July 23, 2009

A Decade in Exile...

This fall will mark 10 years living outside the Pacific Northwest for me, and given that my wife's family is pretty well anchored in Ohio, I'm probably never moving back home. What has it meant to be a rabid Seahawks fan 2000 2,417 miles away from Qwest?

1. You hear incredibly ignorant things about the team, even from NFL fans.

My own wife didn't even know Seattle had an NFL team when we met, and thought that the Kingdome was in Minnesota. Now I'm sure she knows WAYYYY more about the Seahawks than she ever cared to know. I've had neighbors ask me if my 12th Man Flag was a "NASCAR thing..." I've had people accost me in McDonalds and ask if I was wearing "Elizabeth's husband's" jersey. I've been to road games (particularly in Cleveland and Detroit) where fans of utter shit loser teams are so ignorant of the Seahawks that they think they have reason to look down upon us.

Browns fans are the WORST about this. I've been to two games there, and both times I wasn't just treated badly... There was a genuine level of astonishment that Seahawks fans even existed.

2. You're Sasquatch

When people find out you are a Seahawks fan, invariably you have to explain WHY, because whoever you are talking to has probably never met a Seahawks fan before. Ever. Sometimes this becomes a "teaching moment," where you can spread the word that, 2008 aside, Seattle has one of the best NFL teams over the past decade. The usual response? "Huh."

3. It's expensive.

Wanna watch the games? You'll need DirecTV and NFL Sunday Ticket, or you'll need to endure at least 3 hours at a sports bar every Sunday... and you'll probably have to beg the manager to even put the Seahawks game on one of the bar's 20 TVs... Wanna buy any team gear? You'll have to get it shipped out to you, because there aint any Seahawks shit at your local mall. Plus, it's obviously really expensive to fly back to Seattle if you want to catch any games at Qwest. It's a huge pain in the ass.

4. People repeat stupid crap they read/hear about the team to you.

As we all know, the few times the Seahawks get any mass media coverage, it's lazy, simplistic, and half-assed. That gets amplified and repeated by those who blindly accept the NFL coverage spoon-fed to them by ESPN... I vividly remember Ditka claiming we still played in a dome on Monday Night Countdown before the Eagles game in 2005... I STILL run into the occasional person who thinks we are a "dome team." Blurgh.

Despite all this, I enjoy being the trailblazer... I like being a small outpost of Seahawks fandom in the midwestern wilderness (probably because I am naturally a contrarian S.O.B.), and I'm well known as "that Seahawks guy."

Anyone else a Hawks fan in exile? I'm sure y'all have stories to tell...


Travis said...

A-Men brother, sometimes I feel like a missionary here in Georgia. I'm in the army, stationed at Fort Stewart(near Savannah). I haven't been home to Seattle in 7 years. I can't afford the DirectTV Sunday Ticket though(army pay)... I feel awfully isolated here. Some people ask me"Seahawks, aren't they Washington? I didn't know DC had two teams."

Mark said...

Gawd I know what you mean. 12 years out from PNW and I've had tons of stories just like yours. But the best of them is living in Pittburgh during SB XL.

Shit man, that was the kinda thing you ask 'why God'? what did I DO WRONG!!??

It was a nightmare and as such my bonds with the hawks are stronger! I've lived in WI, PA and now outside of Cinci (Lebanon home of Neil Armstrong of all ppl) and here, at least I get respect as they HATE the STEALERS as well if not more.

I AM going to the Indy game this year as a result of my kind hearted gal getting me an early xmas present! I can't WAIT! Been soooo long since i've seen my boys play!!! (KINGDOME old uni era is a LOOOOOONG TIME!)

If anyone else in the area is going as well and wants to meet up just say so!



Love the site man!! Very cool!

AH said...

I've lived in Illinois for about six years, coming out here from college. I know exactly what you mean on all of those points. I've had people this year tell me that Houshmenzadah is our best player on offense (forgetting about Matt Hasselbeck and Walter Jones). I've picked many a battle with sports bar wiatresses to get Seattle's games on one TV. I didn't want a big one, just something small and nearby that I could keep an eye on. There were a few times I left the bar and followed it online.

Hang in there, there are other Midwest Seahawk fans. I've thought about joining the region's chapter of the Seahawkers. Maybe I will if my next job is out here. Keep flying the 12th Man flag, and have a laugh on the Browns. Thats why they're in the league!

DKSB said...

AH.. Where in IL? I was in Springfield for the last two years, but we just moved back to Ohio.