I know this would have been more suitable to write right before Pete Carroll’s first season as coach, when I didn’t really buy what that guy was selling at all. Still, I think it’s kind of important to write right now considering Seahawks fans have expectations (which are rare for us long term fans) and haters (rarer still).
It’s been a love affair for more than twenty years of my almost thirty years of existence. I’ve put plenty into this love affair on my end -- there’s a lifetime of memories, a bunch of t-shirts, three player jerseys (M. Sinclair, L. Tatupu, M. Lynch), trains, buses (from Greyhound to charter) and automobiles to and from the Sodo District and Husky Stadium. There’s been dates that have never materialized, hopes through forest fires, questions that have interrupted the French Revolution unit, multi-state transactions, High School haters both when I went to school up until today, various screens I’ve viewed the Seahawks from, various comestables, specific "Get the bill now!" routines, superstitions, routines, freak outs, achievements and disappointments. All for a team I’ll never make a dollar from but spend plenty of dollars for. I’ve made fast friends and been irritated by friends because of the Seahawks. I’ve been graded on a Seahawks presentation, I’ve done Blue Fridays (sometimes, I’m not very good at it), bonded with my father over them, had my family concerned of my anger because of them, and really, all I’ve gotten was some dap and a couple signatures on my hat from two of them. (I also danced with a Sea Gal, but only for a quick couple of seconds. She favorited that tweet I mentioned her in, too. Maybe I should let go of this.)
But I’ll always cheer for the Seahawks. No matter if they’re 15-1 or 1-15. I cheer for them because I don’t know of any other way to watch football. I cheer for them because I have history on my side, looking forward to the future.
Also because someone asked me, "Why do you watch the Seahawks? They’ve never won anything. Rings are all that matter."
I watch the Seahawks because…
--It got me closer to my Dad. Before my father passed away I had the privilege of going to three Seahawks games with him.
The internet tells me the details of this one: It was a dreary November day in Seattle, and my father and I were about to go to a normally drearier place: The King County Domed Stadium. We were there for some father son time, and also to see… The Seahawks against the Cleveland Browns! (I am 3,000% sure this game didn’t sell out.) Details were sketchy but I remember some tomfoolery early, not much from the Cleveland side, and walking out satisfied with 1:45 left because the Seahawks had the ball and were going to win. 22-5 was your final game. I remember getting used to not hearing announcers during the game, which was good, because NBC probably sent some E-Team guys to announce a game seen in few homes and fewer sports bars. (Box: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/199311140sea.htm)
The second game I went to with him was in un-renovated Husky Stadium -- the only time I’d been on a charter bus for football. It was a cold day and I didn’t know if our seats were undercover or not. I got the birthday present, I think, two days before this game. I remember giving my dad a big hug while he sat down, and my step-mom a big hug while she probably sat down. Also my little brother went along! (I think I gave him a high five. It’s how we did things!) Anyway, a few details without the internet:
Oh it rained that day. We were up in the double letter section at the Dawg House and were undercover. Also we were surrounded by empty blocks of seats. It was a game against the Broncos that almost sold out -- CBS allegedly paid for all the seats that didn’t get sold so it would be locally televised. THIS IS AFC WEST FOOTBALL IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THE PEASANT FOLK TO SEE THE GAME! (Again, this is from a simpler time when games weren’t impossible to get tickets to.) I remember keeping a poorly written journal from that game my friend looked at and said "Oh, did I tell you I hate the Offspring?" in our postgame autopsy. I remember the Broncos had just a little more firepower (Mike Anderson 80 yd run to end the scoring) and were just a little more timely that game and won, 38-31. One weird thing I remember is the crowd going wild for San Diego winning by a point over the Chiefs, as it was San Diego’s first win of the year. (Box: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/200011260sea.htm)
The third and final game I went to Dad with was that next year, back at Husky Stadium. It was Raiders v. Seahawks. I had somehow bought tickets for a few people in Oregon to come and watch using someone else’s season ticket number (which I got called on for, but the ticket guy still sold me the tickets!). The catch? They were Raiders fans. Anyway, again it rained, but this time we were in the west endzone in the temporary bleachers they had at Husky Stadium. Yeah, the ones right in front of the sani-cans. This game had myself and my Dad sitting with five Raiders fans and one other Seahawks fan. The first thing I remember from this game? The dude who I bought the tickets for brought his wife and three other cousins/friends. They were nice Christians so no shanking. How nice? The guy’s wife gave me a bear hug before we could shake hands. Out in the rain! Thanks, dear.Random memory: I was talking with the guy I bought the tickets for and Al Davis sped by in a golf cart seven feet in front of us. Tangible memory: Shaun Alexander’s 88-yd touchdown run came RIGHT AT US. Awesome. That was a loud moment. Quote from the next time we IM’ed each other: Him: "That wasn’t a very good game." Me: I thought it was great! I gave you a hug when the game was over, you seemed alright with it." Him: "Yeah, that made Shaun Alexander’s 266 rushing yards ALL go away…" Haha. (Box: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/200111110sea.htm)
Anyway, my all time record of watching Seahawks games in person with my Dad is 2-1. It’ll never change. Miss you, Dad. So me stopping watching the Seahawks would be letting a piece of my father and my relationship decompose like leaves in October.
