One of the frustrations of growing up and being an adult for me has always been the constant pressure to modulate the expression of my emotions. I've always been an emotional, sensitive person who tends to assume the best in others- This has made me vulnerable to sarcasm, teasing, and a constant drumbeat that I need to "toughen up," etc.
I intellectually understand that to survive in society, I can't express my feelings exactly how I'd like to all the time- and I do my best to pass as a "normal" sort of person out there in the world... But I'd be lying if I told you I didn't feel stifled a LOT of the time.
Thankfully, it's more socially acceptable for me to nakedly express how I feel about a sports team- In this case, our Seattle Seahawks. Yeah, for the sake of my marriage I can't get away with screaming throughout the game or crying after a loss at our house, but I still feel freer to embrace my true nature in regards to the Seahawks than I do in my "regular" day-to-day life about almost everything else.
Football in particular is a game heavily influenced by intense emotions, and from the first time I stood for three hours cheering on the Seahawks in the Kingdome as an 8-year-old decades ago, I've felt a magnetic bond with this team. I've never been good at distancing or disconnecting myself from the Hawks, even when it might be in my best interest to do so. The romantic in me embraced this deeply flawed 2010 version of the Seahawks more and more as they've been swamped by an ever-growing tidal wave of disrespect from the national sports press, the NFL-watching public, and even many of their own fans.
Now that they are The Worst Playoff Team of All-Time (TM), I couldn't possibly love them more. From Raheem Brock to Mike Williams, I adore this roster of discarded, disregarded men. Others have already written about how the Seahawks are playing with "house money" and many fans go into this game with a serene sense of calm- There is absolutely NO expectation that Seattle will win, so anything positive the Seahawks accomplish will be a pleasant surprise.
Not for me. Even with the Hawks pegged as 11-point home underdogs, I'll be devastated if we lose Saturday and the season ends. I'll feel forlorn; My mind will be a desert. The promise of an improved roster in the offseason will grant me no comfort. The 2010 Seattle Seahawks will cease to be a living, breathing, fighting entity and enter the realms of history and memory.
I'm far from convinced it will all end Saturday though. Last Sunday the Seahawks brought more intensity and emotion to the field than St. Louis, and created a feedback loop with the Qwest Field crowd. This week, Pete Carroll will have the easiest motivational task of his coaching career- After a week of insults and abuse, of dismissal and disdain, the Seahawks will be out to prove that they belong in the NFL playoffs. The atmosphere at Qwest this Saturday will be absolutely suffocating for the World Champion Saints.
What of the Saints? They are clearly a more talented squad than Seattle, but how can they possibly get "up" for this game? They're hurting, they have to fly cross country, and they have to play outside in the elements in front of 67,000 fucking lunatics. On top of all that, all they've heard (and will hear) this week is how their opponents are unworthy to step onto the field with them.
That's not an NFL playoff game. That's a fucking CHORE. If the Saints treat this game like they are taking out the recycling, and bring that lack of intensity, their reign as World Champions ends Saturday afternoon.
Raw emotion. Intensity. These are the things that might just keep Seattle's season alive into next week. An abundance of feeling isn't just acceptable this week- It's abso-fucking-lutely necessary.
What do you think, sirs?