October 21, 2015

Come On, Seattle. Get Your Hawks (Gear) On!

This blog a little off-topic for me (although there is a small cop connection mentioned below), but where the heck has all the Seahawks gear gone? My wife and I like to take walks in the morning, either at Green Lake or along the Edmonds waterfront. During our walks last Monday and Tuesday, following the Hawks loss to the Panthers (still hurts), I can count on one hand—total for both days—the number of people we saw wearing Seahawks gear.

So the Hawks are having a bit of a glitch this season. They’re still Seattle’s team. They’re still a great team. Everyone knows of my affinity for Boston sports teams (okay, if you didn’t before, you do now), including the (Super Bowl Champion) New England Patriots (still too soon?). But I also support the Hawks—during the ups and downs. I know that people see the Pats, despite arguable (spite, hate, jealousy, venom…) blemishes, which all teams have, as a successful dynasty over the past fifteen seasons. Believe me, it wasn’t always this way.

When I was growing up in New England, success and the Patriots were mutually exclusive. The Pats formed as the Boston Patriots the year I was born, 1960. I was twenty-five before they went to their first Super Bowl (and lost), thirty-five for their second Super Bowl (and lost), and forty for their third Super Bowl, which the Patriots finally won. Only after their first win did they go on to the success everyone knows about today.

But, despite the success over those fifteen years, playing in six Super Bowls, there was a ten-year Super Bowl win drought with two Super Bowl losses. The year before they won their first Ring, 2000, the team went 5-11. The season following the first Super Bowl victory and prior to the second, 2002, the Pats finished the season 9-7, failing to make the playoffs.

Why am I mucking in the New England sports weeds when discussing the waning of Seahawks support in Seattle? Because Hawks fans need to put their success in perspective like they do in Boston. Sure we can grouse and grumble—and even let loose an occasional: “I WILL NEVER WATCH THAT PIECE OF S#!+! TEAM EVER AGAIN—EVER!” But come on, people. The Seahawks have gone to the Super Bowl two years in a row, won one and very nearly won the other (Whew!). Do you know what a feat it is to repeat going to the NFL Championships? If you do, show it.

I’m not impressed with fans that wear their teams’ gear only when their teams are winning. It’s those fans that show up at the airport, in a frigid drizzle, to greet a team after a heartbreaking playoff loss that impress me. Or, at least wear their gear the day after a regular season loss. Those are true fans.

So, after two Super Bowls in a row, the Hawks are making some adjustments. All teams do this. If this weren’t the case, the Cowboys would still be “America’s Team” (No—They’re not!). Yes, it’s frustrating, but that’s a part of sports and what makes winning feel all the more exhilarating. Believe me, as a fan of Boston sports teams, I understand the pain of the losses between the wins. Anyone see the Sox record this season? It was nearly identical to the M’s. And Boston won the World Series just two seasons ago, after having finished in last place the prior season.

When I was born, the Red Sox were already forty-two years into a World Series drought that would last another forty-four years. Today (well, not literally today) the Red Sox are seen as an elite team boasting a dynamic “Red Sox Nation” following. And this brings me back to my point.

Having grown up in New England, I loved to go to Fenway Park. But even when I wasn’t there, the love and support for the Sox, Celtics, Bruins and Patriots was pervasive in New England culture. It was hard to go anywhere without seeing someone with one of these team’s logo on an item of clothing, or stickers or pennants.

In 2011, we went back to Boston for my daughter’s college graduation. As is our custom, since we normally travel there during baseball season, we took in a Sox game at Fenway. In this case, it was early May, and the playoffs were only a distant hope. Still, it was a Wednesday afternoon game, and the ballpark was jammed and electric with Bostonians, other New Englanders and tourists alike. The win was adorned with a Papi homer, a Sweet Caroline 8th inning break, and a classic Jonathan Papelbon close. If you pulled a Rip Van Winkle and woke up at that moment, you’d have sworn this was the playoffs if not the World Series.

As for the Seahawks, I like living in a Super Bowl town. I appreciate seeing Hawks gear everywhere I go and the excitement that goes with it. As a cop, the single best event I participated in during my career was working the Seahawks Super Bowl parade in Downtown Seattle. I will never forget it. Seattle also has an NBA World Championship under its belt, which makes having lost the Sonics all the more regrettable. And I also like that the Seattle Metropolitans was the first American hockey team to win the Stanley Cup. That makes the World Series trophy the only championship of the “Big Four” sports Seattle has yet to win. Now, it’s way past time for the Mariners to bring a World Series Championship to Seattle (if the Sox don’t win, that is). Although, Ms fans have only been waiting—to Red Sox fans—a mere thirty-eight years. But, the M’s did interview Red Sox great Jason Veritek for their new manager. Hiring Tek, with two Rings, would certainly pique my interest.

Let’s emphasize my original point: Where has all the Seahawks gear gone? Last night on Facebook my wife saw a photo posted of a “Seahawks” ship sinking. The caption reads: “Meanwhile in Seattle—The S.S. Bandwagon is Being Abandoned.” Sadly, this appears to be true. And at www.bleacherreport.com , Nick Dimengo cites, with regret, he has added the Seattle Seahawks to the “10 Sports Teams Filled with Bandwagon Fans.”

People have different perspectives when it comes to this topic, of course. I’m speaking generally and anecdotally. Though I don’t think my eyes are lying to me. Come on, Seattle. Get your Hawks (gear) on!!!


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