--It has, at times, been the one bright spot in my life as I battle depression and anxiety.
True and sad story: I have been sliding deeper and deeper into a depression ever since December of 2012, when my head got hit by a box full of other, heavier boxes. That accident concussed me, that concussion affected my mental health and still does to this day. I’ve been in and out of therapists offices, in and out of the emergency room, and (possibly worse of all) in and out of psych wards. I have a team of doctors on my side, but… even that is frustrating. The red tape that I have to deal with to get doctors to share information has been… yuck. There have been super lean days. I’ve gone nuts on social media, I’ve been a hazard to myself, I cry a lot, I am afraid of things I can’t believe give me fear, I’ve missed work for lengthy chunks of time, I’ve… been… a… wreck. What’s gotten me through it?
The promise of the championship season. My therapist and I talk every week about the Seahawks before we delve into the therapy stuff, which is refreshing. My primary doctor always gives me grief because of my sports picks. He goes against me to be contrarian a lot, which is okay, especially when he’s wrong and when he correctly gets me to be healthy. (He always says there’s nine minutes of real gameplay during three plus hours of football. Pshh…) But even he loves the Seahawks! We’ll talk about the game, he’ll usually go "Oh-ho ho" after a loss and try to tie the result into my diagnosis. On the non-medical side… the Seahawks just give me hope. I mean, they’re young, their season ended really horribly (and it rained blood every day since then. Thanks for the quote, GQ!) and most of the players on that playoff team are still here for this season. I hope a lot from them, but I think it’s been justified. Justified enough for me to stay here on this mortal coil to check it out. I believe in an afterlife. I don’t want to risk going south for eternity and watching football on Sunday at Gregg Easterbrook’s sports bar in hell -- I’ll stay right here instead of taking my chances of taking the proverbial elevator up or down.
--There’s nothing better than a lazy football Sunday. It’s better when you have a team to root for! I demand that my future roommate has the cable package with NFL RedZone.
--This team’s provided me the worst football moment ever… It wouldn’t be right unless it was bookended with the best moment ever. A lot of y’alls here think the Superb Owl (XL) was the worst moment in franchise history. I have memories of something that was, personally, worser still than that.
Seahawks v. Rams, October 10, 2004. The Seattle Seahawks were undefeated and coming off of one of those early season byes. My roommate and I went down to this game because we felt we had deserved it and I was still going through pain after losing my father. The Hawks had just gobsmacked the 49ers in Week 3, 34-0. NFL Countdown had a feature in which they manufactured the rumor that Mack Strong’s birthname was "Wilbert Tissue." My roommate made a sign that had that on it. More about this sign later. Anyway, we were seated next to St. Louis fans who had jack crap to cheer about all game, and with seven minutes left, the Seahawks were up 27-10. Exit stage right, Rams fans sitting near us! I picked up the program they had bought and started reading it because there’s a lot of interesting things in a football program! Uhm, speaking of interesting, the Rams decided to air it out for the rest of the game. Boom, yards were eaten up in bunches. Bam, touchdown Brandon Manuma… something. Three and out, Seattle, Rams get it again. Boom, bam, touchdown again! Kevin Curtis 41 yard TD reception. Three and out again, oh sh… Rams kick field goal. Clock runs out. Tie game. Nobody feels good -- everyone is either ecstatic (Rams fans that stayed around -- all seven of them. Two other ones near us!) or feels like crap (Seahawk fans). Rams win the coin toss because of course. Rams get ball near midfield and throw it to Shaun McDonald, open down the near sideline. That was the first day Shaun McDonald had ever played football, and he caught the GW TD pass. My roommate’s Wilbert Tissue sign was torn into millions of pieces. Bonus points in this game because it was the first time I ever drank Miller High Life -- in a parking lot, after the game, as a twenty year old. (Box: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/200410100sea.htm)
That season also featured the Dallas meltdown, Shaun Alexander getting "stabbed in the back" and THREE LOSSES TO ST. LOUIS. But I’ll always remember that first one. I can’t leave you, Seattle, until you give me some Super Bowl yang to that worst football memory yin I have.
