I’m not like them
But I can pretend
The sun is gone
But I have a light
The day is done
But I’m having fun
I think I’m dumb
Or maybe just happy
Think I’m just happy
For the first time since 2013, I didn’t attend a live football game, where the Seahawks were one of the teams playing. This season, each city we were eager to see a football game in (Charlotte, Chicago, Denver) were out of the question due to timing conflicts. The other games played in Seattle, which has become an even year visiting phenomenon for us, just didn’t work. Sure, there were tons of cities we wanted to visit, and the home city of our preferred football team was always open. Not to mention, a fun-ass time that would be hosted by the booster club in London by the UK Seahawkers.
In 2014, we went to Seattle. Baltimore was our 2015 trip. We went to MetLife across the river AND CenturyLink in 2016. Another MetLife trip in 2017. But nothing in 2018.
So, we sat it out this year. We sat out traveling for football season for the first time since 2014, and we embraced our role as out-of-market fans. Instead of going on a cross country flight and eating great food over at Pike Place Market and drinking some fancy cocktails over in Belltown, or hitting up Bush Garden for some beers post-CenturyLink, we instead shared our Sundays with our friends at Carlow East on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. (Although I think having a Seahawks bar in Manhattan would make more sense on the Upper WEST Side…after all, the Pacific Northwest is the UWS of the United States.)
Carlow East and the NYCeahawks are nothing to shake a stick at, though. In fact, I think no one from the Pacific Northwest can challenge the authenticity of the 12-ing that occurs there. The chants, the coordinated claps, the high-fives from total strangers who become your best friends and family for a 60 minute duration. They are all so very real. Visitors from out of town are always amazed by how loud we can be. It’s like CenturyLink II. And whether its #BlueFriday or #VictoryMonday, wearing a Hawks shirt or hat or hoodie, as I am wont to do while working outdoors, elicits a random “Go Hawks!” or fist pump from a stranger. Hell, in 2017, someone even STOPPED me on the street after shouting in solidarity after a particularly dramatic Hawks win, to show me a video from the game as he had BEEN there the day before. In Seattle.
It’s a special thing, being a NYCHawk.
But I wonder, if maybe, I’m just a bit stupid for getting emotionally involved in sports. Like, what is my life worth that I get involved so intimately with the teams in my life…be it Rangers, or Mets, or Seahawks, even St John’s these days (which is mostly for my husband, who is a Johnnie). That all I do is get my hopes up and dashed with disappointment?
It’s different, being a disappointed football fan. You only get 16 times a year to have your highs and low, and potentially more if you are lucky enough to root for a team that makes the playoffs.
My heart is broke
But I have some glue
Help me inhale
And mend it with you
We’ll float around
And hang out on clouds
Then we’ll come down
And have a hangover, have a hangover
This year had highs and lows as is wont to happen in the context of a football season. Starting 0-2, nearly every “expert” lamented the death of the LOB, and eulogies were written for the PCJS Seattle Seahawks era. QPD. The “Dynasty that Never Was.” Yeah. I called bullshit.
Yet what was NOT said was that the team was shifting away from being a defense oriented team to building around the offense, mostly around the franchise quarterback, Russell Wilson. What on earth is wrong that THAT? I would get so frustrated watching him scramble around with virtually no protection from his offensive team. And let’s not go there that last year was a field goal here or extra point there from being a completely different ending.
So sure. Defense may “win championships,” as the old adage says. But you can’t win if you don’t score. You don’t score without offense. Or until you score. Or something.
I didn’t buy into the rebuild. But what I saw after a few games was a bit…disheartening. After the 0-2 start, they pulled themselves out of that hole. Yet I truly believe they could have won a lot more had they not played to the level of their competition each game. How many games were decided on a last second “walk off” field goal by Sebastian Janikowski? Or a close call loss against the LA teams (Rams and Chargers), that in my opinion could have easily gone the other way and been W’s in the column. Playing to the level of their competition made me feel as though the team believed in the rebuild. And that got me angry. It’s okay to play over your heads or to your full potential and win decisively. No really. It’s a thing, and it’s all right.
Rebuilds are not a bad thing, though. Acknowledge it, we’re adults, we can handle them. Ask me how I feel about a rebuild in Flushing. And I’m going through one now with my hockey team. Rebuilds can be fun too, especially seeing the results come to fruition. I never bought into the Seattle rebuild, though. This Seattle football team was meant to be a playoff team this year. What kills me is that they could have been MORE, instead of a one-and-done wild card team against a Cowboys team that quite frankly was not a superior team to the Seahawks. Cowboys won. Seahawks lost. And somewhere, Richard Sherman laughs. My hockey team sucks. It’s how many days till pitchers and catchers? It’s winter, and I’m fucking BORED with it already.
Skin the sun
The soul is cheap
Wish me luck
Soothe the burn
Wake me up
The fact that I can actually feel real feelings for a football team, which was unheard of not too long ago…that I can be disappointed when one of my teams underachieves or I can truly feel that in my heart….this is what is truly remarkable in my eyes.
Some days I want to give up sports for knitting.
And then I say, well that’s a dumb idea. So I put my jerseys away for another year. I go back to eating bad carbs and junk food during the Super Bowl. Maybe have a hangover the next day. Mostly, I’ll be happy because it means baseball is right around the corner.
Can You Stand The Rain?
Sunny days, everybody loves them
Tell me baby, can you stand the rain?
Storms will come
This we know for sure (This we know for sure)
Can you stand the rain? ~ New Edition, “Can You Stand The Rain?”
We are in the middle of winter. There was snow last night; there was sunny weather today.
The weekend of the Super Bowl, it rained. It rained so much, I joked that I needed a canoe to get around. Pretty sure I saw one floating down Broadway. Of course, I needed to be outside, taking care of pets and not hunkering down, eating bad carbs and watching a game where I had a healthy hate for both teams.
Being a dog walker can be fun and on bad days, when you love your pets, it can make them not so bad. On a rainy day though, that separates the true believers from the poseurs.
And since my last post, which celebrated the life of my beloved furry baby, Cassie, I spent some time not only mourning her loss, but also mourning the loss of my sports teams. Which was very palatable. At least in the past, I’ve had sports as escapism. With the Seahawks puttering out at the end of the season, the Rangers basically in back-up-the-truck mode now, and the Mets being not so cautiously optimistic for 2018, these teams haven’t done much to make me forget my pain.
This also marked the first year I haven’t seen the Seahawks in a postseason since I started following them in earnest. Someone told me, though, early in the hockey season, that I better hope the Seahawks do something because the Rangers were looking maddeningly frustrating.
Well, I seem to not be able to exist without my teams frustrating me, so I figured bring it on. Plus, out of all my teams, the Seahawks always leave me pleasantly surprised. And the Rangers, well, we can find a way for them to make it to the playoffs. Right?
It seems like Ray Ramirez’ golden shit touch has infiltrated my teams. Well, the Seahawks since nearly everyone was injured, and it was tough to come out of that hole.
The last day of the season, they were officially eliminated from making it to the postseason, before they even officially lost a nail-biting heartbreaker of a game. I suppose it was fitting. 2017 was a shitty year for me personally, it was motherfucking cold that day, and it was New Years’ Eve. 2018 had to be better by definition.
Then New Years’ Day, the Rangers played a Winter Classic game at my baseball summer home, CitiField. If it was fucking freezing here, on Manhattan Island, it was probably polar vortex meets Antarctica gusts in Queens.
The Rangers won. It was ice cold, but they played red hot that day. If I felt concerned and not at all hopeful of their play, I felt like despite the unnerving weather, they had given us hope.
Turns out, it was the last time I felt any hope about this team’s performance. Everything has gone downhill since. As of February 18th, they lost 15 games out of their last 21. Oof. And the worst part is that letter to the fans, talking about a rebuild? It was sent on February 8th! 10 fucking days ago. As we like to say on Twitter, back up the fucking truck, and they made it official in writing. But it just seemed to have gotten worse and worse as time goes on.
#NYR HC Alain Vigneault: “This is definitely not a pleasant time for us. But again, you have to keep doing your jobs, both players and coaches, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) February 18, 2018
So let’s talk about AV for a second, who had the understatement of the year above. I notoriously defended and called myself a Terry Collins apologist while he was with the Mets. It wasn’t his fault he was given mostly shit to work with in his years as Mets manager. AV though, I’m sure Sonny from A Bronx Tale would have a word with him about “wasted talent.” For a team that made it to the Stanley Cup Final in 2013-14, and all the way to Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final in 2014-15, he has managed to not get the best of his team in his time as head coach. Even in those years when they seemed destined for something big. That’s a problem. Especially with an aging Henrik Lundqvist.
Above all, Henke does not deserve this shit.
