Let’s get one thing out of the way: I grew up in Seattle but to be honest, the last time I cared about the Seahawks was the two minute and fifty second duration of this video.
I was already living in DC (or rather, living in DC and sleeping/occasionally eating in Silver Spring) when the Seahawks went to the Superbowl in 2006, and like the rest of my family, I was simply amused that they had come so far. No one I knew in Seattle really cared much about the Seahawks, including my family. For whatever reason, we decided to have a Superbowl party, which involved the five of us eating way too much, and pretending to understand what was happening on the field. Yes, only the five of us. For some reason, my dad didn’t understand why none of our DMV friends were interested in watching a Seahawks vs. Steelers game with a bunch of clueless Seattleites hosting.
It’s not that we were without hometown loyalty. We gained a lot from our fourteen years in Seattle: a deep appreciation for Korean megastores, pho, and really precise recycling; a Costco gold membership; even Mariner’s season tickets from 1999 to 2003 (Griffey’s last season was a great time for a kid to be introduced to baseball, leading me to buy the only sports-related videogame I have ever owned).
So, with all things considered, this is the reaction of one Seattlelite in DC who does not understand football at all: I’m really mad the Seahawks won, because most of Seattle doesn’t care.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been living amongst diehard Redskins fans who were never anything less than loyal to their team, even in their worst seasons. Maybe my subconscious was actually absorbing information from all the NFL conversations around me that I tuned out. I’m not sure what it is, but watching the game in my DayQuil plus Sinex daze, I could feel my heart crushing and my breath catching in my throat (also could have been chest congestion). But I am struggling to remember anyone I knew in Seattle being so loyal to their team, and that includes on-again/off-again Mariner’s fans. I am trying to imagine anyone I went to school with being crushed by this potential loss, and I’m drawing a blank. I might just be fueling the sentiment that the Pacific Northwest should just be annexed to Canada, but the most excited I’ve seen Washington state about sports was when they joined MLS with the Sounders in 2007. The most excited I’ve seen them before that was when Ichiro joined the Mariners in 2001, and Safeco Field got a sushi bar at the concession stand out of it. But to be honest, most Seattleites I know sound like this when they talk about football, and it’s really annoying:
Let’s touch on another aspect of this sports-related apathy. Football is something I watch when my friends are watching it. If seeing the gang means meeting up with them to watch the game, I’ll be there. And I don’t sit there slumped back like I’ve been brought there against my will- I want to be interested in football. I’ll watch, I’ll ask questions, I’ll do my best to understand what is happening. But something isn’t clicking for me. Perhaps it’s because I lack a personal connection– I didn’t grow up going to Redskins or Seahawks games with my family and friends, or to any football games for that matter. I was never inspired by a football player. Understanding the basic concepts of the game isn’t enough to keep me engaged, and I kind of hate that.
It might come down to the fact that congregating around a football game wasn’t something I ever did with friends until two years ago, but I have to admit that I don’t have the attention span for it. It took me a while to understand that just because there’s an hour on the clock, doesn’t mean there’s only an hour left in the game. Sure, there can be dull games in any sport, but I grew up going to baseball games and playing hockey. And something about the stop-and-go nature of football completely disenchanted me. But what’s a girl to do when there’s been no NHL season so far this year? And let’s face it, yesterday’s announcement to end the lockout was great but I’m still doubtful. I was really hoping that the magic of RGIII could help me fall in love with the sport, but there were no sparks.
Football will probably never mean as much to me as it does to my friends. And by friends I mean my DC friends, not my handful of Seattle friends on facebook (none of whom posted a single thing about last night’s game). But I am sincerely bummed about this loss. It’s nice to live in a part of the country where there’s actual community through sports, especially one that believes in their team through the good seasons as well as the bad. I mean, I have a lot of friends wishing they could be the white woman in RGIII’s life wishing they could be the one to console him in the aftermath. Maybe some of it is hype, and I’m sure there are a lot of bandwaggoners who jumped onto the team’s growing success who could care less about the sport. But I’m really looking forward to great seasons of Redskins footballs with friends who are patient enough to answer questions I’ve asked a million times over, and let me get away with playing Doodle Jump during play summaries. For now, we can find common ground in the disappointment that this supposedly real NHL season will certainly bring.