The Seattle Sports fan is used to a swift kick in the teeth. Sit in a bar and throw out any year and watch them recount the travesty or tragedy of that particular annum.
- 2001 -“How did we lose to the Yankees?”
- 2012 – “Freaking Falcons, man.”
- 1998 – “How did that UConn guy – what was his name – hit that shot?”
You can play this game with every year. Just don’t expect to be invited back out again.
And man were the chairs aligned yesterday for this to become one of the most debilitating moments in Seattle sports history. Our big brother San Francisco, coming into our house, a place where we embarrassed them 3 months prior. They had all their starters back, we were missing some of our stars to injury and suspension. We have the lead. We’re inches from the Super Bowl, and suddenly they have the ball on the 25 yard line with all the time in the world. They’ll have 4 or 5 shots to get in the end zone and just crush our will. If you hit pause on life at that moment, I would wager that most fans had already started to think about how they were going to deal with this bone-crushing loss.
And then something amazing happens. The Stanford guy – the import who now who would rather be in Seattle than the Bay Area – makes the play of his life. Seahawks win. Seahawks win. Cue the pandemonium.
I spent hours walking around downtown after the game. I listened to the horns blare up and down 1st Ave. Every bar had “We are the Champions” blasting every 3rd song, with a few versions of New York, New York thrown in for good measure.
To my surprise I saw more than a couple stunned 49ers fans standing on street corners by themselves. They were graciously congratulating jubilant Hawks fans. It was a sign of a fan base who has had enough success to know how to lose as well as win. I surmised that these people were lifelong San Francisco fans who knew what it meant to Seattle fans, and were dealing with their mourning by watching other people be ecstatic. Maybe it was a bit of comfort for them – to see others experience what they had first enjoyed years – maybe even decades – before.
I saw people in bars not knowing what to do. They hugged, they ordered a drink, they watched the replays on TV and….. now what. Some kept drinking. Some went home. Some just wandered the streets.
But what I observed was honest to god ecstasy. People loved the moment they were in and loved loving the moment they were in. They had no idea what to do in it, but all they had to do was smile and feel good. Whatever life struggle they had was forgotten. Whatever uncompleted task on their “to do list” was ignored. People were happy. Truly, magnificently happy.
It’s irrational and can never model out on an economist’s spreadsheet. But that happiness was good for this city. It might manifest itself as a business owner being more motivated to succeed, or a sad person remembering what it’s like to smile, or a group of friends remembering how much they enjoy being together. But combine all of these moments together, across the city, and you see that our fabric is stronger for that moment.
2014 – “That freaking Sherman play was AWESOME!”