Friends. The air here is palpable. It’s electric. It’s exciting.
There’s a frenzy broiling beneath the surface of this town. Everyone going about their daily lives with an extra layer of exuberance.
I live in a place that has a history with Russell Wilson. He played baseball in the stadium that stands next to the fields where my kids play soccer at in the fall and spring. Every time we go by, my kids exclaim, “Mom! That’s where Russell Wilson played!” And it’s so cool. My husband, the Captain, practically swoons with delirium. Raising our kids to appreciate the things we do is important to him. And, boy, do we love football.
I grew up in a house where football was the highlight of our television year. Sitcoms could come and go, news broadcasts were a dime a dozen, cooking shows weren’t even acknowledged, but football… Football was the lynchpin of our Mondays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Before my siblings and I ever really had interest in the game, we would spend Sundays going about our business while my mom hooted and hollered at the players on the television. If anyone ever wonders where my louder than necessary attitude came from, you need only peek inside my childhood home during a football game.
As I got older and became more interested in football (read, after my skulky, attitudenal teenage years), I put an effort in to learn about the game. As I started to understand the process, the rules, regulations, and the roles that various positions played, football began to be a source of entertainment for me. It helped that the Captain, who is as big of a fan as my mom, is ever-so-patient with my, still, consistent questions.
My decision to learn more about football wasn’t completely because of interest in it though. With family and a spouse that devoted so much time to watching this game that they love, I felt that I had two choices: Be a part of it, or find something else to do. For me, it was a simple choice. There are few things better than snuggling up on the couch with Captain, enjoying snacks, and sharing in the triumphs of our team.
Our team, which is the Seattle Seahawks. As fans, we are called the 12th Man, because the franchise decided 30 years ago that their fans were so important that the fans needed to be honored with an official place on the team. If you ever watch football, you may have come across a team getting a penalty for having 12 men on the field, since only 11 are allowed to be in play for each team at any given time. But the fans embodied such a fierce love for the game, for the men who put their bodies on the line because they loved the game, too, that the number 12 jersey was officially retired, just for the fans.
Recently, the 12th Man has become less of an honorary position and more of a physical one. The Seahawks have led the nation in false starts due to the noise level the 12th Man can incur. Seismic activity has been recorded as the 12th Man goes wild for their team’s extraordinary plays. It’s an amazing feeling, to be part of the tidal wave that comes crashing down on a team visiting the Emerald City.
It’s an amazing thing to be a 12th Man. We do, however, catch a lot of crap for it. To be fair, there are extremists anywhere that ruin the name of many things for many people. The same is true with football fans. There are those who are too cocky, too brash, too loud-mouthed, and just too much altogether. So the rest of us are maligned for it. The term ‘bandwagoners’ is tossed around like a hot, filthy brand to mark us as ‘not real fans.’
But, we don’t care. And our team doesn’t care.
So often we flit through life from one popular thing to the next. Diet crazes, fashion statements, music trends, and pretty much anything that a bunch of people ever said, “HEY, that’s cool! Let’s do that!” to. It’s human nature to seek the newest and coolest, latest and greatest.
If half of the 12th Man is made up by bandwagoners, I say, ‘Welcome!’
If you, my neighbor, wants to climb aboard this train of excitement and skill and sweat and tears and hooting and hollering, then don your colors, whatever they may be, and scream loud when your teams gets that touchdown. Revel in the thrill of the goosebumps that will take over your body when a pass is dropped or an interception is made.
It’s not for love of the colors, the uniforms, the wins or losses, or the glory (I’m also a Buccaneers fan. There is NO bandwagon for them).
It’s for the love of the game.
I’ll see you on Sunday. I’ll be the loud one with the blue and green hair.