BY CLINTON PAWLICK
I am grateful. And that’s Grateful with a capital “G.”
Last week in his interview with the media after his team’s narrow win over Washington, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh touted Colin Kaepernick as a great quarterback. He made sure to specify the upper case “G”. Thanksgiving night’s performance by the 49ers’ quarterback against the Seahawks might prompt the coach to consider different formatting.
Colin Kaepernick had 121 passing yards, two interceptions (both to Richard Sherman), no touchdowns, and a loss.
On second thought, an invisible font might be more flattering.
I’m just happy to have the Seahawks back and playing as a team. The defense looked good. Bobby Wagner, back for his second game since recovering from a toe injury, was a tackling machine. Earl Thomas was keyed up. Kam Chancellor? Well, I suspect he just likes hitting San Francisco players hard. Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett pressured Kaepernick all night long. Bruce Irvin got in on the action for a sack. There were so many nice plays spread out across an entire team, the thanks just kept on giving.
It was a lovely feast punctuated by Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman eating turkey legs postgame at midfield next to NBC’s Michele Tafoya. Better yet, Wilson and Sherman gobbled up some turkey right on top of the 49ers’ logo! And then Sherm ran the platter off the field, hoisted high, making sure the few remaining Niners fans could see him giving someone the bird.
No, in my opinion, if you want Great, with a capital “G”, look to Russell Wilson (no relation to Luke Willson, a fact that broadcast announcers have stated, inanely, in at least two recently televised games). First there is Russell’s play on the field. Just when you think the defense has him pinned, he pivots, rolls, and finds the receiver no one expected. Cooper Helfet last week. Tony Moeaki this week. He can throw. He can run. And he can bounce back from poor performance in some games to deliver superlative play in others.
All the while, he is Gracious, with a capital “G”, thanking his teammates, coaches, family, and fans when he is in front of the microphones. He accepts responsibility for mistakes and gives credit to opponents. This integrity and poise is admirable, especially when more sinister stories dominate the NFL.
But perhaps most impressive is Russell Wilson’s ability to Give, with a capital “G”. During halftime, NBC aired a special segment, highlighting Russell Wilson’s commitment to his community. Drawing upon his own history, Russell Wilson knows the power of being positive, and he brings this with him on his nearly weekly visits to Seattle Children’s Hospital. His own father had battled a long illness, and as the segment pointed out, Russell Wilson saw just how much it meant to his dad for him to be there, visiting, being present, and just listening.
So, when Russell Wilson walks the corridors and goes from room to room, he brings hope. Not the defy-all-odds, everything will be OK kind. No, this is Genuine, with a capital “G”. The kind of compassion that says, “I’m sorry for your plight. And I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’m going to use my good fortune to try to displace some of your bad.” It says, “together, if we face obstacles and counter the negative with a persistent positive, we might just change the world.”
It’s an understated elegance that is great no matter the case you choose.
Clinton Pawlick and his wife, Jen, live in North Seattle. They love the Seahawks, good friends, Washington reds, and their two cats, Malcolm and Ink Pot Pie.
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