July 31, 2010

Compulsion, Love and Escapism

Like a lot of folks out there, I'm scuffling just to get by day-to-day. I haven't had a full-time job in the last 19 months, I've been living with my in-laws for a year, and I pay a therapist $240 a month in an attempt to tamp down my various mental inflammations. I'm not a beacon of stability or success.

A while back I tried to turn this little blog into a profit machine, but it never took off. I don't post often enough, I go off-topic quite a bit... I swear, I offend, I talk politics, etc. So to all of you out there who have stuck around, I thank you. It's nice to have a loyal following, even if it's a small one. :)

So why do you keep reading? I'd like to think it's because I try to be honest, and I try to speak for a slice of the Twelve Army that isn't reflexively negative or pessimistic. I also think my loyalists can relate not just to my love for the Seahawks, but to my love for this game.

I truly believe NFL football is the greatest game in the world. No other sport matches its complexity, its speed, its athletic skill, or its intensity. And WE get to be a part of that spectacle. Yeah, we got screwed in XL, and I think we still get treated as "less than" by the league sometimes, but I still catch myself thinking "Wow, we get to be a part of this. That's amazing."

Those guys that suit up in blue for us put it all at risk every time they take the field. Yes, they are very well-compensated, and we all expect a full, professional effort from them... But each play they gamble their health, even their lives, to entertain and represent us. That earns my respect, because I lack the skill, discipline and courage to do what they do.

The other thing I love about the NFL? It's far too complex for anyone to predict what will happen. Sure, if one accumulates more knowledge about the game, their guess will be more educated than your average schmoe's... but it's still just guessing. No one had any idea the Saints would win it all last August, and no one has ever gotten this system clocked. If anyone had, they'd be as rich as Paul Allen, don't you think? Why can't the Seahawks be this year's Saints? Right now, it's still possible.

So I'm ecstatic that I am here, talking about this team and this game I love, and that I have a cadre of elite shock troops heeding my words. My life might not be perfect, but it will feel close to perfection when I'm sitting on the berm at the VMAC in a couple of weeks. When I'm screaming in section 325 on Opening Day, watching us brutalize the Niners, all these problems will be forgotten, if only for 3 hours or so.

Go Seahawks!

July 25, 2010

Irrational Loyalty (Thank God I'm not the G.M.)

John Morgan over on Field Gulls has been KILLING Matt Hasselbeck lately. I can barely get through that article, frankly. Each word is a shank stabbing my brainpan. It's not that Morgan is wrong, or that his reasoning is flawed. I just am emotionally invested in Hasselbeck's fate in a way that I haven't been since Steve Largent. His jersey is the one I drape over my ample frame on game days, and I've never felt as personally connected to a player since I've been a fan.

Beck is a fan favorite in general because he comes off as down-to-Earth while having a dorky/spazzy streak that you rarely see in an NFL Quarterback. In addition, he's led the Seahawks through the longest period of sustained success in franchise history while playing with toughness (verging on recklessness). He's the leader of our team, despite two sub-par seasons.

Personally, I also feel connected to Hass given that we are almost exactly the same age (I'm 35, and he'll turn 35 in September). Irrationally, I sort of take it personally when people talk about Beck as a broken-down-heap of an old man, which makes me root for him that much harder. We're both married with kids, both Red Sox fans. I love the guy.

Morgan makes the logical case that even a great year from Hasselbeck would be counter-productive to the Seahawks' long-term interests. He might be right, but I don't care. Even if it makes no sense to resign Hasselbeck after this season, I want him to leave Seattle on a high note. In my deluded fantasy land, Beck has a crazy late-career renaissance, resigns with the Seahawks, and keeps kicking ass well into Obama's 2nd Administration. The chances of that happening are on par with Mel Gibson winning another Oscar, so I'm left just hoping for one last entertaining, competitive (and hopefully winning) season from Beck before he retires or signs with another team.

I'm not entirely myopic. If Beck sucks, or gets hurt, or the team is sitting at 2-6 at midseason, it's clearly Whitehurst/Losman time. In all those scenarios, however, I'll be more than a little heartbroken. Not just because of another doomed season, but because that last connection to the Holmgren glory days will truly be gone.

Training Camp is just days away. I want to see every player at the top of their games, but personally what I want most is to see Beck zipping the ball to Housh, JC, Tate, etc. I want to see him not just hang onto the starting job because he's the grizzled, experienced vet. I want him to WIN that job by giving us all a look at a man who has returned to Pro Bowl form. When I am at Training Camp on August 12, I will there in my Hasselbeck jersey, cheering him and the rest of the Hawks on.