The first one on the flat bed truck is AV. But Henrik must go too, for the betterment of himself and the team. Unfortunately I cannot see the team being a success without sending him someplace else to potentially win. And talk about squandering a talent while he was there.
No great goaltender can win The Stanley Cup on his own. Hasek won his first career Stanley Cup at age 37 and on a loaded Red Wings team that included Lidstrom and Chelios. Brodeur needed Niedermayer and Stevens to win his three Cups. What HOF d-man has Lundqvist ever played with?
— Sean Hartnett (@HartnettHockey) February 18, 2018
When I was younger, I didn’t know much about what went into building a team, any team, be it baseball or football, even hockey. I remember my dad making a rationalization about a player saying “You could build around him, though.” The way I taught myself about sports is the way I relate to it, and I could relate to building around a player. I guess it’s apropos that an MLB Network documentary on Field Of Dreams, where the saying “if you build it, they will come” was coined, is playing in the background now. Because if you build it, they will come. And by “they,” it means talent and by “they will come,” means making the team attractive enough for players to want to be there.
I hate to see Henrik Lundqvist be the sacrificial lamb here. And I know his contract terms might be a bit onerous right now. It leaves basically everyone else to go elsewhere. Yet, when it comes to the Rangers, how many times have we seen our all-stars go elsewhere and win? Marian Gaborik. The centerpieces that brought Rick Nash to New York. Shit, even Ryan Callahan played in a Stanley Cup Final after he was traded. Why is this? Do we become too impatient for a rebuild that we sacrifice the future for the immediate gratification? And guess what? We still don’t fucking win. Because you have one guy, and you can’t even fucking build right around him…it’s gonna be a problem long-term.
So it’s painful to watch. But you know what, I’m back to what feels right. And by “right,” I mean all my teams disappoint me again. I have incredibly low expectations now. This is what I am used to. Sigh.
As a dog walker, I spent a lot of time outdoors. I’m exposed to many different elements, I battle bad sinus infections in cold weather, and I have to wrestle dog shit out of the jaws of pups unwilling to relinquish said shit. When it rains, no one wants to go outside. This separates the real people who love their work though from the babies.
Riding out a rain delay at a baseball game? It sucks! If you don’t like rain in the Pacific Northwest, you probably are better off not living there or attending an outdoor sporting event there.
After rain, you may be lucky enough to see a rainbow. You can have a beautiful sunset once the rain stops. Weather can become bearably cool after a rainfall. Flowers and grass and all kinds of vegetation grows after rain.
If you can stand the rain, somewhere over the proverbial rainbow, dreams of your team winning a championship can come true. So you wait it out. The storm will pass, eventually.
In My Life
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life I love you more
~ In My Life, Beatles
Memories work in curious ways. Some of us remember every detail of a certain moment. The human mind will work in ways that may add or take away from either pleasant or painful memories. Some of us remember things that happen to others in vivid picturesque quality. Sometimes it’s an event we all remember and what we were doing at that time.
But I think what’s most curious is what a person’s first childhood memory is. That tells a lot about what type of person they are, how old they are and even give insight to their personality as to how they reacted to it.
December 8th is a significant date for my memories. It’s my godmother’s (Mom’s best friend) birthday, for one. Several years ago, I went to a hockey game and found Gabby, the loudmouthed New York Ranger fan. So each year not only do I think of my Aunt Pam (who is still a significant figure in my life), we often have Gabby’s preferred meal of fried chicken and some kind of potato. Hey, it’s only weird if it doesn’t work.
Yet, my oldest childhood memory surrounds one of the most memorable in just any kind of history, whether it’s popular culture or just general world events. The day John Winston Ono Lennon was brutally murdered in front of his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
I was only four years old, but I was two weeks away from my fifth birthday at that point. What I remember most was being in my mom’s car, listening to all the radio stations playing Beatles’ and John Lennon solo tunes. I didn’t know much about the Beatles when I was four. But I do know my parents loved them. I also remember being at my grandparents that day, and every television show had some kind of John Lennon tribute. I’m not sure I knew was a “tribute” actually was at almost five years old. But I do remember it being a sad and solemn day.
But out of death comes life. Sounds cliche, but it is true. John Lennon was no longer with us, but his music and art lived on in many different forms. I remember watching the Imagine documentary at 13 years old. My dad buying Julian’s album several years after John’s death, and remarking on the son’s songwriting and singing ability. The rumors that Paul, George and Ringo would tour with Julian. I always thought it was a good thing that they let the Beatles go with John. It wouldn’t be right to do things as “the Beatles,” making them a sideshow act. It was always those four.
I moved not too far from where John lived and was subsequently murdered. I try to every year make it over to Strawberry Fields on John’s birthday and life celebration on 12/8 to sing some Beatles’ and Lennon songs. Knowing that maybe I won’t see total peace and love in my lifetime, but for a brief moment we can Imagine it to be true. I hopped by Central Park to sing a few songs with the group the day I went to the Ranger game where Gabby was “born.”
I’ve often said that sports has been escapism for me. Music has been a form of creativity and sometimes inspires me in ways sports simply cannot. Sometimes, they intersect here on Gal For All Seasons. And like knowing my first childhood memory was surrounded by a musician I deeply admire and whose artistry I loved, sports and music often give me comfort in my life.
Death is a part of life, but life does indeed move on. Lennon was with us 40 years, and has been gone 37 years. Even my sports teams who have lived and been born again — 1986 Mets, 1994 Rangers — have probably more significance now or as much as they did when they were current. Though my first memory was entrenched in a very sad world event that shocked many, sports and music have brought me incredible joy and passion ever since.
In recent years, I’ve been able to follow another one of my passions: pet care. When I was younger, I thought I might be a veterinarian, but being the empath I am, I don’t think I could bear to see any animal in pain. As much as vets help them, I just didn’t think I could be a funeral director either. But I got to work with dogs and cats in providing their care, and I still had my cats, Cassie and Napoleon Dynamite, at home to keep me company (and most often, on my toes).
Cassie’s been with me since 2002. She was separated from her litter and was yowling for food and attention at two weeks old behind my old Jersey City apartment. We found a nursing mother and litter, she stayed with them, she was weaned and became my cat and life mate at about eight weeks old.
She and I went through a lot together. She lived with me for 15 years through six different apartments and in four different cities. Napoleon Dynamite Kitty joined our family in 2005. They didn’t always get along, but thank goodness for Jackson Galaxy in helping get them to at least coexist in our small space. There was a bad break up somewhere in there, and then a fun and happy marriage to her Pawppy.
As I relate to my earliest childhood memory, I related her life to certain sports milestones. She came into my life in the Mo Vaughn Mets era. She was there for three postseason runs for the Mets, the late season collapse in 2007, with both cats wondering why I paced so much watching late season games, needing every game to be a win.
I made the decision to move to New York City in 2008 after spending lots of time in the city due to work and play related to sports social media. I remember when she went hiding after I celebrated a Rangers postseason win a little too loudly during their 2012 run. And I’m pretty sure both cats wondered why I threw a box of perfectly good Domino’s boneless Buffalo chicken nuggets after Russell Wilson threw an interception in the last moments of Super Bowl 49.
She was a nurse when husbo couldn’t go to an early season Mets game in 2011 due to an illness, so she stayed in bed with him while I was able to go. She’d get annoyed when I wanted to sit on the same couch with her during a game, so I could, you know, watch said game. Or when I was trying to write a blog post or even Tweet from my desktop, she’d be like, I’m sitting on *MY* computer chair, Meowmmy. “I only let you sit on it when I say so,” her saucer-like eyes seemed to be telling me.
I’d like to think she was happiest in my latest home on 84th Street, where I finally feel connected to the city, my life and maybe that every shitty decision I made since 2009 came to some kind of pass. She had big windows and wide windowsills to lay on. As she got older (and fatter…), she couldn’t jump as high or as much as she wanted to. Earlier this year, we had an Asdrubal Cabrera bobblehead Mets giveaway. We kept the bobblehead AND the box. Cassie decided the box was a perch in which she’d alternately lay her head to watch the birds who sometimes congregated outside our windows. Or where I’d set her food dish, so that she’d eat her dinner before her greedy brother tried to say, “Yo, you gonna eat that?”
A. Bartlett Giamatti once said that baseball is designed to break your heart. Being a pet parent does that too. Along with bringing joy and if you’re lucky euphoria and laughter. We have no control over game outcomes, only our teams can do that. Sometimes as pet parents, we need to make difficult but necessary decisions to ensure that they are not in pain.
At 1:05 pm on Saturday, December 9th, we said goodbye to Cassiopeia Cat Cooper. Cassie. Poo Kitty. CCC. She was 15 years old. She was a sweet but sassy girl who had strong opinions about everything. She wasn’t always the friendliest cat, but she was a good cat and friend. I like to think I gave her a good life, and that she was happy when she crossed. In turn, as pet parents, we know we have the option to give them a peaceful and painless death. Unfortunately, we had to exercise that option today.
