline readying me to brashly cheer on the Hawks, volunteer in the Army, Marines, Coast Guard, or even Old Navy.
Now that I had my battle gear on and everyone else was ready in their own right, we ventured outside my apartment towards our destination, fit for our brand of debauchery – the casino across from my house, South Coast. We strolled parallel to each other as if we were re-creating the credits scene from Reservoir Dogs, the difference being our lack of prowess and irritable, hung-over dispositions.
The South Coast Casino is a grandiose monstrosity of a structure, sarcastically erected 5-7 miles away from all other big casinos. A casino that had soberly welcomed my presence, then drunkenly spit me out numerous times before. Once inside, I immediately noticed a haphazard collection of other NFL fans awaiting the ascent up the escalators to the much-publicized Super Bowl XL viewing party. We quickly assimilated in the rear of this formation, awaiting our release into the South Coasts’ ballyhooed upper convention center and ballroom corridor.
The line itself, as all things of that vein do, allowed me a captive and unwilling audience to annoy, irritate, and berate. Given the magnitude of what we were all about to participate in, my usually benign mutterings quickly turned into venomous verbal darts towards any and all Steelers fans. In that line, there were many references to the movie The Accused, The Deer Hunter, and jokes mocking the plague of obesity sweeping Pittsburgh and her suburbs. That lasted about 5-10 minutes before a cheaply suited official finally pulled back the velvet red rope, beginning our herded and escalated journey to the viewing rooms.
Atop the steps was an area whose spacious and hollow design seemed more fitting of an airport hanger than that of a Casino. Flanking us were entrances to variously-sized rooms with similar design, a large projection screen, super-sized miniature full service bars, and folding chairs encircling numerous top-shelf collapsible tables.
The first room we chose to nestle in was the largest of all the rooms. We quickly took to one of the remaining open tables and sent the lowest man on the totem pole, my brother, over to grab the first round of Red Bull and tequila or beer. Once settled with beverages comfortably in our hands, we scientifically surveyed the room for potential fodder victims and ease of viewing. Based on all of our prior experiences of NFL viewing or public intoxication, we soon realized that this room was too extensive for our purposes. So once our designated scout returned, we pushed on to a room more suitable to our collective needs.
The newly discovered room, the one we called home for the next 5-6 hours, was perfect with regards to fan mix, depth, and proximity to screen and beverages. The fan attendance was all Seahawks, with the exception of one sightless man who, from all appearances, rooted on the Steelers solely to garner indifferent attention. There was also a gathering of Mexican-Americans who had become Seahawk fans for a day via their allegiance to the Cincinnati Bengals.
As I’m prone to do, I quickly asserted myself as the vocal and imbalanced leader of the room with precise, cunning, and uncomfortably loud NFL-related tangents. Once that was established, all of us nuzzled into our chairs, sipping on the toddy of choice and good naturedly lampooning fellow patrons and each other, in order to pass the timeless pre-game festivities.
Right before kick-off, an intruder invaded our den, spewing odd and unwavering hatred for the Seahawks and love for the Steelers. Practically speaking, I’m sure the woman was 35, but her alcohol-weathered frame could easily have been mistaken for a menopausal 55. This was the type of woman who grew dependent on being the prettiest, drunkest, and easiest female in whichever rural logger bar she routinely frequented. A woman who refused to let go of dressing provocatively in the face of public decency standards and self-respect. Her shamefully exposed skim milk-colored stomach jiggled with every sloshed scamper forward, as if it were a loose-fitting fanny pack filled to capacity with oatmeal or bread pudding.
While the remainder of the room accepted her behavior by chuckling amongst themselves, I immediately went on the offensive, fulfilling my role as the hovels arrogantly anointed leader. Instructing the has-been barfly to return to her rightful home, a seedy, dank miner bar with at least one pinball machine. I barked out insensitive and vicious attacks on her physique, offering up the cash in my wallet to cover up the bread bag full of uncooked pizza dough she called her tummy. She heard, but paid no mind, to my obnoxious assaults; rather, coolly exiting to another room seconds before the initial ball was placed on the tee.
To this day, it’s far too painful to recount specific “what ifs”, “what the f&#ks?”, or “what are they looking at” plays from that game. Being forced to relive every one of those moments wouldn’t be healthy for me or anyone else, physically speaking. What I can tell you is after each one of those botched calls, dropped ball, or missed opportunity, the drunken Steelers fan woman would mosey in to relish our disappointment. Each time, she faced an environment less hospitable than the previous one; not only was she contending with my sharp tongue, but other, more docile fans, had taken my queue and unleashed their brand of defamations onto her. Perfect to my taste; the villagers were getting dangerously unruly and aggressive.
When it became obvious to all of us supporters that the stars had aligned against the Hawks and the outcome was a formality, I wisely and silently vacated the room walking isolated down the escalator, and outside through the glass doors. Once outside, I allowed my emotions to overtake my usually calculated persona. Bubbling out inaudible curses, punching and kicking an antagonistic garbage can, before finally crumpling to my knees in defeated pain.
In the midst of all those nonsensical actions, I soon realized that I had left my oversized, pompous, and pure money, Armani sunglasses at the table. With horrific visions of a Steelers fan wearing them playing in my mind, I rushed inside to retrieve this vitally pimpish item.
Once in, I gauged the final second had ticked off the SBXL clock by the swarm of people motionlessly traveling down the escalator. Once placed on the adjacent ascending lift towards my abandoned post, I noticed the familiar, condescending tone of the Steelers barfly mocking the futility of my beloved Seahawks and me. Given my circumstantial disposition, I immediately about-faced, walking down the upward elevator to meet that woman at the bottom. My hope was a physical confrontation, not with her, but the newly discovered schlep on her arm.
I met them at the mouth of the escalator, spewing out unholy and despicable narrations of this “woman”, hoping to coax ire from her husband or boyfriend. She listened and counter-punched every barb; while the intent of my confrontation, her rube man, remained silently meek. Deducing he wasn’t the type to defend his wife or girlfriend, I immediately began surveying his presentation for avenues of attack.
Given this man’s chosen attire, raising his temper would be easier than Lindsay Lohan at a cocaine party. “Nice moustache and hat, Brokeback” swiftly left my lips. He gratefully acknowledged the moustache “compliment” and stood confused by the term “Brokeback” before finally stumbling on his way. Of course, it all made sense; only a defeated, pathetically uneducated man would be married to a woman who appeared and acted like that.
In the end, Steelers fans are too stupid to digest the most fundamental of put-downs. My thirst for a quick-fix release of my SBXL affliction was denied me by their overall incompetence and lack of self-worth.
Hopefully, sharing this with you will finally release me of all that transpired that February 5th of 2006.
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.