Seattle's 12s are frustrated with their Seahawks, but it isn't just because they're losing, says reader.
BY PATRICK THIER
Before moving to the Seattle area, I spent most of my life in rural Eastern Iowa. For anyone who may have passed through that region of Middle America, it’s hard not to notice the plethora of Iowa Hawkeyes logos plastered to mailboxes, barns and equipment sheds. Since we didn’t have an NFL team to call our own, the Hawkeyes were not only loved, they were beloved. It was a special relationship.
But the relationship the Seattle Seahawks have with their fans is different; different than any other team-fan relationship I have ever witnessed. Even the ’95 Mariners.
I moved to this area in September 1995, when M’s games were actually broadcasted over grocery store PA systems. I vividly remember walking through a store in Puyallup during a regular-season game during a game. Shoppers stopped pushing their carts to hear the crack of Ken Griffey Jr.’s bat and the store erupted in cheers and claps. We loved our Mariners.
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But the relationship we have with the Seahawks is different. Why?
Perhaps it’s Pete Carroll’s style of coaching. He talks with the players and not at them. He nurtures each player’s individuality and spirituality. He’s a father figure to many of them.
Perhaps it’s Russell Wilson and his refreshing niceness. The angry, swearing, over-testosteroned football player is the norm. Thankfully, Russell is not normal.
Or perhaps it’s the notion of hand-picking average players and suddenly making them shine on the shores of Puget Sound. Everyone likes an underdog.
What’s unique about this relationship is the fact that Seattle fans don’t view the Hawks as merely a favorite team, we view the Seahawks — both collectively and individually — as if they were our own children. We actually care about the players and coaches. We don’t want them to succeed so we can stick our chests out when we amble past a Niners fan. We long for their success because we know they have it in them. Like our brilliant child who comes home with an above average B-minus, we are disappointed because we know they can be a straight-A student.
Take the Seahawks’ two victories as an example. A “W” after a game should be enough, right? After all, it’s not new that on any given Sunday in the NFL, the worst team can beat the best team. But simply winning is not nearly good enough for Hawks fans because we know how good they can be. Marshawn Lynch and Brandon Mebane, arguably are the top players at their positions, didn’t play in the 13-10 Monday night victory over Detroit. So is that a good enough reason to walk away with a weak “W?” Heck no. Not for these fans. We saw how good Thomas Rawls could be and we knew the depth of our defense. Facing a team that was as statistically as bad as the Lions, anything short of a blowout was simply unacceptable.
And, of course, then came back-to-back, come-from-ahead losses to Cincinnati and Carolina. Both were unbeaten teams. In both cases, the Hawks dominated for parts of the game and seemed safely ahead entering the fourth quarter. Both turned out to be tough losses. Hawks fans took it like parents whose kids brought home a midterm A-minus only to fail the final.
Nothing epitomizes parental angst more than having your newly licensed teenager take the family car out for a night on the town, right? Unfortunately, we fans have lived a similar microcosm of familial trauma these past few days. We didn’t exactly get a late-night call from authorities, but still got the difficult news that Derrick Coleman and Fred Jackson wrecked their cars. They may not actually be our own, but we want to cry out, “How many times do we have to tell you to slow down and pay attention? It’s for your own good!”
Yes, the 12s are perfectionists. That’s not to say we have to win every game 49-0 or that we expect flag-free play for the rest of the season. It simply means we want our boys — our family — to be as good as we know they can be. Anything short of that will be a disappointment.
Are our sights set high and our expectations out of line? Perhaps. Do we have way too much emotional stock invested in these guys? Without a doubt. But when we embrace a team and its coach like we raised them ourselves, we can’t help it.
They’re family now, and we know what they are capable of.
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