January 14, 2013
Welcome to the Desert of the Real
Imagine something that you've wanted for as long as you can remember. Imagine that it's something unique and irreplaceable, with intensely personal significance to YOU. It cannot be purchased with any amount of money. You've got that picture in you mind now, right?
You don't have it in your hands yet, but you can see it. You can hear it, and you can smell it. It's sitting in the same room with you, just feet away. Imagine the joy you would feel. Imagine the anticipation that would fill every inch of your body. You never thought that you'd get to have this. You've dreamed about it, but you've never imagined it was actually attainable.
Then, half of a minute before it would be yours, thirty seconds before you could share your limitless joy with the world, it's violently destroyed right in front of you. It's smashed to bits with a sledgehammer, and the bits are set on fire. Then you are left to clean up the debris, alone. Imagine that.
That's what happened to me yesterday.
Understandably, Seahawks fans are tending to focus on the future: On the vast potential of this young team, and the boundless talents of Russell Wilson. But I'm not there yet. I still feel like there is a rat inside my skull, gnawing on my brain. I'm torturing myself with the knowledge that in some alternate reality, Pete Carroll kicked a field goal on 4th and 1... or Russell Wilson didn't take that sack at the end of the 1st half... or Lynch's TD got overturned and we got to run a few more seconds off the clock... or Carroll didn't ice Atlanta's kicker as he Norwooded the decisive field goal attempt. If ANY of those things happen, we win. If any of those things happen, right now we're preparing to face a 49ers team that we hold a distinct psychological advantage over, with a trip to Super Bowl XLVII on the line. Instead, it's over. The season is dead. Our dreams are dead. This team was good enough to win the Super Bowl, and the harsh reality is that there's no guarantee that's they'll ever have a better shot than the one they just squandered. We all HOPE they will bounce back, but the boulder has rolled all the way back down to the bottom of the mountain. It might not ever get pushed to the top. Just ask a Browns fan... or a Lions fan.
I cried after that game yesterday. The only more painful defeat I've ever experienced as a Seahawks fan was Super Bowl XL. It was worse than the 4th-quarter collapses of 2004. It was worse than the OT playoff losses to Houston in '87 or Green Bay in '03 or Chicago in '06. It was the most vivid possible illustration of the amoral cruelty of this game: Three quarters of torment, then one quarter of stirring, inspirational effort, capped with thirty seconds of sadistic torture. It was the kind of defeat that makes you feel like a schmuck for caring about anything.
So I'm at one of those vulnerable points where the jeering disdain of the jaded and cynical rings in my head. Why do I allow the results of a children's game to make me feel this awful? Why is my emotional state at the mercy of a group of people over which I exert no control or influence? How much of a fucking loser am I?
Then I remember that the wins only matter if the losses hurt. I remember that I am the one who gives meaning to this children's game, and that I am not alone. I have chosen to give this meaning, as have my brother, my Mom, my friends, and millions of other people. It's possible that the Seahawks might not ever push the boulder to the top of the mountain, but they MIGHT. That hope, and the knowledge that I will get to share that glorious moment with the people I care about, is what keeps me going.
I'll feel better later. But right now? I'm grieving. That might sound pathetic, but it's the truth. The 2012 Seahawks are gone. A lot of the players will be back next fall, but that team won't necessarily be the same, or even better. Not only are they gone, but they were snuffed out in the most traumatic manner imaginable. My heart is shredded.
So that's where I'm at today. How about y'all?