It’s Only Weird If It Doesn’t Work

walkers Do I have any Walking Dead fans in the house?

When someone gets “infected,” they are said to have “turned.”  They “turn” into walkers, the living dead.  They either have been dead by different causes or bitten by a walker themselves in order to turn.
I have turned myself, you know.  I can pinpoint exactly when this has happened.  It’s not a sickness, not a virus, nor is it a disease.

It was a turn for a life altering experience.

It happened in Seattle, Sunday, November 11, 2012.  I talked about it here.

When I travel to follow my teams around to other stadiums, I know there is a 50 / 50 shot they may lose.  This game was no different.  Except something changed in me, and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I was leaving that day, so I thought maybe I was just eager to get home, and therefore, antsy.  But I was changed, and there was definitely a point of no return for me.  I just didn’t know what it was.

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My husband is a creature of habit.  He wakes up at the same time every day, wears essentially the same “uniform” (t-shirt, black shorts, white socks, black sneakers).  He has a strict schedule and adheres to it.  He loves trains, only because they are on a strict time table.  Anything he can set a watch to, he’s all for.

To say he’s superstitious would be a gross understatement.  He won’t eat until the Mets take a lead, he acts much like Robert Deniro’s character in Silver Linings Playbook.  Everything has a place.  A place for everything.

However, his superstitions rival those in the Bud Light “It’s Only Weird If It Doesn’t Work.”  We don’t listen to Paula Cole songs ad nauseum.  But this is what we do on Seahawks game days:

  • watch from home (abysmal record watching games at bars and such)
  • he sits on the couch, I sit on the bed
  • we talk to each other via Twitter
  • he shaves (seriously – it takes a lot for him to do that)
  • we have some sort of alcohol beverage of choice
  • we order from Domino’s

Yes, I know that last part is sacrilegious for a Jersey girl and current city dweller.  However, Ed does not eat pizza.  Ordering “real” pizza is a waste of time for me these days.  And I like their cheesy bread.  His food of choice is pasta in the bread bowl.  Because there are no such things as too many carbs.

The losses outside of the home were enough to give us pause to continue watching games from the couch.  Even so when presented with an opportunity to attend the Super Bowl right across the river with a once in a lifetime chance to see his lifelong team, we didn’t jump at it.

Because it’s only weird if it doesn’t work.

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I was 10 years old when the Mets last won the World Series, in 1986.  Shortly after that, the New York Giants won the Super Bowl.  I remember earlier in 1986, when the Chicago Bears were all over the place, with their Super Bowl Shuffle.  A few months later, the Mets came out with their Lets Go Mets Go! song.  I guess I was used to dominance, but clearly I didn’t know as much about the Mets’ history as I do now, and having come to terms with the fact that the 1980s dominance was a once in a lifetime type of thing.

So when the Giants were all over the place then, I asked my dad (my touchstone for learning about what teams to root for) if he was a Giants fan.  He said no, he was a Jets fan.  So I went along with it because I did what Dad told me to do.

We weren’t the type of family that sat around and watched football on a Sunday afternoon.  In fact, I didn’t go to my first live football game till 2002, and my dad only went to his first Jets game in 2010.  When I asked if he ever went to a game at Shea Stadium, he told me, “No.  At least, I don’t think I have.”

I didn’t speak football.  I spoke baseball and hockey.  To me, those sports were fun, and I understood them.  I didn’t get much out of football, because I didn’t get it.  Baseball and hockey I understood.  Football to me was an ADD sport.  Meaning, it was for short attention spans.

Football is only 16 games of a regular season, less than a handful more in the playoffs.  Commitment phobes can enjoy with minimal risk.  Baseball is 162 games a year, hockey is 82.  Let’s not even go there with potential additions of postseason.  I could weave story lines from those sports.  Football, eh, whatever, not so much.  You didn’t need to pay a ton of attention at schedules.  You had one day a week to devote, maybe two if you followed rivals playing on Monday.  (And now, Thursdays too).

I think it was in 2008 though that I started to rebel.  The Giants had won their third championship in my lifetime.  I couldn’t care less about the Giants, though I have lots of friends who were fans.  I just felt nothing towards the team, as much as I hated the Patriots.  I could never understand how a person could claim to be a “Jets and Giants fan.”  To me, it was the ultimate cop out.  We all know the Jets are horribly mismanaged and put the fun in dysfunctional.  Rooting for the Giants as well as the Jets was a way to have your cake and eat it too (yes, I get it – what’s the fucking point of cake if you can’t eat it??  But you get the idea).  The Jets won’t ever win, but the Giants have won a bunch of championships in my lifetime.  I could only be happy that the Patriots lost the last two Super Bowl wins for the G-men.  But I could not in good conscience root for them, ever. Plus their fans cannot stand Jets fans. The reverse relationship reminds me of the people who are Mets fans but “root for the Yankees” too. There’s a lot of angst in that relationship. I’ve found it’s tenfold with Giants fans who actively dislike Jets fans.

Getting back to the rebelling part.  I started to get mad about the penance I’ve paid as a sports fan.  While I know many fans of the teams I root for cannot boast of remembering a championship year, I have those memories, even vivid and fond memories.  So in 2008, my dad and I went to see Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood.  It was a few days after the Giants beat the Patriots.

“Dad, it’s bad enough you made me a Mets and a Rangers fan.  But a Jets fan?????”