I noticed on Wednesday, she seemed a little off. Thursday, I was concerned. By that evening, I had decided to take her to the emergency vet. She wasn’t able to come home.
Death is an inevitable part of life. And today is the kind of day we always dread as pet parents. Yet it is a necessary evil. I brought her to the hospital on the anniversary of John Lennon’s death. Due to my life and memories I think of this event every year, even without the multiple tributes. Now I have a very personal reason of pain and loss to memorialize it as well.
Music and sports have helped me get through a lot of pain and heartache in my life. (And we all know sports have contributed to a lot of that heartache as well.) Cassie has been a great companion. Through the ups and downs in life and sports and art, I could come home knowing she’d be there (along with the boy cat). Eventually, I know I will instinctively stop trying to look for where she is hiding in the house. So will Napoleon.
Until then, I’ll give Napoleon a few extra love scritches, watch the Sounders, Rangers and Seahawks, and know that one day I will wake up, and this pain won’t be the first thing I think of. (And hey, if the Seahawks could win this weekend, that wouldn’t hurt either.)
Some pets leave an indelible paw print on your heart. I had Cody when I was growing up. And Cassie was my companion animal for my adult years. I will miss her for the rest of my days.
In my life, Cassie, I love you more.
Cassiopeia Cat “Cassie” Cooper
April 4, 2002 – December 9, 2017
As Seasons Roll On By
Summer nights and long warm days
Are stolen as the old moon falls
My mirror shows another face
Another place to hide it all
Another place to hide it all
Sleeping with a full moon blanket
Sand and feathers for my head
Dreams have never been the answer
And dreams have never made my bed
Dreams have never made my bed
Now I wanna fly above the storm
But you can’t grow feathers in the rain
And the naked floor is cold as hell
This naked floor reminds me
Oh the naked floor reminds me
And then there’s Soundgarden and the Seattle “sound” of the ’90s. I disliked Nirvana, but I loved the other significant bands that grew out of that era. That summer, Soundgarden’s Superunknown was a significant portion of my playlist (before I even knew it was a term).
I also had great joy. The Rangers won a championship. I had a new set of friends. I dated a lot of cute boys. I went to a lot of concerts. I borrowed my mom’s car (without permission) to go to Woodstock. Now, that was a fun summer. Two dark albums though got to the heart of my conflicting feelings, feelings in dealing with the inevitable changes that were happening in my life whether I liked it or not. The Crow soundtrack still makes me sit and listen, which was a biggie that year. And there was Superunknown, through several moves and maybe someone “borrowing” and never returning it, it’s been misplaced. I haven’t listened to it in years, unfortunately.
My next thought was sadness. While it’s always sad to lose a rock icon, you can’t help but think due to his age, that he still had more to do and more to say in this lifetime. His music catalog is what remains, his art will live on and blah blah blah.
I couldn’t help but feel connected to a song that die hard Cornell fans would know about, but also one that struck me at a very poignant time in my life.
If I should be short on words
And long on things to say
Could you crawl into my world
And take me worlds away?
Should I be beside myself
And not even stay
And I’m lost behind
Words I’ll never find
And I’m left behind
As seasons roll on by– Chris Cornell, Seasons
Brothers In Arms
These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Someday you’ll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you’ll no longer burn to be
Brothers in arms
~ Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms
Prior to the multiple hats I wear now in my professional life, back in the dizzay, I worked in financial services. One of my old bosses was an Brit via Australia, and we used to talk about music a lot. We liked a lot of the same bands. We talked about the “best shows” we’ve ever been to, and he told me that hands down, the best show he ever saw was in Sydney and it was Dire Straits.
And his passion really came through when he talked about the show. Plus I loved the way he said it. “Di-uh Straits.” But Dire Straits…the “Money For Nothing, chicks for free” band?
To this day, whenever I hear a Dire Straits song, I think of my former boss and his description of the show. So imagine my surprise when I was on a flight to Seattle to not only celebrate the husband’s birthday but to see the Seahawks play a Monday Night Football game, the media and entertainment system in my seat had the Brothers in Arms album on demand to listen to while we flew cross-country. I guess I forgot how good their songs were. Very 80s. “You play the guitar on the MTV.” But I had it on as background music, which of course leads me to think. Think about my past, my future. Even on my present time, as I was heading to my spiritual home in the Pacific North-left.
I left the comfort of my home with a very certain and hopeful present and left Seattle on a vibe that had a very uncertain and shaky future. As our trip overlapped with an election that rocked my very core, but started with an amazing nail-biting and dramatic Seahawks win. Sure…we are still feeling the after-effects. Nothing has changed, but everything has. Have you ever felt that before?
Seeing the “Brothers in Arms” the Seattle Seahawks, it made me think. About the importance of being a team, being around people you love, having each other, focusing on the desirable end-result, and most of all, what linking arms can do to provide one with a hopeful future.
Now look at them yo-yo’s that’s the way you do it
You play the guitar on the M.T.V.
That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free.
Now that ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Lemme tell ya, them guys ain’t dumb
~ Dire Straits, Money For Nothing
There are many tired narratives with watching the Seahawks and most noticeably reading about them. Many experts count them out. Oh and the whole playing bad against east coast teams, especially on the east coast and early Pacific hours. But this was a home game against the Buffalo Bills…a decent team that beat a Tom Brady-less New England Patriots earlier this season…but most of all, has one of my all-time faves, Rex Ryan, along with twin brother Rob, happens to be running the show there.
There wasn’t a conflict per se, for me. But I did remark at one point that I felt like my weird-ass crush on Rex would somehow torture me during the game (only a little, but it did). I never cared for the Bills.
We also had a conflict between the marrieds. See, we’ve never seen the Seahawks lose while watching them live and in person. Going to Seattle against the Bills, a team that “beat the Patriots,” as hubby liked to point out, was going to not be easy. I didn’t think it would be easy either. But I did think the Hawks would win.
It was Ed’s birthday. They HAD to win.
He got the action, he got the motion
Yeah the boy can play
Turning all the night time into the day
~ Dire Straits, Walk of Life
I turned into a Seahawks supporter sitting in a totally different uniform and actually supporting a team that Rex Ryan was coach of back in 2012. I’ve had friends that lived in Seattle not caring about football or thinking they also liked a team that had no idea that a fan base could be like the 12s. I don’t think I can put it into words, which is unfortunate, you know, being someone who blogs about the goddamn team. You just have to go to a game to see it yourself.
You’re forever changed.
I mean, look at those faces above. So youthful and hopeful…and then after the 12s and the loudest stadium EVAR gets to you, you kind of lose your fucking mind.
Prior to becoming a 12, I didn’t care much for football. I didn’t have a family of fanatics. Football was NEVER a Sunday thing in my household growing up. I couldn’t relate to it. If you know me, baseball was always my one true passion and love. In my adult years, I worked on Sundays, and then just up till a few years ago, I worked during the east coast games. So it’s easier for me to follow a west coast team, go figure.
Now, I’m enjoying the game, learning about the history of the game, and mostly how teams come together.
There is something very special going on in the Emerald City. I was just remarking a few days ago that there will be SEVERAL Ring of Honor candidates from this team in the future. During the game against Arizona earlier on, I said that “This is almost like Largent’s game against Miami in 1983.” I’ve paid my dues in such a short amount of time. It’s a passion that’s different and like no other.
Surprise that a team that caused a “controversy” by openly discussing taking a knee, like rival Colin Kaepernick did, but deciding against it, linking arms instead. Well, linking arms is a parable for this team.
The boys who can play are Doug and Jimmy and Richard and Bobby and Tyler, and most of all Russell, and everyone who is supposed to contribute is contributing.
In this game against Buffalo, we had tremendous showings by Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham, two guys we need to play well in order to win. The chemistry with the team is just sick.
There’s so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones~ Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms
On paper, the Seahawks won. But the events on the field while watching it, it was probably a lot more dramatic than it had to be. I mean, it literally went right to the very last second. Ed kept trying to get video of how loud the 12s can be on 4th down, yet Bills kept converting. He did get the video successfully…on the very last play of the game. I said..are you KIDDING ME?! PUT THE FUCKING CAMERA AWAY!!!
But he was right, I was wrong and most of all, despite having less than TWENTY MINUTES OF TOTAL POSSESSION TIME in the game (seriously: the numbers don’t lie above), the Hawks won.
It was Ed’s birthday and our fifth live game, and we are 5-0 and the Seahawks are mowing down their competition.
It was a win, but it felt hollow.
But a win is a win, and we take it.
Tuesday was Election Day. The nastiness and stress that had preceded it and what lingers has made me even have to take a break from Facebook just because it’s been so bad. I went to Seattle thinking the worst that could happen would be a Seahawks loss. I went to bed Tuesday night drunk on Seahawks margaritas (seriously, the double margarita was in a Seahawks glass) and woke up Wednesday in my spiritual home, not wanting to face the day.
