For everyone who is hardcore about sports and about the Seattle Seahawks (either hating or loving them, it doesn't matter), I want to get out of the way right now that I, according to the rules, am a bandwagon fan. I cop to it, so you don't need to call me out and be an asshole about how I didn't put in the 40 years of dedication that would earn me a real right to love this team. I am a bandwagon fan. I'm a 12, and proud to be a Seattlelite and proud to have a really fucking cool team, but yes. I am a bandwagon fan.
To my credit, maybe, I'm only 24. So there are some legitimate reasons that I couldn't have been a fan of the team right when they started in '74. And then for 23 years, with the exception of a few throw away years as a baby, I was very adamant that I hated sports and football was a distraction for idiots. So that's roughly 30 unborn/baby years and let's say 20 years as a jerk. And now here we are, at our second Super Bowl.
I watched last year's Super Bowl sort of against my will, because I have a mother who has always loved football who pleaded with me to go with her to a bar to watch the game. And I said okay, because it was Sunday and I like bars.
I read a lot of stories about how that game was incredibly boring. Not at all fun to watch because it was sort of a bloodbath. And not a fun one for America because pretty much only Washington State was rooting for the Seahawks. But I loved it. I mean, I LOVED it. I maintain that that game was one of the more hilarious things I've ever seen. And it got me. Something about it got me.
But what I want to talk about most is winning. Not about having a team that wins, although that never hurts, but about winning. Because to me, being a Seahawks fan, even when they lose, feels like winning.
Today, we lost Super Bowl 49. And it was one play away. A play maybe we could have had, a play that the commentators couldn't fucking believe we ran, and blah blah blah. I watched it happen, and I think the heartbreak among 12s everywhere was audible. But here's the thing: despite the final score, I believe the Seahawks are a winning team. And I don't mean that in terms of Super Bowl rings, or Lombardi trophies, or championship titles, or statistics. I mean a winning team in terms of how they play, the respect they have for each other and the love they bring onto the field.
You hate me yet? It's cheesy right? Brace yourself.
Okay, let me say again that I turned 24 this year. An age that is older than I ever planned for. I think there's something about being a younger sibling that makes you think you're never going to get older than 15. When my older sister was 15 I remember thinking that was as old as anyone could possibly be. (No, I don't know why it didn't occur to me that my parents were older than that.) So 24 seemed like a huge age to be entering into, and a scary one, and definitely not one I could handle. And the thing that convinced me it was okay? Marshawn Lynch, Running Back, #24.
I decided that the theme of my year this year would be Beast Mode. Everything I didn't think I could do, I would just keep my legs moving and push through it. Fall forward. Get as many yards as I was allowed and then some. I would be unstoppable, it would take a whole team to bring me down, and even then I'd break tackles. Suddenly it felt like 24 meant something other than just getting older. It meant being a part of something, and living up to something. I felt inspired to be better, to work harder, to move faster.
Was it fun to watch the Seahawks win Super Bowl 48? Fuck yes. Is that what got me on board with this team? No. Plain and simple, no. It wasn't winning the game. It was the team. It was the energy on the field. Feeling like these guys play with everything they have for each other. Sure, they play to win, but after every win they credit the team. Not themselves. They talk about the incredible talent of their teammates, not themselves. They credit their coaching staff, their leadership, their love for the game, and for the rest of the team and for their fans. Not themselves.
And so, as silly as it may sound, as annoying as it may be coming from a bandwagon fan, I am inspired by this team. I am inspired to work hard. I'm inspired to ignore what I'm told about what I can't do because I'm young. I'm inspired to push my friends to push themselves. I'm inspired to say thank you when my friends and family make me better. I'm inspired to do what everyone thinks I'll never be able to do. I'm inspired to win, even when I lose.
And that's not nothing.
It's sort of crazy to be a football fan after so many years of being a severe hater. I love it, but it's weird. I get weird looks and "are you okay" talks from people who've known me a long time. And I want to explain to them that it's somewhat a love of the sport, but it's mostly a love for my team.
It's this team. Whom I will love win or lose, probably for the rest of my life. It's what they have given me, and motivated me to become. It's Beast Mode and it's 12th man, and it's SEA-HAWWWWKS and it's winning.
So, fuck the haters.