February 3, 2012

"I can feel them pulling away as I'm resigned to stay the same."

One of the things I've been reflecting upon as another Super Bowl approaches is how close we got to winning it all six years ago- I'm not here to whinge about XL yet again, but it's gotten me thinking about some of the big reasons the Seahawks are important to me. Unfortunately some of those reasons are really depressing, so consider this your downer warning...

Twice in the last week, someone out here in Columbus has noticed my Seahawks gear and said "Seahawks? Are you from Seattle?" As I've said before, my initial response is typically "yeah," but if THEY then say they are from Seattle, I unspool that whole "I grew up in the Tri-Cities, then went to college at Western" thing. That got me thinking about how much I miss the northwest, and how much I miss my friends and family out there, and I had an unpleasant revelation: I'm probably never going to move back there.

For a long time I've thought "hey, maybe someday, I'll end up back there." But the brutal truth is this- It's just not going to happen. My life is out here in Ohio (a place I've honestly grown to love)... job, kids, everything. It's how it should be, and how it NEEDS to be. I've KNOWN this for a long time, but denial is an extremely powerful thing. That made me think about the close friendships that have frayed over the time I've been in Ohio- friendships that I wish were closer, friendships that are barely maintained through facebook and the occasional text message. Then there's my relationship with my family, who I only see 2-3 times a year because I'm broke and cross-country air travel just keeps getting pricier. This all makes me feel like a shitty friend, son, brother, etc. It's one of those things that isn't really anyone's FAULT- It's just very difficult to maintain relationships over a distance of 2000+ miles.

This is where we circle back around to the Seahawks thing- Rooting for the Seahawks is something that makes me feel connected to everything and everyone back home (even to those friends who are Seahawks-dissing Sounders snobs... I kid because I love, y'all). I don't just mean my Western friends or my family- I also mean the community of Twelves that has sprung up on twitter (and among followers of this blog). I tweet a lot, and one of the big reasons I do so is that it makes me feel a little bit less lonely, and a little bit less isolated (What a shock! A blogger is socially maladjusted and awkward!).

So it has become a perverse reverse feedback loop: As I drift further away from my Northwest roots, my commitment to the Seahawks becomes more and more intense, and more and more indispensable to me... This makes it extra painful to finally give up my season tickets. My parents have been fronting the funds for my season tickets for years, but with my little brother going off to college this fall it's very hard to keep justifying the expense. It's totally logical to take this step, and I'm actually looking forward to sitting in other areas of Seahawks Stadium (like perhaps the Hawks Nest)- but it still makes me feel like I'm somehow less of a fan.

In the same vein, if Cortez Kennedy is inducted into the Hall of Fame Saturday, it will have great personal meaning for me- Kennedy was the last truly great Seahawk I got to see play before I moved away to Ohio, and as I've said before his ascension to the Hall would validate all that time I spent glued to mediocre Seahawks teams in the '90s.

In a couple of years, I'll bring my son to his first game at Seahawks Stadium. A few years after that, I'll take my daughter to HER first game. Hopefully BEFORE then, I'll be out there for a victory parade through Seattle. Until then (and, duh, after) I'll keep coming out for games whenever I can, and let that make me feel like the tether to my roots hasn't completely frayed to the breaking point.

You all should know... My friends, my family, my fellow Twelves- I miss all of you, I love all of you, and Go Seahawks!


seahawkerholm said...

Hey bro I totally get becoming a more committed fan the farther you are away..I'm Army, spent 3 yrs in Hawaii, 2 yrs in GA. I actually became MORE of a hardcore fan the longer I was away, and could laugh it off when someone would say, "your a SEAHAWKS fan? Why?" I feel your Seahawks pain!

Toftie said...

Well maybe this means you can sit with me in my seats when you come to town. I would love that.

neurocell said...

I don't know if you remember, but I've said that I lived in St. Marys, OH from '72-'76. We moved there just before my fourth birthday, and left a month prior to my eighth birthday.

When we moved to Bellevue for a couple of weeks, and then Kirkland permanently, the shine wore off pretty quickly. Ohio was SO much better than Washington. Then I started making friends that were almost as good as my best friend, Scotty Snethcamp, from Ohio. Eventually they became better friends, and I realized that I could play outside longer, and more often, because of the milder weather, both during the summer and especially the winter. (We didn't have to worry about tornados any longer, but Mt. St. Helens put that weather phenomenon in perspective.)

As I grew older, I realized that no matter where you live, it's as happy a place as you make it. I missed rooting for the Reds and Pirates (haven't liked the pirates since 6-5-6), but it made me so freakin' happy when they'd win. Because this was in the era before even sportscenter, I ended up following Seattle teams. Especially the Hawks. Steve Largent and Jim Zorn were so personable, and approachable, that they seemed like they wanted to be your friends. Seahawks' games were a family affair. My sister and I were able to get our parents to like the Hawks because they were exciting, they played fair, and they never gave up.

Even though I lived away from Seattle for most of the last two decades, I've experienced the same thing that you and seahawkerholm have; I've grown closer to people because of the Hawks. It's always a reason to call and discuss how the Hawks're doing, which leads to something else.

You shouldn't feel bad about no longer being a season ticket holder. You've been one for almost two decades, and one of those you lived about 2,000 air miles away. You've more than earned the right to be considered a "platinum" fan. Heck, because of this site, I rank you up there with Mama Blue, Big Lo, and Bill the Beer Man. If the Hawks ever have a Fan Ring of Honor, you'll be in it.

Also, congrats, Tez!