"It was a Wednesday. There was snow on the ground," I said in my 1950’s cop voice. But it actually was a Wednesday four days before the Superbowl, and there was snow on the ground, I lived in Northern Idaho. I remember sitting in the campus computer lab compiling stats on why my Seahawks were better than the Pittsburg Stealers. Yes, I misspell their name like that on purpose. I don’t know why, but that is what my fingers do.
So there I am sitting at a college computer, looking at any meaningful data as to why my team was going to win the Super Bowl, instead of trying to write my paper on . . . uh, ya, I don’t remember. I mean it has been seven years, and the thing I remember from that day is that I was a ravenous fan, anticipating the biggest day of his long fandom. You see I was born in November of ’79 so no Seattle team had won a championship in my lifetime. This was going to be the week. I just knew it. We were the #1 seed and had every statistical backing to support my bloated and naïve confidence. Because, I mean really? A #6 seed?
And then, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada, bing, bang with his younger brother boom and we are seven years removed from that painful experience and no richer in Lombardi gold. I mean that is what this is really all about, right? I just want to strike the dirt that pays, or as most people call it – hit pay dirt. And I want to get mother freaking filthy dirty. You guys still following my metaphor? I’m talking about Championships. I want a lot of them. In fact, to some degree, I don’t feel that my fanship will fully sail without reaching the Promised Land.
As a city we’ve had a few legitimate shots, not many, but a few. The foremost for me were the ’94 Sonics, the ’01 Mariners, and the previously mentioned ’05 Hawks. We’ve had other playoff appearances as well, but those were the opportunities that felt like the proverbial teams of destiny. And were all followed by a certain level of despair and loathing.
And then there was this last week with the loss to the Falcons. I keep reading how we should be happy that we achieved far more than would have thought possible in September, or after the first St. Louis game, or after the Miami game. We are where most franchises would love to be, and fanbases dream about—the cusp of a glorious Super bowl window. So why do I even have these lasting feelings of disappointment and self-pity? Why did I learn about lines of impropriety by sullenly joking with coworkers that I had a death in the family last weekend?
Don’t worry, these questions aren’t just rhetorical. I have an answer to them. It is because I thought this year’s team was another team of destiny or T.O.D, as I like to call him. Because Tod is the friend that we would all like to hang out with. He is tall, charming, and ridiculously good looking. He makes you feel like you are the only girl, er . . . fan in the room. He gives lofty promises of taking you to places that you have never been. And for me, I’ve never been there. In fact, I want to go so badly that I start to believe that I am the only girl, dang it . . . fan, Tod is flirting with. And in the end, I spent a lot of time, money and hopeless dreams riding on his wagon to nowhere. He even had a band on that wagon, and it was awesome.
In September, I would have been happy with 9-7 and a playoff trip. Wait, it was better than that? Whoa, I should have been elated. But here I am cursing Tod for his broken promises. I wasn’t the only one believing it. Football Outsider’s DVOA had us as the best team in their end of season funky percentages. Not only were we the best team, but we were the hottest team in the NFL too. No, it’s true. December changed all of our perceptions so much that when the month was over, we were all wearing a big fat engagement ring that Tod had somehow slipped onto our fingers. We were just anxiously awaiting the wedding in New Orleans next month. I mean, I’d bet I wasn’t the only one to check Stubhub for Super Bowl tickets.
And so here we are – ringless, Todless, and another season gone by. I’ve even at times questioned my fanhood. Is this all really worth it? Do the sum of all the parts bring me more joy than misery? Or am I simply a masochist that derives joy from the misery that my teams inevitably provide? No, I think I’m like the normal fan that is happy when my team wins, sad when they lose, ecstatic when they destroy the Niners in primetime, and despondent when they underperform the outrageous expectations I put on them.
Aye, and there’s the rub – my expectations. I’m not going to go into a deep philosophical discussion on the issue, but I believe that expectations are the root of much of our sorrow in life. Is a rich kid unhappy if he has to drive a Nissan Sentra? You bet, because he expects to drive a Porsche and when that reality doesn’t correspond to his expectations then he feels a whole range of negative emotions. Many of us would be thrilled to have a new Sentra because our current income level dictates a certain level of expectations of driving standards.
Now let’s not mince definitions here. There is nothing wrong with high expectations. The whole point I’m trying to make is that expectations rarely work out the way we want them to. I just need a healthy reminder every now and then not to let my emotions be governed by circumstances out of my control.
I’m so over you Tod. I choose not to be seduced by your stunning abs and chiseled features. I did have a great time at the party this year, and none of it had to do with you. There were moments that I will truly cherish as a fan.
And fortunately for our franchise, we are not driving a Sentra. We have just been given the keys to a brand new Porsche a la Russell Wilson and company. Just remember to drive responsibly.