It rained in New York on that Wednesday. It stopped raining long enough to give us a very beautiful dusk and sunset in Seattle.
But besides the beacon of the Space Needle that still beckons me, I saw that like baseball did in my youth, the Seattle Seahawks can provide me with enough escapism from the real life that I desperately want to escape.
On a non-game day, the area by CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field is pretty dead. Stark contrast from the craziness we experience on our marches to the stadium. Fans are probably just as focused as the team is. We are able to get some unobstructed photos of the players outside the stadium. Seeing Bobby and Doug and Jimmy make my heart soar. There is hope, there is fantasy. Life can get better and we can expect better of ourselves. Just ask Doug, whom I personally believe is the heart and soul of this team, what he thinks of his Brothers in Arms.
I may have been leaving the next day to approach a New York that was changing. At least I am saying goodbye to my Seahawks, and I don’t know when I’ll see them again in person.
Unfortunately a trip that we would have liked to take this weekend to Tampa was kibboshed because of my job that keeps me in town on holiday weekends.
Here I am again in this mean old town
And you’re so far away from me
And where are you when the sun goes down
You’re so far away from me
~ Dire Straits, So Far Away
I landed to chaos in New York. My phone had about a million text messages, all work-related. What was supposed to be a relatively slow Veteran’s Day blew up, and I had to hit the ground running. My first thought was…and I’m serious…”What would Russell Wilson do?”
I knew he’d say, “There’s no time to sleep, Coop.”
So Ed and I have another successful and not to mention fun Seattle trip in the books. It’s our fourth time in the city, and third game at CenturyLink (two of our all time wins took place in road stadiums).
Yet, I see the real work needs to be done in the real world. Whether it’s with my work, or in the country or societal changes, this Seahawks team has taught me that despite any difference, despite any disagreements, we can enact positive change, starting from within.
Now the sun’s gone to hell and
The moon’s riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it’s written in the starlight
And every line in your palm
We are fools to make war
On our brothers in arms~ Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms
In a time that I can see becoming tumultuous, rough and even getting worse before getting better, I can hear Richard Sherman telling us we can be better as the team rallies around him and jumps up and down.
If people tell Jimmy Graham that his injury from last year is supposed to impact his game negatively this year, I’m going to be like Jimmy…and against all odds, catch that fucking ball with one goddamn finger.
And in this topsy-turvy world, if I can see Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin switching up their comfort zones and still managing to lift each other up…we can too.
Dire Straits, man. Who knew my fucking former boss’ favorite show would be an inspiration to a painful blog post that took me nearly three fucking weeks to write?
In this crazy-ass time, I choose to be a 12. I choose to be like a Seahawk.
#WeAre12. Go Hawks.
Break It Down Again
I think I might take Russell Wilson for granted.
There. I said it.
It’s not because he’s positioning himself to be an elite QB. It’s not because he won a Super Bowl title in his very second year of playing professional football.
It’s because since I follow him so closely, it’s not a “rare treat” to see him in person as much as, say, someone who follows the local teams here in New York.
Prior to last Sunday’s game against the New York Jets, many Jets and local pundits were pooh-poohing Wilson’s not only effectiveness, but that of the Legion of Boom and much-glowed about defense of Seattle was not all *that*.
I thought they were all crazy. I mean, roll my eyes kind of crazy. Certainly if you watched this team as closely as Ed and I do, you’d see there is nothing overrated about Wilson or Richard Sherman or Doug Baldwin or Jimmy Graham…and that Seattle gets help even from role players, like Tanner McEvoy.
Plus…Did they seriously believe the Jets were a superior team? The last time I seriously followed the Jets, Rex Ryan was the head coach, Mark Sanchez was the starting QB, Tim Tebow was the BACKUP, and I literally turned into a Seattle fan at CenturyLink as we saw them play there.
Lastly, this was the first time back at MetLife Stadium since, well, Super Bowl XLVIII. So there’s that.
Why am I going through all this back story? Basically because prior to the Seahawks visiting New York for the first time since winning SB48, a few notable “hot takes” said in not so many words that the Seahawks were overrated and especially that quarterback of theirs. Seeing only his weekly highlights, of course, focus on his amazing footwork and his running game…stuff that quarterbacks aren’t supposed to rely on.
Russell Wilson isn’t in the conversation as best QB in NFL. He’s very good… not great. Nice 2nd-tier guy https://t.co/V1AGzxtJJ5 pic.twitter.com/6ocUiTOtFL
— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) October 1, 2016
According to Mehta, prior to week four, “Wilson isn’t nearly as awesome as his Puget Sound loyalists believe, so it’s ludicrous to think that he’ll be able to hobble into MetLife Stadium on a gimpy left knee and right ankle on Sunday and have his way with the Jets.”
There is also this “narrative” that the Hawks don’t seem to do well not just on the road…but on the east coast or “10 am PST” start times. (And touching on Russell’s leg and knee issues, which were legit concerns going into the week…yet when no backup QB was called to replace him…I knew we were in biz and we’d be seeing him on Sunday).
Pete Prisco felt the wrath of 12s with his lazy journalism on these narratives prior to week four.
“This is a long trip for the Seahawks, and Russell Wilson is battling a knee injury. How healthy will he be against a good Jets front? The interesting battle will be to see if Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick can battle back against a good Seattle defense. I think he does. Jets take it,” Prisco wrote.
I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that the so-called “experts” in New York and Seattle haters were wrong, dead wrong.
Hawks won 27-17. I was surprised it was that close, but considering the Jets gave up towards the end (even after scoring an accidental touchdown at one point!), maybe they just took it easy? Why blow them out when they have a week off? (And you know, not kill our ELITE QB AMIRITE?!)
During the game, we had a lot of fun. New York fans are known as being tough as nails. But you don’t fuck with a 12.
That poor bastard from the NY Daily News is getting eaten alive. LOL Bless his heart… #DontMessWithRuss
— DaynaOG (@DaynaOG) October 2, 2016
@MaryL1973 nah. You never bet against the Seahawks. That was your first mistake
— The Coop (@Coopz22) October 2, 2016
BTW whoever wrote or said that Russell Wilson was “overrated” or “hurt” or “not that good” needs to go sit on a drum stick and fucking SPIN
— The Coop (@Coopz22) October 2, 2016
You’d think after 48, the legend of Russell Wilson might have grown. Yet, people are looking at him in the Northeast like they’ve finally SAW him. Now, watch out.
Let’s recap what an awesome display we’ve seen, not just on Sunday, but going into the Bye week in week five.
Russell Wilson now has 25 games with 2+ pass TDs & 0 INTs, the most in NFL history in a player’s 1st 5 seasons to begin a career pic.twitter.com/eA4V05YlJw
— Randall Liu (@RLiuNFL) October 2, 2016
Some words from a friend…
@Coopz22: Finally seeing Wilson in person was a treat. He’s a goddamn maestro back there. Perfect poise, calm feet, pinpoint accuracy. Damn.
— Jerry Beach (@JerryBeach73) October 3, 2016
In case you didn’t get it the first time…DangeRuss got the last laugh.
Wk 4 NFL #ShouldersOfGreatness: @DangeRussWilson making it look easy with 23 completions & 309 pass yds and 3 TDs #GoHawks pic.twitter.com/PGsCZiOdV9
— Head & Shoulders (@Headshoulders) October 3, 2016
I can’t say it’s anything surprising to Seahawks fans. We know what we have in Russell. It was also refreshing to see Jimmy Graham being utilized to his fullest potential. Also…12s travel well. I’m fortunate I live so close. We were well-represented. SEA! HAWKS!
What I wasn’t expecting was the defeatist attitude coming from Gang Green. It was shocking since I know so many Jets fans, and they are die hard to say the least.
@Coopz22 @Studi_Metsimus good to see u both. Congrats on the win, when it was one score lead (we knew the jets weren’t winning… Lgm-wooo
— Alan (@AlanLern) October 3, 2016
I can’t believe what a sad state of affairs it’s been since I crossed enemy lines. Michael Bennett even said something to the effect that 12s would have never left when the Jets fans were leaving in droves. I remember at one point thinking the Jets were still in the game (and I was more positive about going into the game than my copilot on the NJ Transit). There’s no way I would have left if the shoe were on the other foot.
Play to the crowd with your big hit sound
And they won’t simmer won’t simmer, won’t simmer down
Play to the crowd
Play to the crowd
Play yeah yeah
It’s in the way you’re always hiding from the light
Fast off to heaven just like Moses on a motorbike
No revolution maybe someone somewhere else
Could show you something new to help you
With the ups and downs
I want to break it down
Break it down again
In fear of jinxing things, I’ve been to four Seahawks games in person. They’ve won all four. I’m very fortunate, but I do know once the odds are raised, I have a better chance of seeing them lose. I realize how fortunate I am to root for this team. Thank you all for accepting me into the fold.
