100 million NFL fans are collectively frozen with anxiety and fear until at least April 6 (You know, when Judge Susan Nelson will hear the NFLPA's request for an injunction to block the lockout). I'm one of these pathetic creatures- almost three decades of obsessive NFL fandom has rendered me unwilling and/or unable to simply say "fuck this noise" and move on with my life, find new hobbies, etc. The NFL and the Seattle Seahawks are such an integral part of my identity that I wouldn't just be "sad" or "angry" if there was no 2011 season- I'd be adrift, a shadow of myself.
I understand the anger a lot of fans are feeling right now, even if I think any anger at the players is woefully misplaced. I understand the fans that are calling for a boycott if the work stoppage wipes out any or all of the upcoming season, even though I absolutely positively would NOT fucking participate. Our annual rituals are ALREADY getting totally fucked up- So I see why a lot of people are already fuming at both sides in this conflict... I just don't feel it- Not yet, anyway. Out of some weird cocktail of faith and resignation, I still hope/believe that we'll have a full season of NFL and Seahawks football this fall.
In part because of that belief, I'm trying to keep myself from getting TOO angry with anyone in this dispute... Yes, even the owners. Why? Because when this thing finally ends, we have to get back to the business of being NFL fans, and more importantly, being Soldiers of Twelve. I keep coming back to Toy Story 3 for some reason.... Even though Andy stashes the toys in a box, and then eventually tries to put them in the attic, Woody constantly pushes the message that they need to be there for Andy when he needs them.
That's how I feel about my relationship with the Seahawks- I WILL be there when they need me, no matter how long I get stuffed in a dark box by a work stoppage. I've lived and died with this team through the most dispiriting seasons, through previous work stoppages, and through threats of relocation. Even if this season is completely wiped out, that's not enough to extinguish my love for this team.
The example of Major League Baseball serves me well here- Yes, it totally sucked when the 1994 World Series was cancelled- And I understood why some people would write off the sport entirely after that... But I couldn't- and the next season I was back rooting for my Red Sox (and most of you readers got swept up in '95 Mariners Magic). If I had turned my back on baseball then, I would have missed out on the 2004 Red Sox... and how fucking stupid would that have been?
So maybe I'm a chump. Maybe I'm a fool, a sucker, a sheep. It might all be true. But if something magical happens for our Seahawks when football returns, there's no God Damn WAY I'd miss it. I've bled blue and green for almost as long as I can remember, and no work stoppage, no matter how idiotic or ugly, could possibly change that.
All that said, I'm desperately hoping that Judge Nelson gives us an actual offseason/season next month- A nation turns its lonely eyes to you, m'lady.