….Otherwise known as “Seahawks Fever”.
Ever since that fateful day, January somethingth, when the Seattle Seahawks beat out the Carolina Panthers in the final round of—um, the Stanley Cup? Wimbledon? Whatever—this town has become insufferable. “Go Hawks” adorns the readerboards of every establishment….I swear to God, some businesses went out and bought wholly unnecessary readerboards just for the occasion. Last—Monday? Friday? Who cares?—was deemed “Seahawk Blue Day”, where everyone wearing blue was assumed to be showcasing their rabid football fanboy status. Sadly, I own no jeans in Pittsburgh Steelers colors….whatever those are…so my tacit support of our beloved Gladiators of the Gridiron was inferred by any who did not know me better. Even the State legislature has gotten in on the hoopla, relaxing their restrictions on informal work attire to allow for Seahawks caps, jerseys and jackets. Presumably stripping naked and painting your body blue and green is still not permitted.
Look, if you approach this whole professional sports thing as entertainment, then that’s just fine, no harm done. People spend unbelievable amounts of money on their own diversion, and I see no reason why football should be the exception to the rule. A good seat at Seahawks Stadium probably doesn’t cost conspicuously more than a good seat at, oh, say, Benaroya Hall or the 5th Avenue Theater, and tickets for a sold-out performance of a major Broadway production doubtless get jacked up, short-sold and scalped just like their professional athletic counterparts. So that’s fine, it’s all just people with abundant disposable income deciding how they want to torch a little of it.
It’s the panting fealty, the misplaced hero-worship that leaves me reeling. So many sports fans actually seem to invest some (or entirely too much) of their self-esteem in their teams, leading to strong words, boiled-over tempers and even brandished fists. Watching people engaging in heated invective (or wierder still, coming to blows) over their favorite football team is like watching people engaging in a smack-down in defense of their preferred touring company of Cats.
“But Uncle Andrew, this is the Home Team! They’re out there representing us, the folks of the Emerald City!” Uh huh. Face it, most of these players are itinerant nomads: they roam from place to place, stopping to graze until greener pastures beckon. Many of them aren’t from around here, and pert near all of them would abandon their homes and their fans in a heartbeat should someone offer them another million-five per year to switch allegiances (A-Rod, anyone?). They’re professionals; this is their job, and they can do it anywhere that will provide them with the proper facilities and support, along with the most competitive salary.
Want hometown pride and dedication? Go to your kid’s high school basketball game, your neighbor’s kids’ Little League championship. Join your local softball league, or volunteer to help drive a van to the state junior taekwon do finals.
Just yesterday afternoon I ran across a kid standing with his dad out in the cold and wet outside the grocery store. They were selling candy bars for his soccer camp. I wasn’t in the mood for a king-size Butterfinger bar, but I gave him ten bucks. The fact that we’ve got two brand-spanking-new stadiums (stadia?) in our town—one just for baseball, one just for football (that replaced the one we hadn’t even finished paying for yet)—while kids stand outside in the cold begging for money for soccer balls and shin guards tells me everything I need to know about this momentously momentous moment in Seahawk history.
[I can’t do it. I was going to end this post with the snide phrase, “Go, Steelers”, but I just can’t. It’s disingenuous. I don’t want the Steelers to win. I don’t want the Seahawks to lose. I don’t want people to be disappointed or angry or feel like they got ripped off. I want people to have fun, to enjoy the spectacle. I’d also like them to keep their revelry confined to their homes, their hotel rooms, their local sports bar, etc., and not force the rest of us to feel the aftereffects of their stupendous victory/humiliating defeat in the form of car wrecks, fist fights, blocked streets and busted shop windows. I’d love for them to treat things like public education, arts, poverty, homelessness and hunger with a little, just a little, more earnest attention than the antics of a herd of hypertrophied muscular juggernauts in blue spandex pants. But that’s not my decision to make.]
*Sigh* go, hawks.