By Clinton Pawlick
Clinton Pawlick, 44, and wife Jen of North Seattle are in New York and New Jersey for the Super Bowl. Clinton is writing about his experiences this weekend.
New York buzzes like a hive. Colonies of people converge on the same space, wedging themselves left and right to fit into the dense pack.
They shuffle, bump, and stop along the 13 blocks in Times Square — known until Sunday as Super Bowl Boulevard. Sponsor booths punctuate the space like obelisks, and the Lombardi Trophy is on display behind a square of glass. An interminable queue wraps around this pavilion, and fathers with children decide whether to join the wait or have lunch first. A cacophony of voices, horns, and police whistles reverberates through the steel canyon of skyscrapers.
For Seahawks’ fans, the excitement is palpable. We are on the cusp of greatness, and all who have gathered here know it. In the restaurants and bars, Hawks’ fans recognize one another, hollering back in the same fashion as Century Link.
By comparison, the Broncos’ fans are mild. Suffering, I think from dissociative dedication. An occasional “Go, Broncos!” catches wind, but dissipates clumsily. It’s like a Tom Brady high-five. One hand clapping. It’s enough to make me cringe.
The Broncos try to justify it. “We used to get excited, too,” a fan says, “but after winning a few Super Bowls, we’re calmer.”
Perhaps this is true. But how sad.
Everywhere I look, I see dark blue and electric green. The colors are so prevalent, a New York denizen, who I can’t distinguish between pan handler or a loquacious loiterer, says to no one in particular, “Damn. Is there anybody left in Seattle?”
But you couldn’t tell it here. Carlow East, which proclaims itself the only Seahawks’ bar in New York, is so packed on Friday night, it bursts. A camera crew from Seattle films the inside, and then must pan out to the sidewalk to capture on film those who could not make it inside.
It is loud, raucous, and exactly what you’d expect from an enthusiastic 12th Man.
But it’s not just Seattle fans, who are rooting for the Seahawks. By weight of comments I’ve heard from New Yorkers, the scale definitely tips our way.
A server filling our glasses at dinner, when he hears we are from Seattle, offers this. “We love Pete Carroll and the Hawks. For real. We supported him back when he was with the Jets.”
Best wishes file in from complete strangers. Soft-spoken security guards say “Go, Hawks” as we walk by. And ambling pedestrians out with their city dogs are encouraging, too.
“Good luck this weekend,” I hear from a woman with a Polish accent.
Perhaps the strangest comment comes from a woman we see north of Central Park. Her cheeks are flushed red from a recent jog, and long light brown hair drapes over her running top. She’s in cold weather tights, talking to us about how warm it is compared to the previous projections. We all agree this will make a better Super Bowl.
Then she says the strangest thing. “I’ve been kissed by a Seahawks’ player.”
Jen is intrigued or maybe incredulous. “Which one?” she asks.
Jen starts to laugh.
“Why are you laughing?”
“Because,” says Jen, “he (meaning me) loves Hauschka. He wore his jersey on the plane out here.”
“He went to Middlebury,” says the woman. Then she raises her eyebrows and shrugs slightly to tell us this was her school, too.
It’s true. I think you need to show a kicker as good as Hauschka some love. And if he wins the game tomorrow, I’m sure there would be plenty of Seattle fans lined up and waiting to offer more kisses.