What do you all think? Is it absolute madness to think Beck has one more great year left in him?

July 18, 2010

Dreams They Complicate My Life

First of all, go see Inception. It's the best movie Christopher Nolan's ever made (and he made The Dark Knight, The Prestige, and Memento), and the best movie of 2010. If you don't like it, you're just plain WRONG.

Anyway, I'm using Inception as an excuse to talk about dreams.. Specifically, dreaming about the Seahawks. The Hawks are recurring characters in my dream state, and that's no big shock. I haven't missed a game since I was 8 years old, I still have season tickets despite moving to Ohio in 1999, and I rarely leave the house without some piece of Seahawks gear adorning my person.

For decades, I have spent countless hours daydreaming about the Seahawks, plotting out entire upcoming seasons with pen and paper (then in excel), and fixing Madden rosters so I could lead Seattle to championships despite my meager gaming skills... Anything that central to a person's psyche is going to pop up during REM sleep.

Unfortunately, any dream I have about the Seahawks results in disappointment upon waking. If I'm lucky and it's a positive dream where the Seahawks say, win the Super Bowl, I have the let-down when I wake up that it wasn't real. More often, it's a Seahawks nightmare, and while there is relief upon waking that it didn't really happen, I still curse my subconscious for torturing me. For example, I recently had a dream in which the Seahawks opened the 2010 season with a 75-7 loss to the Miami Dolphins... I awoke in a very agitated state until I realized... Hey, it's July... Hey we don't play Miami this season... Hey... even the 2009 Seahawks didn't lose games 75-7!

Some oddly depressing aspects to my Seahawks dreams: I'm NEVER a player. I'm almost always just a fan, and watching on television. Very rarely, I might be a coach or the owner in my dreams. It's as if my subconscious is saying "Woah, let's not get nuts, brah! No one's gonna buy that you PLAY for the Seahawks.. not even me!"

What are your Seahawks dreams like? And what did you think of Inception? Feel free to let fly with spoilers in the comments section...

July 10, 2010

Sadly, more ammo for the haters...

Hey, at least J-Force got his picture in the magazine, right?

I used to not be the biggest fan of fantasy football, until I started my own league with a bunch of friends from college/grad school and made up a shitload of crazy scoring rules, etc. I only participate in this single league, and I refuse to pick players from almost a quarter of the teams in the NFL (Niners, Cards, Rams, Steelers, Broncos, Raiders, Cowboys). On top of that, I won't start a player if his team is playing the Seahawks that week.

You are probably saying "Woah! You must suck at this!" Hang on... Over the last 3 years I've finished 2nd, 1st and 2nd in an 18-team league, so I'm doing ok. One thing that won't happen this year is my homertastic gobbling up of every available Seahawks player in sight...

I just picked up my NFL.com fantasy football magazine for this season, and it reminded me of a very unpleasant truth: The Seahawks sucked rocks last year.

Of course fantasy success doesn't equal team success, but damn... Not only were the Seahawks not very good last year, they committed another great sin: They were BORING. First, let's look at their 2010 projections for individual Seahawks:

QB: Matt Hasselbeck (27th), Charlie Whitehurst (37th)
RB: Leon Washington (50th), Justin Forsett (70th), Julius Jones (77th)
WR: T.J. Houshmandzadeh (39th), Deion Branch(67th), Golden Tate (76th)
TE: John Carlson (13th)
K: Olindo Mare (24th)
D: Seattle (27th)

Pathetic. Terrible. The partisan in me wanted to parse these rankings, argue with them, rant about how Beck will be back to his 03-05-07 form, how Young Nastyman is going to tear things up, and how Touchdown Jeebus is going to be one of the league's top TEs... But then I took another look at the raw data from 2009:

In the following categories, there were NO Seahawks making the list...

-Top 25 Rushers
-Top 25 Yards from Scrimmage
-Top 25 in Receiving Yards
-Top 20 Scorers (non-kickers)
-Top 20 Leaders in Interceptions
-Top 20 Leaders in Sacks

Housh was 18th in catches, Hass was 19th in passing yards (and 20th in passing TDs), and Mare was 16th in scoring amongst kickers. That's just a festival of sad, y'all.

This doesn't make me think the Seahawks won't compete for the NFC West crown this season, but it does make me want to stay away from our guys in the early rounds of any fantasy draft... Remember in Star Trek IV when the Federation dude sent out the message "avoid the planet Earth at all costs?" Yeah, Seahawks players are Earth. Cripes.