August 27, 2009
The Pain From an Old Wound
That's the trailer for "Big Fan," and I'd want to see it just based on Patton Oswalt's involvement alone. However, knowing the storyline makes it a must-see for me. Oswalt plays a life-long NY Giants fan who ends up with a chance to meet his favorite player, who beats the shit out of him and puts him in the hospital. From there, it just gets worse, with the player getting suspended, the police and his family pressuring him to file lawsuits and criminal charges, and the Giants going on a losing streak.
Change "Oswalt" to "me" and "Giants" to "Seahawks," and that whole ball of disaster sounds like my darkest, stickiest, most awful nightmare possible. My Seahawks fandom is an essential part of my personhood. I literally don't know who I would be if you took me to Lacuna and erased everything tagged "Seahawks" from my memories...
It would be unbelieveably easy for an outsider to belittle that... To think it's completely batshit crazy that I am so deeply attached to a mere sports team. The thing is, anyone who has ever dressed up like Chewbacca for a Star Wars film, or written fan fiction, or been so obsessed about a band that they hunted down bootlegs and Japanese import singles SHOULD BE ABLE TO RELATE TO THIS.
Geekdom is geekdom, no matter what the object, and that devotion and obsession comes from a real, deeply personal place.
I'm not talking about those dipshits who watch a lot of football, but change allegiances each fall... or the jackanapes who ran out to buy a Mike Vick or Brett Favre jersey in the last week... or even the Seahawks "fans" who boo players who have pissed blood for the Twelve Army and snicker under their breath about the "Sea Chickens." For these jokers, OUR thing is just a diversion that could easily be replaced by something shiny and new.
For US, this thing goes back a long way.. maybe all the way back. Maybe your Dad put you in Seahawks onesies from birth... Maybe your Uncle took you to a game when you were six... Maybe your Mom let you decorate the living room in Seahawks finery and watched the games with you, just so you'd have it in common.
..and once that ball started skipping down the hill like an onside kick, other things in your life stuck to it. Great memories and painful ones too, and you could relate them either directly or indirectly to the Seahawks. For me, I vividly remember watching Largent break the "consecutive games with a catch" record in a hospital room, visiting my sister after my nephew's birth. Thankfully, everyone else in the room wanted that game on nearly as much as I did... The Seahawks weren't a DISTRACTION to the blessed event... They were an enhancement.
So first loves, heartbreaks, dates with your future wife also get all tangled up in blue and green... You might not talk to your father for half a decade, but if he called you tomorrow you could probably talk about the Hawks picking up Edgerrin James.
I don't have a relationship with my Dad anymore, but most of the good memories I have of spending time with him growing up are linked to the Seahawks... I have a great connection to my much-younger brother, and a great big hunk of that connective tissue is bright lime Seahawks green.
So it's not just a game... it's not just a hobby.. it's twisted up with everything else that matters like strands of DNA. Like most things, it's best described by Don Draper:
"Nostalgia - it's delicate, but potent. Teddy told me that in Greek, "nostalgia" literally means "the pain from an old wound." It's a twinge in your heart far more powerful than memory alone. This device isn't a spaceship, it's a time machine. It goes backwards, and forwards... it takes us to a place where we ache to go again. It's not called the wheel, it's called the carousel. It lets us travel the way a child travels - around and around, and back home again, to a place where we know we are loved."
This might have been absolute raving gibberish... but I bet some of you can relate.
What do you think, sirs?