--I’ve rooted for some awful quarterbacks because of the Seahawks. Now, the chosen one has arrived. Hopefully. QB roll call!!! (These are guys I remember rooting for. Why do I remember it? Because with the exception of one of them I’ve made fun of them) Stan Gelbaugh, John Friesz, Rick Mirer, Jon Kitna, Warren Moon, Trent Dilfer, Glenn Foley(!), Brock Huard (!!), Matt Hasselbeck (best Seahawk QB ever… but I grew tired of his glass bones), Seneca Wallace, CHARLIE FRYE, Charlie Whitehurst, Tarvaris Jackson (sigh). The one who I have not been pissed off by is #3 -- Russell Wilson. (Bonus story: I saw someone with a Matt Flynn jersey. Paid for. They wore it one year later. To a Seahawks event. I hope they know how to spell Kearse. Masking tape that Flynn right off your back! No need for shame.)
--I caught shit for two years because I put duct tape on my Michael Sinclair jersey. Hey, he went to the Broncos and I was still in High School -- I had book smarts, not clothing smarts. (I still don’t have clothing smarts.) He then went to the Eagles and then went… home. To sleep on his massive piles of money, I think.
--There are haters in my town. Which town? Bellingham, Washington. The guy who asked me why I root for the Seahawks when they don’t have rings? That’s one. Let’s travel back in time to a sixteen year old GoodKeith being told "The Seahawks suck!" every time he wore his Seahawks garb around this one kid at high school! Witness that same young GoodKeith being told to burn his jersey after the Seahawks lost to the Dolphins in the playoffs in the last playoff victory ever for Dan Marino -- the game that closed the Kingdome for good! (GoodKeith also swore in hurch over this game. It is true!) An older GoodKeith discovered the miracle of sports bars and fans of other teams in Bellingham giving the Seahawks crap! (Hilariously, those giving the most crap were fans of the EAGLES and FALCONS, two other teams who have won as many SB’s as the Seahawks). Watch as a fully matured GoodKeith gets immature over people calling RW3 a "game manager", whatever that is! And finally, react as GoodKeith ignores all the comments on all of the articles… except the ones he writes.
Oh yeah, I was working at a track meet wearing a "Russell Knows" shirt. One of the student workers walked up and said "I don’t like your shirt." THANKS I GUESS.
--I’ve made great connections because of the Seahawks. One love, Jacson.
--I just can’t quit this team. Sure they’ve had more downs than ups, they’ve blown some games in which it looked inconceivable that they would fail, they hired Jim Mora Jr. as a coach, they almost moved to Los Angeles (and I still hate Ken Behring), they opened their brand new stadium with a loss to Arizona, they drafted Aaron Curry, they signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh (and cut him during the pre-season one year! Unbelievable), they change something about their uniforms every two years (did anyone else notice flat matte blue helmet paint this year?), they have torn my heart out in person and from thousands of miles away, fans of every other team pretty much hate the Seahawks because they’re too brash/hit too hard/have too many PED suspensions (can’t believe that’s a real thing), they wear silly uniforms from outer space, they play a thousand miles away from everyone, their coach can’t succeed at the NFL level and his legacy’s a joke, but... the future’s brighter than ever. Brighter than the neon green on their uniforms. The Seahawks draft really well, their players compete for every inch just like Al Pacino demanded in Any Given Sunday, they believe in each other, they have something to prove, and they seem genuinely impressed by their fans.
That’s the biggest thing. The Seattle Seahawks seem genuinely impressed by their fans and feel as if they owe the fans something, not vice versa. Yeah, us fans that have watched the Seahawks for a long, long time, us fans that turn CenturyLink Field into the world’s loudest mosh pit, the fans that have stuck with the team through thick and thin, the fans that turn every Seahawks event into a maximum capacity situation, the fans that have worn Seahawk jerseys with pride for one day or since day one. It might be a cliche, but this seems to be what has resonated throughout this entire offseason -- The Seahawks are obviously out there to make their money, but the reason they perform so well is dedicated to us fans. That’s a team I can get behind, and if history weren’t a factor in my decision, then this team would be super easy to love because of the bolded print listed above.
I’ve typed too much -- Feel free to add your reasons in the comments!