Last Saturday, New Orleans-based writer Keith O’Brien landed in Seattle wearing a bright orange Denver Broncos jersey and hat. He even festooned his rental car with two of that other team’s flags. A mutual friend convinced this Seahawks fan to tag along for the day to witness how an imposter would fare in the land of the 12th Man.
I learned we’re too nice. We really are, Emerald City. Read about O’Brien’s hilarious adventure (and how he fared as a faux Seahawks fan in Denver) in this feature story for Esquire.
On the same day my Seattle Times colleague Sharon Pian Chan wrote an editorial daring the 12th man to channel Richard Sherman’s trash-talking ways, O’Brien expected some swagger. He mentioned the editorial in his story:
In The Seattle Times just that very morning, an editorial page writer dared locals to be more like their idol in the No. 25 jersey. “I aim to Sherman-ate,” the writer declared, throwing down a challenge for her readers. “It’s time to do some trash-talking.”
Fans outside Mill Creek Sports—a sports memorabilia store tucked into a strip mall 30 minutes north of Seattle—seemed to be taking her challenge to heart as they waited to meet Beverly “Mama” Sherman. They carried homemade Seahawks flags and wore neon green costumes. And when I emerged from my rental car adorned with two Denver Broncos flags, ambled across the parking lot wearing a bright orange Broncos ball cap and Peyton Manning jersey and got in the long line for autographs, the Sherman-ating began with great gusto.
The gusto turned into a few cold stares and some passing comments, but nothing close to irate.
Later that day, my friends and I stopped in a dive bar in Georgetown. I watched in shock as bar-goers in Seahawks shirts (and a waitress with the team logo shaved into the side of her head) moved swiftly from booing to gentle swayin’ as the tall, skinny guy who called himself “Bronco Fan” shamelessly belted out his karaoke rendition of John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High.”
As O’Brien points out in the story, it takes something much more to get people into what sports psychotherapists define as Fan Mode.
Though he got a healthy dose of “Seattle nice” during his 12-hour visit, expect Beast Mode to break out in two days — when the Seahawks and the 12th Man corral a bunch of ponies and send them home crying.