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Vision Qwest: A Kinder, Gentler, Quieter 12th Man

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As you might know, this whole crowd noise controversy is just eating me up inside. Can't sleep at night, calling my kid by a different name, ordering all-you-can-eat shrimp at the Red Lobster and only being able to finish one plate. Gosh, but I feel terrible.

I feel the pain of those peoples, whoever they might be, who allege that the Seahawks somehow pipe artificial crowd noise into Qwest Field, putting opposing teams at an unfair disadvantage in communication.

I beseech you -- let us not judge whoever these entities might be. Let us instead be compassionate towards them, since their agony is so unbearable that they have hidden themselves from view and not let their identities seep out.

These people need not tell us how they believe artificial crowd noise is delivered to Qwest Field. We have no information on how they believe this diabolical plan has been carried out.

For example, maybe they believe that the artificial crowd noise comes through a giant offshore pipeline. Or perhaps they think the crowd noise is being beamed down to us via satellite. Maybe they believe the Sea-Gals can manipulate the physics of sound with Bluetooth technology in their pom-poms.

Again, I beg you, do not judge any of these reasonable, fathomable scenarios that they haven't explained to us yet! Have clemency on these complainants, for they all have a soul and a face, despite their total anonymity.

O, how I long for the days when football used to be played in front of quiet, emotionally detached home crowds, who were slow to cheer their teams' successes because they might make the opponents feel bad. Ah, to return to the era of the NFL when all visiting teams got thumbs-up signs of approval from the crowd. What happened to such docile sportsmanship? What have we become? Should we really believe that our tickets give us license to yell like a patient at the hands of a back-alley dentist? Why can't we all give Mean Joe Greene our bottles of Coke?

I've decided to turn a new leaf. I feel it is time for me to admit my complicity in ruining the game experience for those who travel in rickety, underequipped chartered jets to play the Seahawks in Qwest Field.

I am looking at the man in the mirror tonight, folks.

I have some initiatives I would like to run past you all.

  • I urge us all to stop cheering at Seahawks games. It sends the wrong message: that we want our team to win. That is a laudable goal, but sadly, it implies that another team should lose.

    To that end, I'm having the Field Gulls engineers develop a new, effective, yet spirited promotional item: The Wild Blue Muzzle. This muffling device -- which will of course come in Seahawk colors -- will be in the shape of a cup, made from the most effective sound-absorption materials, like egg cartons and teri-cloth. These will be distributed at each game, co-sponsored by Boeing. Once strapped over our mouths, any demon impulse we might have to cheer, hassle or cajole will be pre-emptively silenced.

  • It is my experience that Seahawks fans often react audibly to events taking place on the field. If Seahawk fans were not paying attention to the game, these reactions wouldn't happen.

    I'm therefore proud to announce that we'll be teaming up with Seattle Public Library to distribute full-length novels at each game as well, so that attendees of the game will have a good book to concetrate on while the game is in progress.

    (This idea was co-opted from advice given to fans of the winless 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Back then, bringing a good book to the games was an excellent idea.)

  • During the pre-game warmups at Qwest, the stadium's giant video screen often projects an image of Shaun Alexander, encouraging the crowd to "make some noise," then further prodding them with the taunting statement, "I can't hear you." Obviously, this brazen inciting of the crowd will only result in more noise.

    I therefore suggest Mr. Alexander re-tape these video announcements with less provocative statements. Such as:

    • "Please sit comfortably in your seats!"
    • "Take a minute to enjoy the photography in your game program!"
    • "Nothing says 'comfort' like a Seahawks seat cushion!"
    • "Before the game starts, make sure you have your car keys. You don't want to be stuck in this area after the game with your keys locked in your car. That would be a terrible inconvenience. Or if you didn't drive, make sure you have bus money."
    • "You know, the next few hours would be a great time for a card game. How about inviting the folks in your section for a spirited gin rummy tournament?"
    • "I hear this team is pretty good. In fact, this game is gonna be pretty hard. Why not save your energy for something easier?"
    • "Oooh... I think there's some serious crocheting goin' on here tonight!"
    • "Ladies and gentlemen, sit back, relax, and enjoy tonight's presentation of Les Miserables."
  • I also ask all of us to wear soft, pastel colors to the games from now on. Pastels promote a stimulus of calm to you and those around you.
  • Finally, the linchpin of my proposal, the "Adopt-a-Pillow" campaign. We will need 75 volunteers to carry this out.

    An army of us -- forgive the harsh connotation of the word "army" -- will travel to the visiting team's hotel two days before the game. Each of us will be assigned the room of an opposing player or coach. Once in the rooms, we will carefully fluff the pillows on the beds where the visitors will be sleeping. You may also leave a chocolate if you wish.

    Some of us more altruistic types may wish to take this step even further: vacuuming the carpets, setting out bowls of potpourri for a nice aroma, knitting sweaters, doing a Meals-on-Wheels thing (don't skimp on the carbs!), or leaving subliminal self-help tapes in the cassette clock-radios. The possibilities are limitless.

Yes, I realize all these efforts may result in an 8-8 season. But really, why are numbers so important? It's the thought, the extension of mercy to our fellow men, that really counts here. As the man said: Don't be a careless person -- be a care more person!

Thank you for hearing my humble suggestions.

Of course, I reserve the right to tweak them a little before the game on Sunday.

Or we could just dispose of them altogether. Baby steps, you know.