(Good 12s Twitter follows include: @DaynaOG, @DKSB17, @hipeegrl…also @Studi_metsimus if you can get over the geeky baseball stuff he posts).
Yet, going out on a high note on such a big stage has made people not only shut up, but now realize, hey! The Pacific Northwest has got a machine here, and they show no intentions of slowing down.
Is it Week Six yet?!
‘Cos It Already Is
My dad was in attendance at Shea Stadium when the Mets mounted one of the biggest comebacks in baseball history in “Game Six.” If anyone says “game six,” whether or not they are a Mets fan, you know they are referring to the World Series Game Six in 1986.
We were also at Shea in 2006 when the Mets were playing the Cards in the NLCS game seven. After Carlos Beltran struck out looking to end the game and sent the St. Louis Cardinals to the World Series, we had gone separate ways to leave that motherfucker as quickly as possible.
My cell phone rang as I walked to the train. It was Dad. He made the first train out of dodge. He said, “I was there for one miracle. I didn’t think there would be another.”
If you recall, the Mets came back to score three runs in extra innings to beat the Red Sox in a game that would’ve brought a championship to Boston for the first time since 1918. In 2006, fortunes changes when Yadier Molina hit a devastating home run for the go ahead in the ninth inning, in a game that was tied for-fucking-ever.
Even when the Mets had put tying runs on base in the bottom of the ninth, you had ’86 game six in your head. But you also remembered that this team was not the ’86 team. And then Wainwright threw his curve.
But whether you are a Mets fan or a Red Sox or even an Arizona Cardinals fan, you believe till the very last second. Because it’s never quite over till it’s over.
I started thinking of the game in 2006 as I watched the Seahawks in their matchup against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. While the Panthers looked as though they were a team headed for destiny all season, if anyone who follows football knows that if any team was going to stop that, it would be Seattle. And I’m not even saying that as a fan of the team and someone who has followed them through really no choice of my own (I married into it and really couldn’t care less about watching football games on TV) for over five years at this point. I’m saying that because there’s something special about Seahawks “devil magic.”
We saw it in the NFC Championship game last year when everyone was salivating over Russell Wilson looking almost “human.” They came back and won. But they lost Super Bowl 49 on a controversial last play call. Most 12s have moved on. Mostly because we knew that was not our destiny.
Yay, if any team was going to knock down the Panthers a notch or two, it would be Seattle.
But the only team they were beating was themselves.
I was okay with it.
I’ve been kind of in hiding since the Mets lost the World Series. Looking back, I think I was very much in denial about the outcome of it. It was tough because of the deja vu of the series (it reminded me a lot of the New York Rangers Stanley Cup run in 2014). It was tough because the team I had gotten so used to fighting back tooth and nail in each game did not do so. I also knew it was the last time I’d see Daniel Murphy is a Mets uniform. Now that was way more upsetting than losing the World Series. They could theoretically be back. But I wanted Daniel Murphy to be a lifelong Met. Now he’s a National.
I even went to a Seahawks game where they were the visiting team, in Baltimore. I didn’t even want to write about it though it was quite possibly one of the most fun sports road trips I had taken in my life, but also in such a short time period (when I visited Cincinnati in September to follow the Mets). Sometimes, I do lose perspective and forget how good I have it as a sports fan, that I have the ability to travel and do things to support my teams. This trip was not one of those times. I told Ed after the game that I was so happy he had brought this wonderful team into my life.
Ed and I got married in 2010. From a sports perspective, I’ve seen three Rangers visits to the Eastern Conference Final, and they won only one of those to advance to the big dance. I know Ed has not been too happy with how the Utah Jazz have performed (and I used to root for them back in the day, because I loved Stockton but also I didn’t want to be a Chicago Bulls fan, like every fan in America was back then). The Mets were more mediocre with the exception of this year when they actually looked like world beaters. To say the majority of our teams have let us down is an understatement. Especially being a Mets fan, you get used to it.
The Seahawks have been interesting. Though I had attended Jets games and even wore my Mark Sanchez jersey that I still have laying around somewhere (that I also wore to my first visit at CenturyLink Field in 2012), I followed Seattle more because whenever they were on, Ed made it a point to watch them. As I told Michelle MsDodgrBlu yesterday, I didn’t care about football for a very long for two reasons: one, my dad is a Jets fan, and I just didn’t care about watching football (baseball was a lot easier for me to understand and enjoy). The other is that while the rest of America gets to lounge around, watch TV and drink beer and eat wings on Sundays, I worked for several years in my adulthood on Sundays, so I missed many games. It just was not a priority to me.
If you ask Ed or super fan Ramona, Seahawks blogger whose posts on being a 12 I truly enjoy, being a Seahawks fan for several years almost mirrored mine as being a Mets fan. Years of ennui, and the times of joy were also sort of peppered with disappointment along the way. When Ed gave me my Steve Largent lesson, he described him as being both the “Ed Kranepool and Tom Seaver of the Hawks” (longest tenured and “Franchise” player to boot). Yet, I’d almost equate Largent with a Mike Piazza type, the truly talented guy who never won a championship (oh and that’s another bright spot for being a Mets fan in these last few weeks: Mike Piazza will be wearing a Mets cap in Cooperstown).
In contrast with the time period I’ve been following, since late 2010, I’ve witnessed such Seahawks stuff of legend, like “Beast Quake” and breaking the Guinness Book of World Records for noise, and even the NFC Championship game last year against Green Bay and the shanked field goal attempt in Minneapolis last weekend…yes, I’ve kind of borne witness to some really crazy shit in my time. If they ever become “basic” I don’t know what I’ll do (that’s almost a joke…basic will be either winning or losing a game regularly without drama or some shit). The wild part? I wouldn’t have even called myself a “12” or a “fan” at that point. I was just casual. It was visiting Seattle that I really got the essence of being a football fan and why people were crazy about the sport.
Despite all you hear about New Yorkers being crazy and the “best fans,” we are not without our faults or worse (need I remind people that I almost had to break up SEVERAL fights amongst Rangers fans in the playoffs last year), I was forever changed visiting Seattle. I can only imagine what it would be like in Pittsburgh or Green Bay where I know their football is almost like a religion. But there was something special about the city too. I visit other cities to do things. I go to Seattle to just be. Very similar to how I am at home in New York City.
I found my home.
My second home, but home nonetheless.
I’ll stick around.
So take your lessons hard and stay with him
And when your car crash comes, don’t be misled
Convince yourself that everything is alright
‘Cos it already is
Yeah it already is
~ Pete Yorn, For Nancy (‘Cos It Already Is)
My feelings on the football season could almost be washed away very quickly. Maybe it’s from my years of being a sports realist and knowing that my team cannot win everything every single year. Maybe it’s because I know my teams will lose some games, and they will win some games, but maybe just maybe we will have some fun along the way. And there has been a lot of fun along the way.
When the Seahawks were down 31-0 at the end of the first half (seriously), I thought…as long as there is light, there is hope. And I don’t care what anyone says, I’m certain the Panthers had fear that the Seahawks’ devil magic was going to work once again.
What I felt for the Mets as they approached game five in the NLDS this year was that, win or lose, I knew they left it all out there. Then they won the series. Then they swept the NLCS. You wanna know why I felt nothing after they lost the World Series? Because once again, the team that has disappointed me over the years returned. This was the Mets team I knew and came to love. Only love can break your heart, as the saying goes. Sure, I was hurt, but the realist in me says, well, what do you expect, Coop?
The disappointment set in because they didn’t leave it on the field. They basically laid down and died. The only thing that will fix that is by winning in 2016. And I’ll leave it at that.
I was sad yesterday as the Seahawks couldn’t win, sure. I was sad, yet hopeful. As I told Ramona on her Instagram account later, I felt a lot better right after the loss, but it got hard over time. I guess at that point, I knew there was nothing else that could be done. They left it all out on the field, though. They didn’t lay down and die. And really, how many teams would have down 31-0 at the half??
As a fan, you really can’t ask for more than that.
But hours after the game ended, it set in again. Like last year after the Super Bowl loss, it wasn’t the losing and HOW they lost that got to me. It was the loss of that awesome and fun team. I was sad because football season goes on, like life always does, but the Seahawks season did not. So goes life, again.
I go to a hockey game Tuesday night, and Ed will be joining me for the first time in several years. Cursing about the New York Rangers is a state of mind for me. In a few weeks, pitchers and catchers report. Then we will have baseball and summer and all the good stuff that comes along with it, plus an amazing trip to Cooperstown that not only will honor one of my own, but Seattle’s favorite son Junior. Then football season will start again and maybe a miracle Mets run again? Maybe?
