Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Seattle FanFair?

Loyalty, at least in football terms, is not a moral choice like bravery or kindness; it is more like a wart or a hump, something you are stuck with for the rest of your life. I discovered this in January of 2003 when Hasselbeck wanted the ball and was going to score. He is remembered for dropping this line as Seattle won the overtime coin toss during the first Seahawk postseason game I had ever witnessed. (I missed the 2000 Miami game because I was stuck in an airport in San Fransisco. I don't even remember where I was going, but I remember sitting miserably at my gate listening to the cheers and groans from the guys crowded around the bar TV. The bar TV that had its back to me and would tease me with hauntingly blocked views from every surrounding angle I attempted. That TV was to Austin Powers' genitalia as I was to the immensely embarrassed and slightly amused twelve year old watching with his grandma. Every houseplant, table light, and glazed ham sat directly between me and that TV.)
Hasselbeck is also remembered for following his famous line by throwing an interception that Al Harris would return for 52 yards and a game winning touchdown. Read it: A GAME WINNING touchdown. A game winning touchdown that left me clutching a couch cushion on the living room floor. This is the first time I have actually hurt physically after a loss. This is the first time I have to catch my breath and physically recover before I can begin to filter through seventeen games worth of emotion. This is the first time I want to hurt an opposing team's fan and the first time I have to calmly ask said fan to change the subject or leave me alone for a bit. This is the first time he will comply mercifully. And, as they say, this isn't the only time.
When you are a Seattle Sports fan you know your loyalty as well as your tall vanilla chai, your organic whole food farmers market, your polar fleece, and your ninety minute commute through the rain. Marriages are nowhere near as rigid. You won't catch any real fan slipping off to St. Louis for a bit of extra-marital foreplay, and though divorce is a possibility (you can just stop watching if things get too bad), getting hitched again is out of the question. There have been many times over the last year where I have pored over the small print of my contract looking for a way out, but there isn't one. Each humiliating defeat (Buffallo, San Fran, New York, Green Bay, Tampa, Philly, Miami, Arizona, Dallas, Washington, New England) must be borne with patience. Each hair-pulling headline with fortitude and forbearance. (Lets review: The Mariners are the first team with $100mil+ payroll to lose 100 games, The Huskies lose to BYU, WSU, EVERYGAME!!!, The Mariners use a third string catcher in extra innings AS A PITCHER!!!, Holmgren coaches his last game in Seattle, The Tuba Man is murdered, and the Sonics get hijacked by an oil tycoon from Oklahoma City.) There is simply nothing that can be done about the tragic loyalty tattooed on our sleeves, and that is the realization that makes the Seattle fan squirm with frustration.
Of course I hate the fact that Seattle is losing franchises almost as fast as games. Of course I want them to score a gazillion touchdowns, hit a gazillion home runs, and play with the ferver of eleven Paytons, Largents, Edgars, and Juniors. But I know the score and it isn't going to happen, certainly not in the foreseeable future. We are still down by too much with not enough time left in the fourth quarter.
I was unable to defend my team's inadequacies all year. I could see them for myself, and I hated them. Sure we had eleven injuries at wide reciever alone. Sure we had a GM that practically begged for a losing team (signed Scott Spezio and Rich Aurillia? traded Freddy Garcia for Miguel Olivo? Carl Everett? Matt Lawton? traded Moyer?) After each feeble attempt at a pass and every misplaced pitch I would join the crowd's collective groan and brace myself for the silence that follows. It is during this silence that we add another game to our mental rolodex and throw another loss on the back end of our teams record. Our L column is now heavier than a high schoolers backpack. The sportsfan is chained to our L column and our L column is chained to Seattle, and there is no way out for any of us.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Night Shifter's Day

I tend to wake with some sort of loud chatter or laughter shared between two or three my roommates. Their voices usually escalate to bothersome proportions at some point between noon and three in the afternoon. They are as welcome as an alarm clock's buzz and something must be done about them. But in my slumbering state I can only respond as any other logical man would. I roll over and bury my head under the pillow. This only muffles the noise but it buys me time. It is my metaphorical snooze button.
Eventually I give up the warmth of my bed, allow my feet to hit the floor, rub the crap out of my eyes and give my hair some sort of heavy inspection with my palms. As I stand and allow my knees to find their proper balance I must decide my next venture. I can don athletic shorts and scour the laundry pile for the most comfortable/least rancid t-shirt, or I can grab a towel and head straight for the shower. I usually decide based on what time I have to work or if Around The Horn is on. Essentially everything comes down to whether I shower before or after an hour or two of ESPN and its Sportscentered glory. Life is rough when you've just woken.
Ultimately that fateful hour strikes and I must transform into the working man. I hygene up, pile on the black attire, grab the ol' apron and name tag, force my feet into their potholed cavern of a shoe, and head out the door. I invest six to ten hours of my day crafting an immaculate dinning environment and attending to the needs of the work crew around me; or, three to four hours pleasing the guest with speedy, spruce, and proper plate management. Sometimes I do both in one day. This all depends on a schedule I never write and rarely like. I enjoy my job, but the highlight of my day comes when I am told I can finally leave that stress infested hell hole.
It is then that I can truly be alive. I drive on through that drive-through and arrive home with a paper sack and a plastic cup shaking with Dr. Pepper. I'm just in time to discover the score of whatever it is that happened that night. And when I have finished my breakfast lunch and dinner I can wind down with a book, movie, internet, replay of the game I missed, or sitcom streaming through the Xbox. I better be quick though, I have a strict dawn-o'clock bedtime to make.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Updating the Alphabet

Books Added:
Downtown Owl by Chuck Klosterman
H: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
J: Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne
K: King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
P: Post Office by Charles Bukowski
U: The Untouchable by John Bannville

Books Finished:
As I Lay Dying
Cats Cradle
The Road
The Yiddish Policeman's Union

Still Searching For:

Considering A Revision:

Replace Man and Superman with My Name is Russel Fink by Micheal Snider
Replace Bridge to Teribithia with Babbit by Lewis Sinclair

Life Post ABC's:
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible (Hardcover) The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible As Literally As Possible

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (Paperback) Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Bigger Deal: A Year Inside the Poker Boom (Hardcover) Bigger Deal: A Year Inside the Poker Boom

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Penguin Classics) One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest