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Saturday, January 18, 2014

Salvation in Seattle

Good morning:
I am aware that my recent blog posts have had a melancholy undertone (that may be the understatment of the century!). So I'm gonna try to be upbeat. HAHAHAHAHA (that was quasi-hysterical laughter there). The irony of it all is that I am characteristically a positive, upbeat, glass-half full, rainbows and sunshine kinda gal. I am a Sagittarius after all (so is Russell Wilson, the QB of my favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks...just sayin'). Speaking of the Seahawks...
I don't think anybody who knows me was/is aware of my passion for the NFL. For the record, I am a late-bloomer where professional football is concerned. It's only been the last three or four years that I've actually paid it any attention.
It used to be that I liked having the football games on the TV because I liked the sound of it. I didn't necessarily understand what those dudes were doing on the field besides throwing the ball around and trying to get it past the goal posts. Frankly, it wasn't all that interesting to me. But I liked the sound of it. And by sound, I mean the actual, literal sound (not the idea of it but the actual, physical sound). I liked the roar of the crowds. I got a kick out of the QB yelling nonsensical jibber-jabber to his teammates that had important meaning to them. The commercials were entertaining, for the most part. And sometimes the talking heads, i.e., the sportscasters would say the most inane things that would catch my attention and make me chuckle as I read a book or cleaned or baked or whatever I was doing while the game was on keeping me company. By the way, in case you don't know, Terry Bradshaw (someone who often says inane and funny things) happens to be my cousin. His grandmother and my paternal grandmother were sisters. He is from Louisiana and this past year I had several occasions to ride on his highway--the Terry Bradshaw Highway. That always made me laugh in its absurdity. I'm not doggin' on Terry. He's alright.
Anyway, getting back to the Seahawks. When I was a student at Kent State University studying journalism a hundred years ago, I had an occasion to cover the sports beat of the Daily Kent Stater newspaper (we had to cover all the beats to get a feel of every kind of story that makes up a newspaper). It happened to be January and almost Super Bowl time. I was given the assignment of interviewing a football player who was in town visiting family. He happened to play for the Seahawks (they were not playing in the Super Bowl). We had a nice chat--he was very nice and I got a cute story out of the interview in which he diplomatically refused to make a prediction as to who would win. I couldn't remember his name so I went back and did some research on-line (how did we survive before Google?) and I found the guy. His name is Jeff West. He was a punter back in the day. The Seahawks were a relatively new team back in the 80's--nobody really paid them much attention as I recall. Anyway, that was my first connection to the Seahawks. I wrote the story and promptly forgot they existed (I think most of the country did, too).
A couple of years ago I started paying more attention to football. I suddenly found it interesting because I came to the realization that it wasn't as complicated as I thought it was. There is actually a method to the madness out on the field. I found myself getting caught up in the momentum of the games and I noticed that sometimes I would make a comment on what I'd just seen on the field and within seconds, one of the commentators would say exactly what I'd just said. Except I'd said it first! And then I started talking to the players in my head (and sometimes out loud)--telling them how to play the ball--how to run it...whom to pass it to...which way to run up the field...when the QB should pass it vs. just run it himself...whether to use their time-outs or just keep playing...yada, yada, yada. And I noticed they were listening to me! (Well, not really, but it seemed like they were cuz they were doing what I was telling them to even though I was thousands or hundreds of miles away in my living room in Ohio).
I developed a love for two teams; The Buffalo Bills and The New England Patriots. I was a faithful fan for a while but eventually I broke up with them. I ended it with the Bills due to irreconcilable differences and I broke up with the Patriots because of Tom Brady. He turned Hollywood and became untouchable. But I never forgot those Seattle Seahawks. The problem was their games rarely, if ever, played on TV in my area, but I'd occasionally read about them in the newspaper and keep up with their progress. And I even cried when they lost to the Falcons 28 to 30 last year. It's the only time I've ever shed actual tears over a football game.
Until last week I loved San Francisco (but I deleted their app from my phone and ended it with them because they're not nice. I replaced them with the team they beat, the Panthers). I also love the Raiders and the Buccaneers (I've always had a thing for pirates, thank you, Captain Jack Sparrow) and the Chargers and, of course, the Seahawks...
And here's why I love, and am indebted to, the Seattle Seahawks:
Last fall I was in Texas and because we had Directv (and the package called NFL Sunday Ticket) we were able to watch all the games every week. So I got to watch my Seahawks (cuz they're mine, you know). And my love for them grew by leaps and bounds. They're classy, smart, scrappy, excellent at overcoming great odds and coming from way behind and just darned nice guys. And while I was enmeshed in darkness down in Texas, suffering in a situation that was breaking my spirit and I was feeling awfully close to losing my mind, the Seattle Seahawks became my escape. I downloaded their app into my phone. I studied the players' stats. I got to know them via their Wikipedia entries. They were my escape...and in a weird way, my salvation. Because when the Seahawks were playing I knew that for at least three hours I didn't have to think about the situation I was in. I could forget for a few hours that my heart was being bull-dozed and my psyche was being undermined by a master manipulator. I felt happy when I saw their blue and green colors on the big screen TV. I fell in love with Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch and Steven Hauschka and Golden Tate and Percy Harvin and Earl Thomas (and yes, even that rascal Breno Giacomini) and all the rest of them.
During Thanksgiving week I flew to Seattle in search of a feeling...a sense of beloning. I drove to Renton where the Seahawks practice and felt their magic. I drove through Seattle and saw CenturyLink Field where they play and I felt their spirit. I bought some Seahawks souvenirs so I could have a piece of them with me--a tangible bit of evidence of their realness. They helped me through dark days and nights when I felt like the a lost soul in an empty world.
Thank you, Seattle Seahawks, for being the classy, cool team you are. Thank you for being with me when I needed something to hold onto. You were a beacon in my storm and I will always be your number one fan. And no matter what happens tomorrow night when you take on the 49ers, you will always be a winner to me. Good luck, guys!
Until next time,

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