Monday, February 02, 2015

Bandwagon Solidarity: Come for the winning, stay for the civic pride

The wave of excitement leading up to the SuperBowl in this city was an incredible event to witness. The whole town coalesced on this one thing: "12" signs everywhere, people wearing jerseys, car flags aplenty, the skyline & the Space Needle lit up with green and blue and there was a noticeable spring in everyone's step.  Being in this city--being a part of this city--the past weeks has been nothing short of magical.  Seattlites can be ideologically diverse and standoffish but the anticipation, even if you weren't a football fan per se, was contagious. 

I've often said that I do respect and tip my hat to the true fans who put their heart and soul into following all the games, knowing the players' stats, riding the emotional roller coaster week after week, season after season--and not just when things start to go well in the playoffs. I am reverent enough to know that I don't get to call the Seahawks team "we"--as I have not earned it. Because I know what a dedicated sports fan looks like. It's in those bleak moments, sitting in the freezing a$$ cold in Pullman, year after year, cheering on a team who can't usually finish. And yet buying season tickets anyway and seeing the glimmers of hope for next year.  (I'm describing my dad, by the way, supporting the much maligned WSU Cougars.) Given my alma mater,  it's a strange feeling to even be tangentially aligned with such a winning, dominant team like the Seahawks.  I have to admit, I was swept up in the euphoria just like everyone else when they won the NFC Championship and when I saw Russell Wilson crying after the win, it made me cry as well.

Even kids really embrace it. Now having a kid in Kindergarten--the children at school really get into the spirit each week but especially this last Thursday, (since there was no school on Friday) they all had their gear on and made Seahawks hats and ate Skittles during their math game. 

Sidney's Class

Other schools made signs and got into "12" formations and put the photos on social media. It was phenomenal.

A North Seattle Elementary School shows their support.

The city united in it's excitement last week especially with that strange and uncommon feeling of optimism and defending a championship title. It culminated in our household by throwing our first ever SuperBowl watching party with the Bernhardts yesterday.  That has never happened in all of my 40 years.  

It's true, Ken made Jello shots.

But given how the game ended last night, in a freakish turn of the tide, it was only fitting that the entire city also banded together in its grief and disappointment. And strangely enough it was in that collective feeling of despair that I really felt a palpable camaraderie with my fellow Seattlites. I'm not sure why the more negative emotion makes that solidarity more real, but it did.  And while today everyone is moving on with their lives, last night I just wanted to throw my arms around this city and instead of saying, "It's just a game." I wanted to say "In our collective frustration we are one. Think of what we could do together.... So yeah, see you next playoff season."  

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