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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Seattle Has Triumphed...a Reflection on Our Football Community

A good friend of mine, and KOMO News 4 producer Justin Hopkins posted this today and I wanted to share it this morning before the game:

"As Seattleites anxiously countdown the minutes until kickoff of Super Bowl XLVIII, I cannot help but reflect on what the Seahawks team and their incredible stretch of victories means to me and the city that I love. The Seahawks have whipped Seattle into a football frenzy unrivaled anywhere in the nation. Our gray days and early sunsets reveal a city skyline tinted in green and blue, with ever-present “12” flags dotting homes and businesses as far as the eye can see. A trip to any grocery store is like walking into a 30,000 square foot tailgate party with Seahawks accoutrements and regalia stretched from the bakery to the floral department to the jersey-clad checkers. Offices and schools across the land are awash with pride.

A good friend keenly noted “Go Hawks” has become a Pacific Northwest “Aloha,” a perfectly reasonable way for us to begin or end any encounter. Suddenly people notorious for a chilly demeanor and aloof disposition have an instant bond in a shock of neon green. On the bus, at the grocery store, and around the proverbial office water cooler, we can discuss a brash braggart whose motivating life story took him from the mean streets of Compton to the halls of Stanford and to the biggest stage in all of sports; a hard-charging, pounding, relentless Beast of a man who hides from the spotlight, but will destroy you in those shadows; an even-keeled, cool-as-a-cucumber quarterback who never ceases to impress with his eloquence; and countless more stories of young men who have defied the odds, created a team, and carried each other and their region.

In many ways the Seahawks suit their city exquisitely. Our area has a strong, proud, hard-working, pioneering past. The players loom as large and imposing as the Cascade Mountains that have our backs. Seattle started with an industrial base. The Seahawks have a bruising, relentless squad that comes to work early and stays late to finish the job. Seattle is a town of misfits and goofballs who oftentimes leave their humble beginnings to achieve great success. The Seahawks are led by a castoff quarterback considered too short to play at the highest level. Seattle is now a world leader in technological innovation. The Seahawks have revolutionized long-held beliefs about how teams are “supposed” to build an NFL roster.

The script says the Seahawks are supposed to lose today. The national punditry agrees that the boys in college navy, action green, and wolf grey are a considerable unit, they say, but are no match for the legendary destiny of Peyton Manning. And maybe they are right. Seattle fans are acutely aware of sports-related heartache. We routinely top the list of most miserable sports cities. It’s not for our lack of passion, but for the sheer terror of having so many disappointments. It is one thing to muddle in mediocrity, it’s an entirely different pain to taste victory so many times, but fall short.

I am too young to remember the city’s only major professional championship. Of course, that team packed up and left for Oklahoma City. I do, however, remember an amazing run by the scrappy 1995 Mariners and their refuse-to-lose mentality, that fell short in the ALCS. I remember an incredible Sonics team that ran into Michael Jordan’s 72-10 buzz saw in the 1996 NBA Finals. I remember a baseball team that won a record 116 regular season games, but fell to the New York Yankees a month after 9/11 (perhaps the only time the nation actually backed that evil empire from the Bronx). And I remember the 2006 Super Bowl, so poorly officiated that years later the head referee apologized for several bad calls.

Win or lose on that cold field in New Jersey, I believe Seattle has already triumphed. We have experienced months of pride and mania unsurpassed in a city where “polar vortex” more accurately describes interpersonal relationships than a weather pattern. I know of nothing that can connect people like this Seahawks team. Perhaps tonight that feeling will continue as strangers embrace strangers to celebrate a Super Bowl Championship. Maybe this joy will carry on for weeks, months, and years as we reminisce about our cast of players who captured the world’s attention and thrust Seattle to the top of the sports landscape, if just for one night.

Go Hawks!"

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