July 1, 2018
I was at an event for work the other night, and it turned out that one of my colleagues brought her husband, and he was a fellow 12. We spent a good half-hour talking about the Hawks, and it was great - But I noticed something else: I didn't feel like I could say that I was a Seahawks blogger anymore. That made me feel sad and incomplete, but it also motivated me to sit down and write again. I'm ridiculously busy these days, but who isn't? I need to remember that writing about the Seahawks is essentially self-care for me. It makes me feel better to blog about the team, and to know that there is a group of 12s out there who want to engage with what I write. So here I am, back at a keyboard, trying to get into the habit of blogging about our favorite team again.
It's been a tumultuous, painful offseason, but I want to run it back to the end of the 2017 season before getting to that.
I was at that waking nightmare against the Rams in December, and it was the worst I've ever felt after attending a Seahawks game. I say that as someone who went to Steve Largent's final game in 1989 and cried like I did when E.T. was all ashy and dying, harassed by raccoons. It was a sobering beatdown, but we still had a chance to make the playoffs at that point. I went home to the Tri-Cities, looking forward to watching the Cowboys game with my family on Christmas Eve.
The game was a big highlight of my trip home, and it felt great to watch a Seahawks win with my family like I had done for the past three decades. There was an odd undercurrent to everything, though. A number of more distant family members and acquaintances of my parents refused to come over watch the Seahawks in support of Donald Trump's brazen attacks on the free speech rights of NFL players. I was stunned, flabbergasted at the ease with which some people could abandon the team. If I was going to stop watching the Seahawks because I didn't like the politics of the players or coaches, or I found their behavior abhorrent, there would have been dozens of opportunities for me to do so over the years. I mean, back in the 00s my favorite player was Matt Hasselbeck, who openly campaigned and fund-raised for George W. Bush. If my criteria for supporting the Seahawks was entirely dependent on my TOTAL ALIGNMENT WITH AND APPROVAL OF all the players on all the coaches, I should boycott the team because they employ Frank Clark. I should abandon the franchise because Pete Carroll consorted with noted radical misogynist and transphobe Jordan Peterson. I'm... not going to do any of that.
Maybe my Hillary-Clinton-voting ass is just accustomed to making compromises, because I know getting half a loaf is OK since hey, that way you can still make sandwiches? But I think it's deeper than that, because the social pressure to abandon the NFL and the Seahawks isn't just coming from the right.
I run in pretty deeply progressive/queer/feminist circles, and as you can imagine, there's not a ton of people in my networks that watch the NFL, or even understand how I can watch it. I've heard the critiques, and if Colin Kaepernick getting blackballed, or the concussion crisis, or the league's tepid response to domestic violence has killed your desire to watch the game, I respect that.
(Sidebar: I do find it laughable when people who NEVER watched the NFL make a BIIIIG performative show of "boycotting" the NFL. Bruh, if you use a product or service and then STOP using it to make a political point, that's a boycott. It would be bizarre if I announced that I was boycotting NASCAR, since I've never watched it anyway. You can just not like or not watch something without theatrically announcing it to the world, you know?)
It IS alienating, though. For most of my life watching the Seahawks has been an oasis where I could connect with my family, friends, and roots in Washington State, where I could let loose and just express the full range and intensity of my emotions, and where I could, in the most positive sense of concept, feel something close to normal. It doesn't feel quite that way anymore. Now it's contentious and contested, rather than being something a broad swath of American society can enjoy together.
That said, this is still so important to me. In May I came home for alumni weekend at Western, and to see friends and family in Seattle. It was a transcendent experience that was so energizing that it made me think about moving to Bellingham in a more serious manner than I have for at least 15 years. Even though it is the offseason, the visit also reminded me how important, how crucial, being a 12 is to my identity. The Seahawks have been one of the only constants in my life over the decades, and one of the things that make me feel like my heart is still wirelessly connected to the state I grew up in. I need this team, and I need to feel connected to my fellow 12s. I felt that when I was blogging regularly, and that's a big reason I'm going to try to write here more regularly from now on.
Obviously, there is plenty to write about concerning the team right now. My annual jersey-buying guide will be coming in July, and I'll also do a (grossly belated) recap of the 2017 season soon. On some level, this is therapeutic for me - So I'll try to talk to y'all more often this season.
Anyway, Go Hawks!