BY MELISSA PERINCHERIL
If you’re a die-hard, a bandwagon, a red wagon or a Volkswagen, I don’t care. Thank you for participating and making the experience of being a Seattleite, and a Washingtonian, even better.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t grow up with football. My great-uncle once asked (jokingly, we hope), in a thick Indian accent, why everyone on both teams was chasing after one ball – a ball shaped incorrectly at that. If they had more balls in there, everyone would be happy (I know).
My first, real Super Bowl as a kid in New Jersey, that I can remember, was the Seattle Seahawks vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XL. I asked my cousin, Josh, why the dude in the stripes was waving his yellow handkerchief around (Yeah).
Fast forward many years, and here I am: A Seattleite who is proud to don the blue and green (and purple and gold – Go, Dawgs! And Go, Jermaine Kearse – a fellow Husky alum!).
It doesn’t matter to me if you’re a fan because you know that Richard Sherman intercepts flawlessly (uh, OK), or because you appreciate the team’s philanthropic contributions, such as Michael Bennett’s founding of OCEAN. Or because you admire their spirituality – Russell Wilson’s love for Jesus, for example. Or because you find Coach Pete Carroll to be the most graceful man alive. Or because, in general, you realize that they’re really nice dudes – Marshawn Lynch may go Beast Mode on the field, but he can do good deeds off it. Just ask a Marysville man grateful to have his wallet back. I don’t even mind if you’re just a fan because you think that Doug Baldwin has a cute butt and that Steven Hauschka has shapely legs like those of Louis XIV. I just really care that you care.
Our city is infamous for what is called “The Seattle Freeze.” We smile politely at you if we are off our game and accidentally make eye contact with you, but we silently pray that you will not start a conversation with us. We are standoffish because our daily wardrobe includes headphones attached to our ears and cellphones glued to our hands – both clear indications of our desire for limited human interaction. But for three to five months of the year, the Seahawks allow us to high-five drunken strangers, collectively gasp in trepidation and awe with other bar patrons, hug fellow Seattleites and celebrate the one thing we all love and have in common: our incredible city. Because of this football team, we break the ice (and let’s face it, talking about the weather isn’t really going to cut it for a few seasons of the year when everyday is overcast and drizzly). I am so thankful that you choose to be a 12!
The Seahawks give us Seattleites an excuse to express emotion, and more so, show inexplicable camaraderie. They unite the young and the restless of Capitol Hill with the families of Maple Leaf. We cheer with the plaid-clad hipsters, the rowdy, nerdy college students, Macklemore, the coffee snobs, the local media, the techies, the medical professionals, the transit workers, the ever-active activists, the bicycle-riding Seattle police officers and even the homeless because, in these moments, we are not any of those things. We are all 12s among seas of blue and seas of green.
It’s so much more than a game. The Seahawks are our warriors who conquer other cities on our behalf – representing all of us who work under the shadow of the Space Needle, live near Pike Place Market and go to school in view of the Cascades. Because of our Hawks, that extremely busy Jimmy John’s guy will take the time to reminisce, with childlike giddiness, about last week’s game with me on his freaky-fast delivery run. Because of these stellar athletes, we really drop the ball when it comes to maintaining our icy personas. And we couldn’t be more grateful.
So, to the team: thank you for giving us reason to parade the streets in jubilation, burn fraternity couches (as a former professor once said: “That’s more of a public service, really.”), set off fireworks and get to know each other. Thank you for making us your 12th Man.
Seahawks, win or lose come Sunday, thank you for thawing that “Seattle Freeze,” and thank you for yet another hell of a season.
Melissa Perincheril is a recent UW graduate and is 12 backwards (21). She works in South Lake Union and lives in the University District. She has a high affinity for cats and a soft spot for Hawks.
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