After he made the catch, that catch.
You know the one.
We could not possibly lose.
How did we lose?
I don't even... I'm just kind of numb.
The year was 2006, and the catch--that catch--was made by Endy Chavez, a name and face familiar to Mariners fans. It happens that Endy's catch was the apex moment of the last really good rendition of a team I grew up loving. But at that moment, screaming in jubilation into a throw pillow so as not to wake everyone else up the ecstasy was real...
Upon losing that 2006 series to the Cardinals, then-manager Willie Randolph is purported to have issued a platitude that went something like, "When we win, the champagne will taste that much sweeter." Of course, multiple subsequent September collapses later he was out of a job and my beloved Metropolitans are effectively no closer to sipping champagne to mark a playoff series win than you or me.
Although the New York press hung that platitude around Randolph's neck like the proverbial millstone, his nonsensical little platitude made me feel a bit better. Similarly, Russell Wilson's bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, "I started getting so excited for next season" routine following Atlanta in 2012 made me feel much the same way. These platitudes are not profound. They don't explain away the inexplicable. Mostly, they just help me let the past go and re-focus on what's next.
UC-Berkley cultural sociologist Ann Swidler might suggest that such platitudes, though flimsy enough to fall apart under serious scrutiny, may nevertheless be useful cultural tools. Keep your chin up. Keep choppin' wood. There are other fish in the sea. These annoying little platitudes are how culture operates in everyday life to help us make sense of complex social situations filled with both great meaning as well as utter randomness. Or, more properly, these annoying little platitudes help us impose a system of order on both meaningful and essentially random outcomes. In many respects, these kinds of frameworks are necessary to learn valuable lessons from our experiences while leaving their randomness of outcomes behind.
Super Bowl XLIX was awesome, but it's not filled with great lessons (beyond the obvious stuff) for the future. Two pretty evenly-matched teams traded punches like bare-knuckled, barrel-chested, handle-bar mustachioed hosses for four quarters in their own inimitable ways for our viewing pleasure. In short sequence, a couple of balls that will almost always end up on the ground ended up in players' hands. It was brilliant. It was vexing. It was heartbreaking. As astonished as I was that Lynch didn't get the second down carry, I still clapped when I saw the replay of Butler's play on that ball. That's sports, and we were fortunate to witness a title game played at such a high level.
I can't tell anyone else how to feel about it. I can just say how I feel. When you compete for something that matters against other competitors that matter you may lose by inches, or on a "dumb" play at the end. Sometimes there is no deeper meaning to be gleaned. It's just some stuff that happened.
Kentucky in 1992 wasn't particularly worse than Duke. Hill and Laettner just did this.
Yet, with seven Final Four appearances, five national championship game appearances, and three national championships since Laettner's shot, I'd say the program has managed to recover.
Tough loss for the Seahawks, but it's pretty much on to the next thing: The off-season.
This is the most crucial off-season in franchise history. With Russell Wilson due to extend, and Marshawn Lynch (if rumors are true), much of the core cast should be back. But with upwards of 10 draft picks though, John Schneider has room to significantly alter the roster to be even younger in 2015. The bit players that take the field in 2015 will be different, and if you haven't figured it out by now it is they as much as any who determine the outcome of a season.