August 19, 2008
That Bearded Nerd Saved Our Seahawks
Over on Seahawk Addicts they are commemorating the 11th anniversary of Paul Allen officially becoming the Seahawks owner, so I thought I'd add a couple of personal anecdotes to the mix:
I was still going to Western in 1997, and I hosted a weekly political talk show on KUGS-FM called "The Democratic Circus." In the weeks leading up to the special election about building that new football stadium, I was shameless in my support of the measure. Every week I'd exhort my meager lot of listeners to go out and vote yes on Referendum 48. It didn't seem like a very popular position. Remember that in the spring of 1997 the PNW was enjoying the afterglow of the M's 1995 playoff run, and was also still gripped in Supersonics fever... Remember this?
So I felt kinda isolated with my Joey Galloway jersey and my love for a team that hadn't even posted a winning record since 1990. I was terrified that R48 would fail, Paul Allen would bolt, and the team would quickly become the L.A. Blackhawks or something. R48 passed statewide by 51.1% to 48.9%, or by just a hair under 37,000 votes. That was far less than the throngs who packed the Kingdome for M's games back then.
I like to think I played a LITTLE part in R48's victory... Look at the Whatcom County (Bellingham) results:
Sure, only about 100 people listened to my show on a GOOD night, but I like to think that a good chunk of that 433 vote margin were folks swayed by my cogent, heartfelt arguments. :-]
My second little story illustrates how much things have changed since Paul Allen took over...
Every one has their own story about the 9/11 atrocities, but mine actually touches on the Hawks. My wife and I went to the season opener in Cleveland on 9/9/01 (imagine me in my brand-new Hasselbeck jersey, taking abuse all afternoon from those dog-bone-chomping fucks, only to see Rian Lindell split the uprights for the win at the gun. I'm shocked I escaped with my life after the stream of childish taunts that flowed out of my yap at that moment), and I was leaving the next day to visit my family and college friends in the Northwest. The plan was fly to Pasco, hang out with my family in the Tri, then go to Seattle and, among other things, catch the Chiefs game on 9/16.
We all remember that game was postponed after the mass murder of 9/11, and I understood why, but having a game to go to that Sunday sure would have made ME feel better.
I was out at breakfast that Sunday with a friend, wearing my usual outfit: Red Sox hat & Seahawks jersey. I admitted to her that I was depressed about the game being postponed, and this total stranger overhears me. He then snorts:
"Seahawks? Who gives a crap about THEM?"
I looked over to see this gastropod in an M's cap and a Ichiro jersey, obviously enjoying the Mariners' 116-win regular season... and hey, who could blame him? But I fucking SNAPPED.
"Who cares? I DO! I've been a fan since I was 8 years old.. I'd bet a million dollars you didn't own a scrap of Mariners gear before August of 1995, man..."
He gave me a VERY dirty look, but also shut the fuck up.
Now do a thought experiment: Can you imagine any scenario where that would happen NOW? I can't.
Thank you, Paul Allen.