Shut Up Before You Miss the Fun, Rube...

Unless the only Seahawks jersey in your possession, and/or the only one you have ever purchased, is an officially licensed SBXL "getup" – the date 1/2/2000 will forever stick in your mind. It was Mike Holmgren's first year at the Seahawks' coach, and through the first ten games of the season the mighty Seahawks were emerging as a Super Bowl contender.

In those ten games, the Hawks had accomplished feats unheard of, for over a decade.

A Seahawks QB was not only performing well, but was named as the “Offensive Player of the Month”. The NFL gods granted our sorry franchise a token Monday Night game that year. If that wasn’t enough, the Seahawks whooped up on that Monday, superior opponent for the entire nation to see. But more importantly, the Seahawks had defeated all of the usual AFC West bullies; the Raiders, the cap-manipulating Broncos, and even rarer the Chiefs, in Kansas City.

So there we all were, in unfamiliar territory as fans, supporting a team with a buzz and lofty playoff aspirations. The rarified, exuberance of 8-2 for a fan base all to accustomed to the inverse. And then, the Buccaneers strolled into town.

To say the game was a “beatdown”, isn’t doing Tony Dungy’s Buccaneers justice. The only comparison that rivals it in terms of severity and relentlessness would have to be the thrashing St. James Davis withstood, at the hands of several Bakersfield chimpanzees.

After Tampa Bay, all of us fans watched in horror as our team, a team that had finally achieved an aura of respectability suddenly began to blunder our playoff dreams of grandeur, down an 8-foot long Kingdome urinal.

The Seahawks were 9-6 heading into the final game of the season, against the New York Jets. All that was needed to secure the first post-season appearance in over a decade was; either a win against those Jets or a Chiefs home loss against the Raiders.

The final score that day was 19-9, in favor of the “J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!” It was domination from start to finish. A feeling of doom, regret, and sorrow consumed me, as I realized all hope was most certainly lost.

The Seahawks had squandered theirs and our chances of a division title, the post season, and more importantly the first home Seahawks playoff game I’d ever get to attend. My angst didn’t dissipate, as the Chiefs were in position to win the game against the Raiders. Taking away a division title from the team that had swept them, the Seahawks.

I could look up the specifics of that Oakland-Kansas City match-up, but I honestly don’t think it matters. All I can recall is that somehow, someway, the improbable occurred and the Raiders were given a chance to tie, and send the game into overtime.

As I’m prone to during stressed out moments, I’m found myself clutching an inanimate object. It’s as if I embody the spirit of Karl from Slingblade, who famously “just happened across” a hammer in his hand.

On that day it was a golf club – a putter to be exact (insert immature joke here). The only reason I noticed what it was, is that anytime I happen to be nervously clutching something while “Seahawks positives” are transpiring on the field, it remains within my grasp to milk its good luck voodoo.

With the putter securely in my hand, my eyes and emotions faceted and dependent on the television in front of me, my then girlfriend proceeded to walk into the apartment. She looked confused by my emotional, anticipatory stance and the golf club now perched above my head. If memory serves, it was Joe Nedney that kicked the winning field goal for the Raiders. Whoever it was, he allowed me one of the greatest weeks and days of my life.

As soon as it split the uprights, my confused girlfriend stood idle as I hugged, bounced, and shouted upon her. I couldn’t believe that finally the Seahawks, my Seahawks, we’re going into the playoffs and were actually going to host a game. After that uncomfortably odd outburst of emotion and the explanation of its cause, I called the Usual Suspects to gauge the attendance.

This was my first live playoff game, and the last game ever to be played in the Kingdome. Nothing was to be overlooked.

The band of misfits, hooligans, and my little brother arrived around the following Sunday, around 8:30 am. Once there we partook in a breakfast, which I’m 99.9% certain consisted of; over three pounds of various cured breakfast meats, two dozen scrambled eggs, a pound of cheddar, and of course molecularly unstable jello shooters…with cheap vodka being the lone binding liquid.

The girls had agreed to drive us to the game, insuring no one amongst got our first of many DWI’s (all people in my family are born with two, our birth certificates are punched).

Wanting to completely revel in the moment, the only logical route to take was 1st avenue from Queen Anne all the way down to Pioneer Square. Shouting and screaming out the window, completely out of my skull on bacon, jello, and adrenalin it didn’t take long before a couple co-workers recognized the gimmick, and intersected with the caravan and myself.

Once in the J & M, the craziness didn’t stop. Yes, we even somehow were able to slip my little brother into the mix, with a never to be revealed slight of body technique.

The bar was rowdy and full of fellow, longtime frustrated Hawks fans hopped up on well drinks and euphoria. The mood was that of a city celebrating it’s first Super Bowl championship, and not its first playoff game in over a decade.

There were women lifting up their shirts for my artist friend to doodle Seahawks “related” sketches upon their mid-drifts or unmentionable areas. The bar and square buzzed with the unique atmosphere only an inebriated mob with singular aspirations can offer.

My shouting and shrieks never subsided. They were coupled with jumps and twitches in the bar, and up the Kingdome corridors. As I “moonwalked” the pathway from the 200 to the 300 levels, I received laughs from my friends and horrifically amused scowls from the bystanders engulfing us.

Once inside, and kickoff under way, the game took the shape and form most knowledgeable fans expected.

