My daughter Lucie has been attending games at Qwest/CenturyLink since she was 10 months old. That was the year we went to the Super Bowl the first time. In the next few years that followed she cheered for the Seahawks, but it's safe to say she didn't really understand the complexities of the game.
In recent years, as her capacity for learning has increased, she's picked up more about the game. She's become very astute for her age. Seahawks games have been one of the most effective bonding agents we've had, since both her parents are writers and sometimes get stuck in their own heads. We kind of need to have more outings. In spite of that, she's grown to love football in an organic way -- fascinated by the process, using football as a means to learn everything from mathematics to public relations. She used to make a lot of elaborate homemade signs for the games she attended, but scrapped the practice earlier this season because "it was getting hard to carry around."
This year she started screaming, in accordance with the customs of the 12th Man. One week, when we played the Cardinals at home, we brought homemade cookies to share with the rest of the people in our immediate proximity. (This is something of a Christmas tradition with our family, actually - Section 328, rows U-V, seats 16-24 always got our cookies in December games.) Lucie handed out the cookies during the drive when the Seahawks scored in the fourth quarter. Everybody in the section credited the cookies with having caused that score, like Mike Blowers' free garlic fries at M's games. Unfortunately we ran out and the Cardinals won the game. But before that, after we scored, everyone pointed at Lucie and said "It was the cookies! It was the cookies!"
We didn't bring cookies to the NFC Championship so that's kind of beside the point. The point is that the people in my section have really treated my daughter well over the last nine years.
She's been asking me about the Super Bowl for years. "Have the Seahawks ever gone?" "What was the result?" "How many times have the Seahawks played for the championship?" Kids and their questions. These I had answers to.
Anyway, what I'm saying is, this evening, the girl who was barely one year old when she heckled Jay Feely into missing all those field goals in that 2005 game against the Giants, who's used her love for the Seahawks to give herself actual learning moments, the girl who would like nothing more than to hand-deliver a bag of Skittles to Marshawn...
Well, this girl, now 9, went with me to the NFC Championship tonight. Even when I was surly at certain points in the game, she remained cheerfully optimistic. She was loving the experience, the way she always does. She was screaming.
And when Sherman tipped that Kaepernick pass into Malcolm Smith's hands, she turned to me, jumped into my arms, and shouted "We're going to the Super Bowl!"
Maybe you had to be there, but for a parent to see her kid so happy, after waiting quite literally her entire life for the moment... well, it was pretty sentimental. She's earned it.
That's what this game is all about.
OK, I'm done. See you guys on Groundhog Day.