Yeah. Everything is all right.
‘Cos it already is.
The New York Sports Lines of Demarcation
A few weeks ago, my New York Rangers twitter friend (joining us from Norway! And no, don’t ask him about A-Ha…I learned my lesson awhile ago), posed this question about who roots for what in New York sports.
I seem to do this every year but I really want an answer this time..Can someone please explain the geopolitical divides of NYC teams?
— Hvem som helst (@Hvemsomhelst) August 3, 2015
It’s an interesting question, one that I have often wondered myself. Because while I live in New York City now, I am a full-blooded Jersey girl, and I’m very proud of my roots. Yet, I loathe the New Jersey Devils with every ounce of my being. But then again, I am a New York Mets fan in baseball. And people often ask why, because of where I grew up in New Jersey, I’d probably be geographically closer to Philadelphia and should be a Phillies fan. But I would also say that Phillies fans are almost an anomaly in my town in NJ, and the lines of demarcation there are distinctly Mets vs Yankees.
Which begs the question…how does one pick a team to root for?
I guess there’s no easy way to answer it, but I will say this: it’s not like being from New England or the Pacific Northwest or friggin Denver where you basically have one team to choose from for each major sport. And even sometimes that is not as cut-and-dry as you’d think. Even take my husband for example, who is a notoriously born-and-bred Bronx boy who loathes the Yankees, and is a huge Mets fan with other geopolitical sports leanings towards the Seattle Seahawks and Utah Jazz (He can also thank me for making him a Rangers fan).
I guess there are six major categories that should determine your rooting interests, there may be more, but off the top of my head, that’s what I’ve come up with: Geography; Family Influence; History; Media; “Collars;” and Marrying Into It. I would also say that many of these are not set in stone (e.g. being from the Bronx and not being a Yankees fan, being from New Jersey and being a Rangers fan). Some are just flipping annoying (don’t get me started on “Giants AND Jets fans.” Mostly, they know there’s a better chance of the Giants winning anything and rooting for the Jets is an exercise in futility).
Also, bear in mind that much of rooting interests in sports are not contingent upon where one is “from” anymore. I have a friend who grew up in New England area, yet is a huge Minnesota Vikings fan (but a Red Sox fan in baseball, that will never change, according to him). Media has changed the rooting landscape, but I would say in New York, it’s pretty simple: you’re either a Mets or Yankees fan (never both, don’t care what anyone says about “I want to see New York win,” you’re just a Yankee fan who wants to say they never gave up on the Mets – just go away already); you’re either a Knicks or Nets fan; you’re either a Rangers or Isles or Devils fan – it’s a WRITTEN rule that you love one team and hate the other two; you’re either a Giants or Jets fan. It’s funny because when I still identified myself as a Jets fan (mostly because – ta da! my dad said he was one), I never hated or disliked the Giants. I just didn’t root for them, despite how successful they may be (I think most Jets fans are blase about it too – but true Giants fans HATE the Jets – go figure).
This one is pretty easy. Basically, wherever you are from, there you are. I live and breathe New Jersey with every fiber of my being. However, you could not pay me enough money to root for the Devils, unless of course I could use that money to move the team to Mars and never hear about them again. I digress. There are exceptions to every rule.
If you’re from Queens, you better be a friggin Mets fan. If you’re from Long Island, you better be a Mets and Islanders fan. If you’re from Queens and/or Long Island (even Brooklyn) remember when the Jets played at Shea Stadium, you better be a Jets fan too.
If your family is from old school Brooklyn and you have a grandparent or great uncle or whoever who went to games at Ebbets Field, chances are you will be a Mets fan now. I know most of this story is elementary to most Baseball 101 fans (this is mostly for my Norwegian friend), but back in 1957, the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York (baseball) Giants picked up and left for the West Coast for who is now the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. If you rooted for either of those teams and have your roots in New York or the tri-state area at least, you could never in good conscience root for the Yankees.
If you’re from Westchester/South Bronx/Upper Manhattan, chances are that you are also a Yankees fan. Proximity to games has a lot to do with team loyalties. And if it’s easier for you to take the D train than the 7, you’ll probably be a Yankees fan.
Football is weird. Both teams have a New York title but reside in New Jersey (go figure), but the Jets used to play in Queens, and therefore have a lot of leanings in that area and also in Long Island. Some folks would rather drop dead from that area than root for the Jets as well. Those people may be transplanted from somewhere else. But then again when I’ve assumed things like someone being from Long Island or grew up in Flushing is automatically a Mets fan, I’ve been wrong. Just like someone guessing that being from New Jersey automatically qualified you as a Devils fan.
Lastly, Connecticut is kind of funny. New Jersey is kind of a free-for-all with Yankees, Mets, Phillies, even some Red Sox thrown in there. Half of CT is geographically closer to the traditional “New England” states, therefore Red Sox territory. But I know plenty of Mets fans in Connecticut too.
As I’m sure you can tell, geography doesn’t dictate all of it. But if you are a Yankee fan living in Queens, there will be some ball busting for sure.
My Pop Pop (Dad’s dad) was a National League baseball fan. No one bothered to ask him while he was still living where his loyalty was (but it was most certainly not the Yankees). I would guess though, he was probably a New York Giants fan, since he took my dad as a young ‘un to the old Polo Grounds. My dad’s been a Mets fan, and in 1983, I had to write what my likes/dislikes were and what my parents liked and disliked. My mom said, “Be sure to write ‘the Mets’ as something Daddy likes.” I asked him about the Mets as he watched a game with a popped open Budweiser can. I started watching. In 1984, I went to my first game. Doc Gooden started. It, as they say, was history. Dad was also a New York Rangers fan from the Broadway Blues era in the 70s. Dad is also a Jets fan. I don’t hold that against him anymore since I left Gang Green.
My point is, if your parents, grandparents, favorite uncle, cousin, former roommate liked a team and had a passion about it, chances are, you will too. I have a friend who said that even though he lived just minutes from Shea Stadium, he is a die hard Yankee fan because of his family influence.
Sometimes if there’s a Mets/Islanders fan, chances are they’re from the Island. If you meet a Mets/Rangers fan, chances are a family member made that choice for them.
Some people are sports geeks. Others are history geeks. Sometimes, you have both. While I am a Mets fan, I would never be a Yankees fan. Not just BECAUSE I am a Mets fan, but because I love the really unique history of National League baseball in New York. There were two teams, they started the expansion out west. If you rooted for either of those teams, you were already an underdog rooter, because they could never beat those stinkin Yankees!
But then history can work the other way. We can say “New York Rangers are O6,” therefore, superior (and that’s actually true). Or “27 RingZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.” Or Broadway Joe Namath. I mean, if you know your shit about a team, salut and root for whoever you fuckin want to. Chances are, if you’re passionate about a team, you’re gonna know their background inside and out. And that’s what makes you a fan.
This doesn’t so much apply to today as yesteryear. As I know several people who grew up in New York or the tri-state area and do not have team affiliations from their region. There may be a Columbus Blue Jackets fan in say, Connecticut, because the Whalers left for Carolina and hockey died in their heart. Or they may have caught a game on TV and decided to make them “their” team. But 30 years ago, media was a lot different than it is now where you were beholden as a consumer to watch whatever sports team your local affiliates made you. As I mentioned earlier, I had friends and family in South Jersey who started root for Phillies/Eagles/Flyers or some variation thereof because they got those channels and had no choice. I know some folks who became Mets fans because of the old WOR-9 and where they were able to get a signal (no kidding). Nowadays we got these kids and their goddamn rock n’ roll rooting for the Texas Rangers because they started following that Adrian Beltre guy and do you think he’s a first ballot Hall of Famer, and oh I’m getting off topic.
I have two friends who started watching the Rangers in NJ because MSG Network was free and Sportschannel (where the Devils games were televised) was a pay channel. Who would’ve paid to watch the Devils back then??? (And before you get started, I do know the Mets were on SC back then…but they were actually watchable and you wanted to buy the channel).
In the New York metropolitan region, you have the white collar executives who wear suits and ties and have a two-martini lunch on a corporate card. Then there are the blue collar types who wear their hard hats and toil in the sub and bring their lunch in a pail.
Yankees are given the nickname “Pinstripes” or rather, wear uniforms with distinct pinstripes to cater to the moneyed-executive (yes, even though the stadium itself is in a shitty-ass area in the Bronx). Yes, Mets also have uniform choices with “stripes” on them, but no self-respecting Mets fan would EVER call them “pinstripes.” We know better. The Mets are geographically closer to Long Island and in the heart of Queens, where many of these blue collars reside. And the Yankees with all that money, how could they EVER root for them?
And yes, there is the whole “corporate America is ruining sports BLAHHHH!” people. The white collars who show up, stare at their phone, and cause it to be quiet in the arenas and stadiums. That’s not to say that you can’t be a true fan if you’re a banker or lawyer or sales person. It’s just the guys getting the tickets sometimes could give a rat’s ass about sports or the teams.
