I was at a ramen house in University Village on Sunday with my sister from Los Angeles, refreshing the Seahawks app on my phone between slurps and conversation. My Twitter feed, too. We headed to a dessert shop afterward. A well-dressed mother and young daughter sitting next to us wondered aloud what the score was. I broke out my phone and gave them an update. Just four ladies at Fran’s Chocolates, talking football. The little girl’s father is a rabid fan and season ticket-holder. They weren’t with him at the game, but they were with him in spirit.
On Sunday, the Seahawks won the NFC West division title by beating the St. Louis Rams and secured home-field advantage until the Super Bowl.
For the first time in my life, this Washington native is genuinely interested in Seahawks football.
I’m cheering on my home team because it unites us. Brings us together during these dark, cold dreary days of winter.
My Sundays used to be reserved for errands and general catching up. I’ve learned to make room for the 12th Man. With each passing week, the feeling of pride swells a little more. Blue and green is everywhere. On the street. In restaurants. At the coffee shop. Even in craft stores.
I was in a jewelry-making class with eight other women last weekend. Doesn’t get any more girly. Yet nearly every single student and teacher was tracking the game via phone or through spouses. The instructor (with five older brothers, all of them football players) had made a bet with her Dallas Cowboys-loving husband. Something about taking care of chores around the house and cleaning out the kitty litter box for a week if the Seahawks kept winning. (Dallas lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, and won’t be advancing to the playoffs.)
The Seahawks connect us. When they do well, we feel pride. When they lose, we feel something, too. And thanks to their success, I have a reason to trash talk with friends from San Francisco, Texas and New Orleans, who mistake our Northwest Nice nature with being, well, weak. These days, they lose every conversation. I love it.
Pete Carroll is the same guy who coached the University of Southern California, my alma mater, back to significance in college football. I was a sophomore when he signed on as USC’s head coach in 2001. Many Saturdays were spent at the Coliseum cheering on our Trojans. When Carroll arrived in Los Angeles, the narrative was that he was a failed NFL coach coming to a storied program teetering on the edge of has-been status. By the time I graduated, we were beating UCLA and Notre Dame and producing Heisman Trophy winners again. The Trojans brought home national titles in 2003 and 2004. Morale was high.
He’s working that same coaching magic in Seattle.
I feel like I just swooped in and jumped on the Seahawks bandwagon. Truth is I still don’t care for football all that much. It makes me downright uncomfortable knowing the health problems players may be subjecting themselves to later in their lives. But I like how it has the potential to bring out the best in people. And I love what it does for our community.
Beast Mode. Twelfth Man. Legion of Boom. It’s all cheesy. But it works. I’m in.