Sports fanhood in itself is a disease, as I mentioned at length in my last post. This time, I want to tackle the issue that strikes at our very core as a human being. Namely, loyalty to the Seattle sports teams.
It doesn't take an old long-term fan to know that the Seattle sports teams haven't been kind to us. Hell, we have an entry on TV Tropes dedicated to our misery. And why shouldn't it be that way? The Mariners spent about 75% of their existence being an unwatchable baseball team, trading off their young stars once they got too expensive. The Sonics....well, you know what happened there. The Seahawks drifted through mediocrity, with a brief glimpse of greatness in the 00's, only to fall back in the same old habits. The Washington Huskies football team coasted on their once-proud tradition and subsequent hubris to ruin at the turn of the century. A decade later, they're still trying to clean up the mess.
These teams have abused and battered us. Many times, they have forced us to stand on the brink, to consider whether it's really worth investing in. We are battered spouses, crawling to the second-story window after the latest beating, looking up at the stars of greater hopes that will never be realized. We look down at the ground below. That flight looks much easier. Better teams, run by people who know what they're doing. If you squint, the grass below looks a little greener.
We consider these options. The latter looks so appealing at first. Higher hopes. Less chance of being beat. Less shame in your community. The price is so low, to boot. All you have to do is jump. Jump, and those horrific memories will be just that, a memory. As you fly through the air, you have nothing to fear but the soft grass of a new fanbase welcoming you with open arms.
You stand on the window, and think you're ready to jump. As soon as you make that decision, the memories rush into your head. Memories of Steve Largent abusing opposing defenses. Of Walter Jones destroying all that lay in his path. Of Matt and Shaun and Big Walt and Steve making mincemeat of the '05 schedule. Of Matt putting the entire offense on his shoulders in '07.
You slowly nudge back from the ledge, and think to other Seattle teams. You think of Edgar driving in Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr. in '95. Of winning 116 games in '01, with the electric bat of Ichiro driving. Of the birth, gestation and amazing maturation of King Felix.
You climb down from the window, and think of the Huskies' hoops team. Despite the belly-aching over not getting over the Sweet 16 wall, you think only of this--the Huskies are now a perennial contender in hoops. The biggest argument over that team is how they can get farther in the NCAA tournament. This is the biggest endorsement a college program could root for. God bless you, Lorenzo Romar.
You take a few steps back, and sit on your bed. Seattle sports teams have not always been kind to you; in fact, they have made you want to jump the ledge. But those happy memories rush back to you, clear as day. Great memories, memories you will want to tell your grandkid about. And hopefully one day, your grandkid will be trapped in the web of Seattle sports as we are.
As much as the Seattle teams hurt us, they have uplifted us just as much. For better or worse, they are our family, and you, the fans, are my family. This is my new mantra
Always Question. Always Criticize. Never Leave. Never Give Up.