You Marry Into It
I was lucky that I married another passionate Mets fan. It was important that my future spouse knew sports. Otherwise, I’d be spending a lot of time by myself going to games. Someone could go through life not having a sports affiliation, but if your spouse or partner is into it, chances are you’re gonna get into it too. This is certainly not geographically based. If you are from Texas and you marry a native New Yorker, they’ll probably get you into New York sports if you couldn’t care less about the Texas Rangers or Dallas Cowboys. This category is self-explanatory.
I posted a question on Facebook to see about other categories, but I think I have it covered. I’d be interested in getting other feedback as well. And go Mets, Rangers and Seahawks (huh?).
Happiness Is An Option
I wanted to give myself a few days before fully addressing how I felt about the New York Rangers’ 2014-15 season. I’ve gone through the emotions of of sadness to anger and being pissed off and near tears at the same time. I saw a guy wearing a BLUESHIRTS playoff tee in the supermarket, and I got all choked up. A friend of mine told me (not a Rangers fan, to say the least) that this is the most upset he’s seen me as a Ranger fan yet. And it’s true. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way about this team, and it’s not even disappointment, though that’s part of it.
It’s not even my wanting the Stanley Cup – damn, how I wanted that fucking trophy this year – it’s more of a squandering an opportunity kind of thing.
This is the year I realized that it’s getting close to the later years of Henrik Lundqvist. Glen Sather and James Dolan have dicked around to the extent that they could have possibly wasted his best years as a top flight goalie. Guys like Henke don’t grow on trees. He’s a one of a kind player and goalie, someone we’ll be rare to see in our history of Rangers greats. And believe me, there are more players who were *great* but never got the championship than special players who actually did win a championship. But I also think of losing guys like Darren Turcotte and Tony Amonte in 1994, great role players who were traded away for a “win now” attitude that did “win now,” yet ultimately set the team back decades.
Yes, I do realize that they won their only championship that year those two guys were gone. They could’ve forfeited years of multiple titles had they held onto them too. We’ll never know.
So my tears after the last horn sounded, signaling the end of the season, was not because of a loss of a game or a series. It’s almost something of a loss I felt, like it’s the end of an era. I don’t think things will be as storylike as they were this season. When they lost in OT to the hated Devils in the ECF in 2012, I was optimistic. Sure, I hated losing, especially to that team, but I was future thinking. They had the goods, finally, it seemed. Then 2013 rolled around and the abbreviated season just seemed like a wash and the team knew it. Last year, that was a special year. Though I was disappointed in their performance in the Stanley Cup Final, I knew they could hold their head high by being so close to elimination and never gave up till they ran out of gas.
See, THIS was supposed to be the year they had the axe to grind. Losing this game and series, in my opinion, was nothing to be proud. The same old, “Blah blah just to play there is an honor.” Anyone who says they are “just proud to be nominated” is a lying BITCH. My friend Will says that he hates losing more than he likes winning. I could see on the faces of some of the players that the loss got to them. So they could get that emotion, hated losing more than loving to win. That loss last year was supposed to make them hungry for this year. Then backs against the wall and turning it on against the Capitals this year. Every fan I knew was confident that this was the motivation they needed (not, you know, the motivation of accolades and a championship and being beloved by the best city in the world).
And this was just more than how I felt after, say, the Seahawks lost the Super Bowl earlier this year. It was more than a loss of the season or a championship, especially they way they lost. A Seahawks blogger by the name of Ramona over at Dave Krieg’s Strike Beard summed it up eloquently after SB 49: “The sadness I’m feeling isn’t just from the defeat in XLIX, but also from the sudden absence of this wonderful team in my life.”
I felt exactly the same for that Seahawks team. But the absence of the Rangers team from this season…yeah, not one I’m particularly endeared to right now.
I know it’s incredibly difficult to “blow the fucker up,” with salary caps and being able to move guys easily, but if there’s anything close that can be done for the New York Rangers to get Hank some players who aren’t treating GAME FUCKING SEVEN of the ECF like it’s a Tuesday night game in December, or as Will likes to say, “Get Hank some real bitches who can play.” Because the lack of killer instinct or wanting to win or PLAYING NOT TO LOSE (I am a Mets fan…I have enough to deal with regarding that shit), that’s what gets to me.
We live in a world where Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, Anton Stralman or Brad Richards all have a chance for that crowning glory. And we live in a world where Henrik Lundqvist may join the pantheon of great players who may never have an opportunity like this year to win it all. And that just sucks.
If that doesn’t anger you as a fan, I hate to play the “you are not a real fan” card, because that shit pisses me off when it’s said to me…but it should make you upset at the very least. Or as another Twitter buddy Cristina likes to say, it should make you feel as though a part of you has died. Because I know that’s how I felt this year.
I’ve been through a lot of things, being a sports fan. I got over the 2000 World Series pretty quickly. The funny thing was, I felt like that Mets team was on the precipice of something great, then they did a complete 180 and by the way, fuck Steve Phillips and Mike Bordick (hey, my blog, my rules). Yet, most fans would tell you that the 1999 team was the one that fell short and was disappointing. And I will always maintain that losing John Olerud was the hit the Mets should not have taken. And I’m about to get all worked up about what an idiot asshole dickface Steve Phillips was, so I’ll just stop while I’m ahead.
So back to this year. LAST Year was the “rah rah feel good get-em-next-year” year. THIS was the take no prisoners, winner takes all year. I almost threw a shoe at my computer when I read that Martin St. Louis said something to the effect of being proud and waiting till next year. OH FUCK NEXT YEAR. NEXT YEAR WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THIS YEAR. My goodness, I am so angry right now. I could probably throw something else in addition to my shoe.
And the regular season was a feat in and of itself. They lost Henrik for a spell, and the team really stepped up their game to give Cam Talbot, who really has endeared himself to most Rangers fans for his performance in Hank’s absence. It was really a lot of fun to watch them in the regular season. No one seemed to pass the memo onto the team that the President’s Trophy means dick if you can’t bring home the real trophy.
My friend for over 20 years, NotGlen Sather handled it all in stride. Like many, though, I want it to be just more than the 1994 Rangers. But he takes comfort in it, saying that it’s something many generations of Rangers fans ONLY have too. I was also kind of hoping that the year he expects his first child to coincide with a championship for his favorite sport.
I can’t say it wasn’t meant to be. It could’ve been. And that’s what makes me still so angry, two days later.
This one is going to sting for awhile.
It is not easy
the war within us
but it gets easier
the more we learn
I don’t need to win
You don’t have to lose
We can choose
happiness is an option
I bought a small bottle of Prosecco for the Super Bowl this year. Needless to say, I did not open it. While I had entertained using it for mimosas on a lazy Sunday morning, I decided to hold it for what I felt to be a formality in getting to the Stanley Cup this year for the Rangers. I will be moving in a few weeks, and it looks like the Prosecco will be making the move as well.
I’ve always used sports as a form of escapism, and this hockey season has left me void of something. The Chicago Blackhawks won their game seven last night and will be advancing to play the Lightning as well. But I will always believe in my heart of hearts that this could have been the Rangers’ season. You can’t even say they got beat by the better team. They got beat by themselves.
That’s the worst loss of all.
My dad said he’s been a fan for over 45 years and bleeds Ranger blue. This one sucked, but he said losing games like that doesn’t get easier over time. I could choose happiness as my option, but the reality is, I’m too angry to even consider being happy. I guess come back to me when the season starts again. But I’ve learned to not get my hopes up with this team, ever. And that, my friends, really sucks.
Up Against It
News in this city
Breaks without pity
Long after the war has ended
We’re still in fatigues
@Coopz22 @fsolomon75 There she is!
— Jennifer Solomon (@mightyerf) February 2, 2015
I survived Cliff Floyd swinging away per Jerry Manuel’s suggestion. I survived a Mets collapse in 2007, and a denouement in 2008 (suffering PTMD aftereffects today). I had to face New Jersey Devils fans the day after losing a dramatic Game 6 overtime Eastern Conference Final. I had to face the world after the Rangers lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings the next day because I didn’t have a choice.
It’s different this time because I am not only relatively new to being a 12th man, I’m relatively new to the whole football experience. Despite having an allegiance to the Jets really since the 2000s (simply because my dad told me as much), I’ve never been so invested in something as rooting for a city that I loved, that in turn turned me into a football fan. It’s a part of my identity that I struggle with and alternatively makes perfect sense to me. It’s only fitting that while I wouldn’t trade being a Mets fan and Ranger fan for anything in the world, despite the agony they bring me most of the time. I was also born to be a Seahawks fan. I just didn’t know it till three years ago.
