an enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer of a sport, pastime, celebrity, etc.: a baseball fan; a great fan of Charlie Chaplin.
No, that doesn’t describe it.
That fails to capture the emotionally charged rage, anguish or nirvana I acquiesce to the Seahawks of Seattle.
I’m a “fan” of Martin Scorsese. I’m a “fan” of Albert Camus. I’m a “fan” of the Wu-Tang Clan. But none of them have meant, and continue to mean as much to me, as the Seattle Seahawks.
When Scorsese released the over-directed film” The Aviator”, only salvaged by a stunning lead performance, I wasn’t distraught.
After reading Camus’ boring “Youthful Writings”, there wasn’t a need to sit isolated in a bar…chasing cheap tequila with swigs of Heineken.
And when Wu-Tang clan began marketing themselves as a brand, over the underrated artists they are, I never felt the need to “throw hands” with a stranger, unprovoked.
Yet, those are all the types of irrational actions I’d succumb to, deep within the depths of a Seahawks depression. The Seahawks don’t rate in my top 3 of life priorities, although they have in the past. They do rate numero uno in my life passions, however, and always have.
Even though I was only 7 years old at the time, I can vividly recall the Seahawks’ upset of the Miami Dolphins in 1983. I remember the hysteria that grabbed a region and, specifically, the bewilderment of my father who had bet money on his favorite team, the Dolphins. My youth, and most likely narcotics, have hindered me from reliving specific plays or coaching calls within the theater of my mind. More, I can only really revisit a feeling of euphoria, still unattained.
I could paint the scene on an easel; the day the Seahawks whooped the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. I was 10 years old, sitting in the living room of stepfather #4’s (out of 22) parents’ house. The family and others had long since given up on the Hawks that season, leaving me alone to witness the brilliance of Curt Warner’s seemingly seven straight runs over 20 yards.
I, like many others, wore the egg that was Rick Mirer’s career on my face from 1994 and beyond. He, who had once shown the rookie brilliance of a Joe Montana, quickly proved to be nothing less than arguably the worst QB of all-time. In two years time my autumn emotions had gone from visions of Lombardi’s to denial-filled laughter.
Like it had caused me so many times before, I had a bad week after Seahawks loss at the age of 20 or so.
However this particular week, all of the usual depression had been transformed into unmitigated rage. And, like drunk and high 20 something’s are known to do, I took the rage out on another male, in the form of violence. Not too bad, but really bad when you consider I was so worked-up I gouged my fingers under his eyes and kicked him in the ribs… a good 15 minutes after his defeat.
My longtime girlfriend, and now wife, understands how much and how important the Seahawks are to my life. She knows better than to be anything but supportive and loving a few days after a loss. But, the girlfriend in between never fully understood.
On the way home from Fox Sports Grill, after the Seahawks heartbreaking playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers, my quasi-nubile “other” girlfriend made the mistake of laughing at the pure state of despair shown in my eyes. She had never tangled with a man this obsessed with a football outcome, or anything, before.
So with that, I yelled at her mercifully before finally walking myself to my local watering hole for a half-dozen tequila and Heineken’s. I returned a full day later, wide-eyed and chapped lipped after consuming a helping of “forgetting powder”.
And of course, there’s the ever-present scar of SBXL still right beneath my surface. After that loss, once the drunks had cleared out, I sat alone in my apartment depriving myself of anything and everything producing of joy. I watched zero sports. I attended no comedy clubs. I talked to none of my usual friends. I didn’t perform any antics to gain the laughter of others. I was depressed.
To this day I can’t watch NFL Network through the commercials, in fear of seeing Bill Cowher’s quivering chin muttering, “I turned around and she said….daddy we did it!”. It just hurts too much. Oddly though, even Super Bowl XL doesn’t stand out as the lowest or highest Seahawks moment in my life.
The painful appreciation of those two years, where only Seahawks Sundays could get me to set down the crack pipe, isn’t the peak of my Seahawks emotion. Nor is the surreal and orgasmic celebration after the NFC Championship game, the pinnacle of my Sunday emotions.
