We've reached the ante-penultimate chapter of the 2013 Seahawks' season, and millions of Twelves are fervently hoping for a happy ending to this story. But it's not REALLY a story, right? Like life, it's just a bunch of stuff that happens, and a crapload of it is utterly, completely random. Even if your team is the best, they might not win it all. Just ask the 2007 Patriots. But we all like to spin these events into a story, which is why ESPN (and other broadcast outlets) usually try to push a given "narrative." Often they'll ignore information that doesn't fit that prescribed narrative, to the detriment of their coverage, and to the consternation of people who can rub more than a baker's dozen of brain cells together.
But right now? I'm TOTALLY guilty of crafting a "narrative" when it comes to the 2013 Seattle Seahawks. I'm highly confident that we'll defeat New Orleans on Saturday. So why have I never been this nervous before a playoff game before? It's because if the Saints pull the upset, not only will Seattle's season come to a traumatic end- The narrative that I've built up in my head will explosively decompress, too.
On one level, there's the narrative of Seahawks resurrection that revolves around Paul Allen, Pete Carroll, John Schneider and the roster that they've assiduously built over the past four years. Sure, there is the simple angle that they took an old, slow, overpriced team, tore it down and built perhaps the league's deepest roster. The fact the they're on the brink of bringing Seattle its first major professional sports championship since the late 70s would be compelling enough, but a Seahawks Super Bowl victory would be an earthquake that would shake the football world to its core.
PCJS represent some weird NFL amalgamation of Billy Beane and Steve Jobs, adopting tactics that have drawn HOWLS of criticism from their professional contemporaries and football observers (Your DBs are too big! Your quarterback is too small!). They've instituted strategies and practice routines that cut against the grain of the NFL's accumulated conventional wisdoms. They needed to "adapt or die," and they haven't just survived- They've flourished. The sport's old guard would LOVE to see Seattle's fresh tactics fail, so on general principles (above and beyond my own Twelvedom) I'd love to see the rest of the league scramble to copy the weirdo, lotus-posing, left-coast Super Bowl Champion Seahawks. I'd love to see players who were dismissed for for lazy, cowardly reasons like Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman rule this game that I love. A Seahawks Super Bowl win wouldn't just be a victory for Twelves- It would be a win for unconventional thinking in a sport STRANGLED by groupthink.
On a personal level, a Super Bowl win THIS YEAR would be particularly meaningful to me. I've been a Twelve since 1983. I've seen 265 wins and 258 losses (including the playoffs). I've seen hundreds of players suit up in Seahawks blue and green, from Cliff Avril to Jim Zorn. I survived the Ken Behring years and Super Bowl XL. That loss hurt more than anything else I've ever felt as a sports fan. It hit me particularly hard because in February of 2006 I was a DEEPLY unhappy human being, and a Seahawks championship would have been a blast of joy illuminating the darkness that filled my brainpan. But would I have been able to fully enjoy it? To completely appreciate it through my fog of anxiety and depression? Probably not.
There's no need for me to rehash the details of my transition in this space again, but even though I don't believe in fate or destiny or any of that crap, one romantic idea is stuck in my head: That in some larger cosmic sense, the Seahawks were waiting to win the Super Bowl until I was "ready." Until I was living authentically as Johnnie. Do I really think that's what's happening? Of course not- But it's still a powerful notion. That's the narrative that I'm so invested in- That the Seahawks and myself will achieve ultimate triumph/self-actualization more or less simultaneously.
I've bet big on this happening- I have my plane tickets booked for Seattle next weekend. If the Seahawks host the NFC Championship Game, I will be there to help give them one final sonic shove towards New Jersey and Super Bowl XLVIII. If they lose Saturday, I'll enjoy a nice weekend with my family and Seattle-area friends... but I'll still be absolutely crushed. The narrative will collapse and the boulder will roll some distance back down the mountain, so to speak.
If you are going to Saturday's game, scream until you reach the precipice of self-harm when New Orleans has the ball. I promise I'll go forth and do likewise eight days later... and two weeks later, we'll get an ending more satisfying than the finales of Star Trek: TNG, Six Feet Under, and Breaking Bad put together.
What Do You Think, Sirs?