Until last night, the Super Bowl was just a way for me to watch commercials and an excuse to eat bad carbs and to hate on a team like the Patriots (which was only solidified last night) and the half time shows. When the game ended in the past, I would look forward that baseball season was literally right around the corner. I know, I have my hockey team, but as you all know by now, baseball is my first true love.
Last night, I paid attention to every single play.
And like watching Henrik Lundqvist crestfallen after losing to the Devils and Kings, like seeing Carlos Beltran’s face in the Mets dugout on the last play at Shea in 2008, I saw the faces of my adopted home city team. And I felt *it* all right.
I am a 12. For better or worse, I am a 12th Man. And there’s nothing I can do about it but accept it.
Don’t want to discuss it
I think it’s time for a change
You may get disgusted
And think I’m strange
In that case I’ll go underground
Get some heavy rest
Never have to worry
About what is worst and what is best
Oh oh Domino
There were several different angles I could’ve taken for this post. Had the Seahawks won last night, this post would’ve been called “The Hawking Dead.” The premise of it was my Seattle trip in November, which was borne from ironically my baseball fandom. I never had a chance to write about it, and I figured, it would be repetitive anyway.
Picture it: summer of 2014, Ed and I went to Seattle to follow the Mets. We had another mission: to get as much Seahawks merchandise as we could. When we tried to plan another baseball trip to Cincinnati, to see the Mets, we found the prices to be staggering. To go to OHIO. Driving wasn’t really an option. And I started joking that, oh hey, we can probably get cheaper airfare to Seattle in November for your birthday to see the Hawks.
I opened the travel websites. “OH LOOK HONEY! It IS cheaper!” Then the snowball got bigger and bigger, till finally we couldn’t ignore the fact that we didn’t just want to go back to Seattle, we wanted to see the Seahawks at home the year they were still Champions. The Cincy trip was scrapped till 2015. The Seattle trip was on.
The Hawking Dead was the working title because I had likened my turn to the Seahawks side as turning into a zombie, something I couldn’t control, something I didn’t think I wanted till I got it. Well, maybe being a walker isn’t something we want, but whatever. When I went to the game this time, it was natural. It felt right. We get off the light rail, and walk to the stadiums (Safeco Field is open with beer and food specials, and highlights from the “morning” games). Yet, we weren’t the only people. It was like a march, people doing their rituals, but everyone (save the few New York Giants fans, who also made the trip) was dressed in their Hawks gear and chanting and doing their gameday rituals.
My husband and I have some game day rituals too. Last year, the championship season, we made it a point when there was a nationally televised game, we’d order Domino’s. I know, it’s sacrilegious, living in New York City, but during the Super Bowl in 2013, I saw a Domino’s delivery guy in our lobby. I told Ed, “You know, I want their bread sticks.” Ed doesn’t eat pizza, but he likes their pasta bread bowls. That night, though, they had a modified menu, and he had to get chicken nuggets and plain bread sticks. Last year, they did away with their bread sticks, only cheesy bread. But the pasta bread bowl/cheesy bread thing worked for a good year.
This year, the juju stopped working. Against the Cowboys, we did our thing, and it didn’t work. So I said, we need to find something else, because it’s officially “weird.” He said, well, maybe we need to get something else instead of our “usual”. So I started to make my own pastas, and lo and behold, they were winning again. OF COURSE our game day ritual had something to do with it. And we even changed our bars for the non-televised games. We stopped going to a place we really loved and started going to, ironically, a Patriots bar, but they always had the Seahawks game on for us.
Going to the games, you can’t describe the feeling. If you’re not a football fan, and I will always maintain I never really cared for it, but I loved tailgating and live games, you can’t help but get caught up in the 12-ness of it all.
Not to mention, I love Seattle, can see all my favorite sights from the stadium, and love to take walks after the game. It’s not like you can do anything else. Try jam packing nearly 70,000 people in one area, and have them all go to the train at the same time! Just writing about it, I can visual it, and FEEL the area. I miss it right now. I really wish I was there right now.
We figured, maybe there was a glitch in the matrix, and that’s why they lost that game. Also, we did have to take into consideration that, well, our superstitions don’t mean jack, and they only make US feel better.
Till then, we kept the ritual. And on Super Bowl Sunday, we had breakfast at the same place we did last year, and I grabbed coffee with a friend like I did last year. Then we watched Law & Order: SVU until time for the pregame show.
Our rituals may give us comfort. But in reality, that’s the only thing. It’s a defense mechanism, just like my stupid hashtag, #GivingUpSportsForKnitting.
Because I was so invested in football this year, I started to muse if I wasn’t a sports fan, what would like be like? Instead of, “It’s A Wonderful Life, Coop,” it was more of a thinking that, I need a new hobby that’s less stressful. Like knitting.
Poor @Coopz22 , looks like she really will #giveupsportsforknitting
— Tom Delgado (@RealTomDelgado) February 2, 2015
So by now, I’m sure most of you know the risky call that blew up in the Seahawks faces and literally caused them to lose the game. The narrative shifted from, the Seahawks are the real deal and Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll et al have built a dynasty and blah blah blah. Yet it’s all about Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and blah blah blah. I’ve always had an unhealthy hate for the Patriots. Now I have to hear about it from all their shit talking fans who don’t show up during the game and gloat only after they win.
By the same token, though, if the Seahawks use the Patriots “dynasty” as a model – in 13 years and winning four championships. I think most of us wouldn’t trade that for any of our teams.
— Unreal_MsDodgrblu (@msdodgrblu) February 2, 2015
Last night was different. Last year, Ed sat watching the game, even with a significant lead, late in the game, he wouldn’t let himself believe until the very last second. Last night, he was cool and collected. Me, I felt off. Even with a lead, I didn’t feel comfortable. So many things didn’t go the way of the team. And if you look at the rest of the game, you’ll realize that it’s not the last 30 seconds that made the game. Marshawn Lynch even said it was a team effort, and they win as a team, they lose as a team.
Even as a die hard Mets fan, I never blamed Tom Glavine for his shitty ass performance on the last day of 2007. It didn’t help, of course. Yet, when I look at the team performance in September, THAT was why they lost. It shouldn’t have come to that game. Last year, when the Rangers were in the Stanley Cup Final, they blew not one, not two, but THREE late leads that led to overtime wins for the Kings. THAT was the difference. Not that they lost game five. They were lucky there WAS a game five.
Instead, our Domino’s ritual became a punch line, since I threw a plate of breadsticks with hot sauce and blue cheese after the blown play, and well, I had some cleaning up to do. Thank goodness for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. And paint. And strategically placed artwork.
Yes, I realize now it wasn’t just about the last minute of the game. Try rationalizing that while you’re watching.
I could never give up sports for knitting. I wouldn’t be able to keep it real with assholes like Shane Victorino (#BlameShaneVictorinosMothersUterus) or Cody Ross (you’re GARBAGE), and well, if I have one place to be an asshole fan, it’s CitiField.
“@ShaneVictorino: Tom Brady = Greatness 🏈🏈🏈” shove a brick up your ass sideways. Kthxbye
— The Coop (@Coopz22) February 2, 2015
As Mrs. Senor Solly said earlier, there she is. Or rather there I am. I’ve always been here. I’m not going away.
The game ended, and I start hearing about Super Bowl Champions The New England Patriots, and I told Ed, can we please watch some baseball or something.
So MLB Network was on, and I got to hear familiar strains of my favorite season of all. Lo and behold, pitchers and catchers is right around the corner.
It’s 64 days till Opening Day, it will soon be spring, the Stanley Cup playoffs are right around the corner, and before we know it, we’ll be following the Seahawks to Baltimore for our first “road trip road trip” (since all our Seahawks games are road trips, technically, for us anyway).
I woke up this morning, and it was snowing. Perhaps it would’ve been more appropriate if it was raining. It rains every time we go to a sporting event in Seattle. But, rain also means change, it means growth, it means renewal.
Win or lose, last night, it was the end of a fun fuckin’ year for football. And it’s really the first time I’ve genuinely meant it.
In the great game of life, you win some, you lose some. Being a 12 is a lot more than rooting for the Seattle Seahawks. You have to genuinely understand the amount of pride this team brings to the city and the Pacific Northwest region. It’s a state of mind, maybe not unlike being a “walker,” but a conscious and very much alive walker.
Like many of the losses I’ve witnessed with my teams, it’s tough but you rationalize it. You accept it. It gets better. Well, it BETTER get better. The feeling can’t get much worse than what we all felt last night.
This team will be motivated and not let the loss get to their heads. They’ll learn from it, they’ll have a chip on their shoulder because of it. And hopefully, put the finishing touches on another winning year next year.
Till then, baseball and hockey will be a place holder. The celebratory champagne will wait in the fridge for another day. It’s okay to hurt. We’ll be up against these feelings throughout the years, it goes with the territory of being a fan.