Nope, that honor is bequeathed to the 1995 and 1996 Seattle Seahawks and the turmoil that engulfed the team.
1. unable to help oneself; weak or dependent: a helpless invalid.
2. deprived of strength or power; powerless; incapacitated: They were helpless with laughter.
3. affording no help.
Now, there’s a word that perfectly describes my feelings at the time.
I was helplessly a slave to a drug. A drug usually saved for the “inner-city” had left my physical and spiritual life vacant of hope.
And I stood by helplessly as a conniving owner and aloof city pried my first love, the Seattle Seahawks, from the city of Seattle and myself. Making things worse, no one seemed to care.
The rumors and grumbling of a move to Los Angeles began swirling around the Seahawks in 1994. The fact the Kingdome was falling apart, the franchise’s owner and management appeared despondent and the team was viewed as a perennial loser…only strengthened the possibility to all Seahawks fans.
However eager the league wanted a team in Los Angeles, it wanted it not be Ken Behring in LA with as much vigor. Even with that one shell in the fans chamber, the future looked bleak.
Alone and inconsolable, my life was being systematically dismantled. The drugs had caused me to push away from family and real friends. People will only try and help you so much, before they give up. And give up is what they had to do.
But the loneliness of addiction pales to the onset of loneliness felt at the hands of my fellow Hawks “fans”.
Neither the city nor the local media seemed to care that the Seahawks were leaving. All you heard was “who cares they suck anyways”, “why should we build spoiled millionaires new stadiums” or the then hip “this is a baseball and basketball town”.
No one was there to join me in saving the one positive adhesive in my life, the Seahawks. The one thing that was able to raise my spirits, keep me sober, make me smile or break an uncomfortable silence with another was being pried from my grip.
I felt like one man trying to drain the Pacific with a bucket.
During that part of my life I was in more denial than the OJ Simpson jury. But, my Seahawks denial soon came crashing down upon my empty core. It came at the end of the Pro Bowl when a jubilant Chris Warren told a confused Cortez Kennedy, “congratulations on moving to LA, Tez”.
It was going to happen, that was it. Regardless of what the owners wanted, Behring was dead set on relocating my beloved to LA, figuring eventually his peers would kowtow to their own greed.
The sad part is, I cannot recall anything resembling real outrage over the move. Sure, there were a few video blurbs showing a handful of true fans blocking the moving trucks. But, the town and media seemingly shrugged off the move. There was nothing resembling real effort to keep the team in town. Honestly, it was the saddest couple days in my life.
Nowadays, you get a lot fans claiming they’ve been there the whole time. Some will even speak prideful, as if they were responsible for the new stadium under Paul Allen’s ownership. When truth be told, the only reason the Seahawks are still in Seattle is because Paul Tagliabue and the owners wanted anyone but Behring running the golden goose, that is LA.
In the end, all that heartache worked out the best for me.
The drug addiction has given me a different filter than most. And in some sick way enables the ability to transcribe this very story.
And of course, the Seahawks got a shiny new stadium. A stadium that wells my heart with pride and raises the Goosebumps on my arm every time I fly overhead or drive by. After all, it’s neither Paul Allen’s stadium nor the Seahawks’ stadium. It’s my stadium.
It’s the reward for the few of us that remained true to our hearts, during the team’s most desperate time. And yes, it’s even a haven for those who turned their backs during the other fans time of need or never knew the Seahawks could mean so much.
All I’d ask of those who turned their backs to the Seahawks during that 1995-1996 era, or weren’t interested in the Seahawks at that time, is that you give back to others that need your help.
And right now, that’s the Seattle Supersonics and their fans. All I hear from the legions of sports fans in this city is, was “who cares they suck anyways”, “why should we build spoiled millionaires new stadiums” or the now hip “this is a baseball and football town”.
Seahawks fans should show a little…
the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful: He expressed his gratitude to everyone on the staff.
Yup, that’s the word.
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