The only team I technically rebelled against was the Knicks.  I am not a huge basketball fan, but I did like John Stockton and coined myself a Utah Jazz fan.  Remember, in the ’90s, everyone and their cousin was a Chicago Bulls fan.  They were a one man team.  The Jazz seemed to be the only team that could have the potential to beat them.

It didn’t happen.  Yet, when I met Ed, I found out that he too became a Utah Jazz fan because of the Stockton and Karl Malone.  He still follows them; after Stockton retired, I lost interest.

I went to a live Knicks game in 2007.  I was so bored, I thought I was watching paint dry.

Basketball wasn’t my sport, after all.

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Don’t mind this stream of consciousness.  This is new territory for me.   Being a Mets fan, I was raised with the notion that you stick with your team.  The day I turn coat the Mets is the day you can officially check me into Bellevue for psychiatric observation.

I know personally several people who turncoated the Rangers by making them wait too long for a championship by becoming a Devils fan. To me, there’s nothing dirtier.  Would you believe I know someone who had broken his arm in a fight at the old Garden, defending the Rangers honor, only to become a Devils fan a decade later?

I gave up on hockey, once, but you’d never see me do that.  Give up on the Rangers.  They drive me crazy.  My teams do, at some base level.  They wouldn’t be my teams if they didn’t.

But that day in 2012, in Seattle, I had a life altering experience.  I was a visiting fan.  But I turned that day.  I turned into a 12th Man.  And it was the last thing I expected to ever happen to me.

mark_hey_markAnd that was the play that made it happen.

I was born to be a Mets fan, and I was made to be a Rangers fan.

And I never thought I’d leave a team.

It was more than just the win (and contrary to popular belief, the Seahawks started to turn that day – they were 5-4 prior to that game.  The Jets at least helped propel them to the playoffs that year).  It was the vibe.  It was fucking Seattle.  I can’t even pinpoint what it was about the city.  Perhaps it was the picturesque views.  I can’t pinpoint that we had a great time at any one place.  It was the Hawks nest, the 12th man that pushed me over the edge.

If you’ve never experienced the 12th Man, well, you just have to be there. It’s not just the Seahawks that make that city great, sports-wise.  The city has managed to put Major League Soccer on the map with their crazy Sounders fan base.

When I told people I had gone to CenturyLink amongst diehard football fans, it gave me automatic street cred.  What was more was that I found I wanted to be a part of it.

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So I went to the source, a 12th Man who might understand my plight.  Shortly after the Super Bowl last year, I had asked my husband how he felt about me becoming a 12th Man.  He’d feel less alone, I said.  Plus I really loved Seattle.  I wanted to root for a team there.

His answer was short, but sweet: No.

His reasoning was simple: my dad would be too mad at me if I jumped ship.  He said I could be happy for him if the Seahawks did well.  But I, myself, said I could never root for two teams.

This was different, I said.  I wasn’t meant to be a Jets fan.  Trust me, no one struggled with changing teams more than I did.

Then he went there.  Actually, he more alluded to the fact that I didn’t have great luck with my teams.

Waaaaaait a goddamn minute here.

This was coming from a guy who didn’t have more than me, sportswise.  We didn’t root for world beaters or dynasties. Shit, at least I had a good season with my hockey team.  Twenty years ago, but still.

So I proved to him that I could actively root for his team.  But something else happened.  I became a football fan.  I finally got it.  I finally understood it.  And I bought into the silly superstition that we had to watch the games at home. And order Domino’s.

I also found out I looked really cute in Seahawks colors.

DSCN8891  DSCN8900

Then they made it to the big game.  Then they won a championship.

Seahawks cupcakes

He offered me a Seahawks cupcake, and said, “I’d like to invite you to be a 12th man.”

I guess I paid my dues.  It was worth it.

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Those who know me know that outside of New York City, I’d live in San Francisco.  But after visiting Seattle, all I could talk about was Seattle this, Seattle that.  Can’t wait to go back to Seattle.  Et cetera, et cetera.

spaceneedle

I talk about San Francisco less and less.  I talk about Seattle more and more.

What’s more is that I will probably never see another city like Seattle in support of their sports teams.  I don’t see anything like it here when we have a team pulling for a championship.  Sure, we have our fans.  But really, there is a disconnect with so many people and so many teams.  I have a friend who moved out to Seattle, was a die hard New York everything, and got caught up in the 12.

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DSCN8879One theme you’ll hear me talk about is finding a place to belong.  Sure, we’re born to stand out, but all we want to do is find people like us.  To let us know that it is okay…to be different.  But like-minded.

I found that on places like Twitter and other forms of social media.  I met my husband as a result of it, and many of my best friends.

It was exciting to be a part of this, from beginning to end.  I want to thank the 12s who have welcomed me into their fold, and it’s nice to see that some of them will even send newspapers to this coast, like I would do when something good happened to the Mets!

Now in addition to going to baseball trips, we’ll now be traveling 12s, at least for one game a season.

coopedhawk  seahawkscelebrate

See, when we went to CenturyLink last time, the Seahawks won.  So my husband can allow that.

Remember folks, it’s only weird if it doesn’t work.

DSCN8909

And trust me, we know from weird.

3 comments

  1. So you just admitted to jumping on the Seattle bandwagon! Ugh. Sure, the Jets suck but I will never put on another team’s colors. Now, if you just switch over to the Yankees all will be forgiven. :-)

    Congrats to Seattle. I hate Peyton Manning !

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