Jon Kitna struggled. Charlie Rogers saved our hides. Trace Armstrong and Dan Marino played as if still in their prime. And yeah, all of us got in a fight as the final seconds ticked off the clock.

But, the game was secondary to the emotional ups and downs of the entire season. The fact I was there for the last game ever in the Kingdome, with it being a playoff game, is priceless. It’s not the end result that ever matters; it’s the route you take.

I think Mark Twain said it best when he said, “Everything human is pathetic. The secret source of Humor itself is not joy but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven”. Or, sometimes you can’t have your garlic fries and eat them too.

So shut up and enjoy the games, Rube. Especially, the game on the second week of January.

Wee! I’m the 12th man! Look at me! Yeah!

One of my many pet peeves is, and always will be, the “12th man” gimmick spoon-fed us fans consistently. It’s a personal thing that speaks to my rebellious nature, most likely deeply seeded in some odd insecurity, but it irks me nonetheless.

I’m not talking about the raising of the 12th man flag. In fact, I commend Tod Leiweke’s addition of that pre-game ritual, as well the inclusion of Blue Thunder. It didn’t necessarily irk me when the Seahawks were bad, as I honestly didn’t have to see or hear about it around every turn. It began to get under my skin during the Seahawks run last year and into this one.

Overnight, a legion of fans came out of the woodwork using the 12th man mantra as an odd badge of honor. It’s as if they go home after the game and tell their spouse, children, mom, or dad; “hey, look at me! I’m the 12th man…just as important as the 11 men on the field. I matter! Weee! Yipee! Horray!” while their pouncing around their living rooms. I just get the feeling that most of these “ham and eggers” will buy into whatever slogan or catch phrase is fed them by corporate America.

I’m sure when they drink Mountain Dew they tell their friends “I’m doing the Dew”. They go to Burger King because “I get it my way”. They take heart and put trust into Allstate’s stance that “I’m in good hands”.

On its own, the 12th man thing is a cool idea. It’s special that the Seahawks and their fans have such a commonality. But don’t abuse the slogan. After all, it is only a marketing campaign.

Speaking of Fan Gimmicks that Have Run Their Course...

Am I the only one that rolls their eyes when the South End Zone Seahawks supporting “celebrities” are featured during any game, story, or article about Seahawks fans?

As I mentioned in a previous article, one of the many reasons I loved the atmosphere in Husky Stadium was the treatment of these fans. While they’re now lauded as representatives of the 12th Man or our Seahawks fan base, in Husky Stadium they were identified as the frauds they are. And were reminded of this every home game with a lofty, “turn around”, “sit down”, or “no one cares”.

They’re not crazy die-hards that live and die every Seahawks Sunday. They’re the drama club kids I abused in high school, finally finding a niche group to achieve some notoriety or respect. They’re more interested in face time over any Seahawks result.

Real fans don’t have to wear a dress, put on make-up, or a hacky wig to show their allegiance. It’s tiresome that the local and national news seems to think otherwise.

The Nuggets-Knicks Brawl

A lot of fans are going to draw comparisons to the recent Nuggets-Kicks brawl and the Pacers-Pistons brawl of two years ago. Anyone that does is sorely mistaken.

What transpired last Saturday night spawned from two old-school coaches administering things by the code of yester year, or their own sense of fair play.

George Karl, of the Denver Nuggets, wasn’t about to let up in Madison Square Garden against an inexperienced coach like Isaiah Thomas, of the New York Knicks. Especially when you consider that Karl will go to great lengths to protect anyone within his profession. And even greater lengths to “right” a “wrong” against his fellow UNC Tarheel, Larry Brown.

Karl is also known to take any and every opportunity he can to make statements, even if unspoken and subtle through a box score. It’s the scrapper in him, fighting for what he views as an injustice against the coaching fraternity.

Thomas on the other hand, played on the toughest two teams I ever saw, in college or professional basketball. There’s no way he was going to remain silent and passive as his team was “embarrassed” on their home court. It’s not what made him a winner. Nor is it what Bobby Knight or Chuck Daly instilled into him.

I’m not saying its right or wrong, just understandable. And in my opinion, the outrage over the incident is fake. It’s the falsified rage of a society that never factored in competitive natures, adrenaline, or pride on its way to political correctness.

If you’ve never wanted to clock or shove someone your competing against, well, then you never competed.

It’s just a symptom of professional sports, it happens sometime. Get over it.

Quick Hits

- I still believe that the Seahawks will win the NFC West, which will be three in a row. I also firmly believe that the streak of divisional titles will continue. All you have to do is look at the current owners of the other three teams in the division. A sad group, indeed. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Seahawks become the NFL equivalent of the Atlanta Braves in that regard.

- Do you think if Neil Rackers and Josh Brown (or any two kickers) ever hung out in the off-season they would label it is as “kickin’ it”? “What are you doing, Neil?” “Oh, you know, just kicking it with Josh”.

- Yes, ESPN, for once in your existence you got it right, bowl time is the “most wonderful time of the year.”

- I’m not sure if it means that the 700 Club suddenly disapproves of my lifestyle, but I’m admitting publicly that the new Justin Timberlake CD is very good. He’s bringing sexy and pop back. Wait? What did I just say?


Ryan Davis is the Fifth Monkee. You may contact him here.


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