Please, Please, Please win it all this year

Mike McGinnis

It is a pretty easy thing to ask, after all. It is not as if we aren't talking about a team full of professional athletes who exist in the upper echelon of the genetics lottery. It's not like we aren't talking about a coach who once upon a time made college football boring to watch by dominating it. It is not like we aren't talking about a potential God-King for a franchise quarterback.

Again, it is a pretty easy thing to ask.

You may wonder: Why do we need this so bad?

Answer: Because if football really is the sport of parity, than we deserve one dammit.

You see, I have been through the Dave Kreig miraculous 4th quarter heroics; driving the ball the length of the field only to either end it on intentional grounding or a mysterious backwards fumble/pass. Easley patrolling the field, and Largent laying one out right before Warner had to hang his spikes up. I have lived through watching Bo Jackson transcend sports on the backs of my local blue and silver. I have watched as we selected Dan McGwire, and Rick Mirer, and god knows who else as a quarterback. Lived through Dennis Erickson and Ken Behring "let's throw everything in a truck tonight before they know it." Sat in the nose bleed seats at the Kingdome while a bad Redskins team was made to look good, sat in the frigid evening air of Husky stadium while Jon Kitna was asked to look passable; watched as Warren Moon attempted to recapture some of his Husky, CFL and Oilers glory. But it is more than this team, more than this sport. Championships are an element of being a sports fan in Seattle that we have not yet tasted. Sure there were the 78-79 Sonics (or the 1996 finals where we drove MJ to 6 games), or the Storm and Sounders and Huskies, or that one time the Mariners AND Sonics were good. But it wasn't until I moved across the country to upstate NY and it's rabid fan base for the Yankees, Giants, Patriots or Red Sox (no one likes the Jets and Mets anywhere as far as I can tell) that you see just how far outside the sports lexicon Seattle really is.

I moved here shortly before Superbowl XL. Watched that game, my first taste of being able to root for my team and not just playing pick a side, on a little 21" CRT television as we became yet again the side story to "One for the thumb" and the Bettis retirement party. Recorded the game on a VHS tape subsequently labeled "Superbowl XL: wherein Refs cheat". Went to work the following day and received looks of "Ouch, sorry pal". Over the years I have endured listening to the Manning/Brady debate. Every year had the Hawks deservedly laughed off as just one of those teams that happened to get lucky at the right time. Every year had to engage in conversations about every team BUT the Seahawks.

It's not like it is that hard. Anyone that grew up in the 80s of Seattle sports knows the trick of picking your "other" teams. We may not admit it now, but everyone I knew at that time had themselves an other. Mine were the Niners because of a familial connection to the bay area (which has led to a massive existential crisis in the aughties), the Red Sox (just as painful choice until 10 years ago) because of Roger Clemens striking out 20 M's in a game that in a mirror moment I watched on a swiveling TV that needed a flashlight pointed at the light sensor to stay bright enough whilst I lay in the shag rug of a 70s tract home; and the Bulls, because, the Bulls. It didn't really matter your reasoning as to why you picked the team you did, you always just had another team. In the end I am pretty sure this experience of finding others to cheer on just to watch post season play isn't as singular as we would all like to think now that Seahawks appear to be potential winners again.

And the thing is: that all changed for a 15-20 year period. The Mariners won 116 games, and then let Aaron Sele (from my alma mater of NKHS on the shores of Liberty Bay) pitch to a loaded Yankees lineup who just sat on his 12-6 curve. The Seahawks became relevant for a decade, and the Sonics were stolen out from under our nose (although it should have been apparent the minute Schultz bought the team that expansion into the midwest was bound to happen). In a way, I wish we hadn't tasted the beginnings of success. Hadn't watched that sweet swing of Junior's slip one into the right field porch, hadn't watched Luis Sojo or Edgar lace doubles down the line, or saw Mr. Snappy in person; hadn't experienced Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson hold down the weakside block so dazzingly that they made Shaun Alexander seem like a franchise running back; watched the Glove dish the rock for the Inside Jam of the Reign Man. That taste of success merely just stoked the fire for every potential joke that a Seattle team fan has had to endure while living outside the confines of the Pacific Northwest. Convinces one who has relocated so far away from home for stretches at a time that they need to get a hat and jersey just to feel some sort of connection to the muted, gloomy shared pain of a sports city dying, pleading, hoping for a champion. A city and fan base no matter how spread out across this miraculous blue marble that have obsessed over an off-season and watched, read and believed every portion of this team's new age philosophy and robot like precision.

Sure we have the Sounders and Storm et al. And they are outright champions that play extremely good ball for their respective sports. Someday when this country has integrated soccer and the WNBA into their reality, these franchises will go down as historic. The Man U and Celtics of their day. But for someone who has to endure Giants fans on the regular, has to listen to Patriots fans go through the catharsis of yet another season, having a major sports championship is all that can matter when working through the shared conversation of our national past times. I am positive that if Seattle wins the Super Bowl this year, there will be a story. PEDs or the read-option (as much of a McGuffin as that truly is), or another version of the "Fail Mary" or any other number of things that a Seattle team MUST need to win a championship (like a 7-9 season to get into the playoffs, or RGIII going down, etc etc etc). But for one fan who often longs for a nice overcast Puget Sound day, one championship will be enough to at least feel connected again and that side story won't matter.

So there it is Russell(s), Pete, Max, Earl, Richard, Brandon and Marshawn. That is the plea of a Seattle sports fan that has watched this franchise go up and down with the tides. Some times carrying in that wonderful late summer wind and more often than not leaving that smell in our collective consciousness like a tide that has been low for too many days.

Please, please, please win one for the rusted.

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