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.
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.
It’s Only Weird If It Doesn’t Work
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.
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.
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.
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.
And 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.
Gotta hand it to Seattle, between the 12th man and the Sounders fans, they make a good argument for best sports fans in America.
— Julie DiCaro (@JulieDiCaro) February 3, 2014
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.
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.
Then they made it to the big game. Then they won a championship.
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.
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.
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.
One 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.
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.
And trust me, we know from weird.