The Agony Of Seattle Sports

Originally published October 31st, 2013

“The Red Sox are World Series Champions!”  Again.

Baseball sucked for me this year.  I boldly, and insanely, picked the Mariners to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001, only to watch them flail, falter, and ultimately not only fail to make the postseason, but fail to ignite any interest from a rapidly dwindling fan-base.   I watched the Red Sox close out another championship and sighed, long and deep.  When is it going to be our turn?

It’s not just baseball.   It’s everything.   Realize that Seattle’s claim to fame is an NBA title from the 1970’s and a pair of WNBA titles.   (And you know what, good for the Storm for winning!)  I know some of you are going to say “What about UW’s National Title?”   You’re right, they were co-National Champions, so even in a year to celebrate, they had to share it with someone else.   UW, Eastern, and WSU have all seen titles for their minor sports, but I’m talking about the BIG ones.

Where is our Super Bowl title?

Where is our World Series championship?

Where is our NBA… team?

It’s fucking miserable to be a Seattle sports fan.   We live in city that has failed to live up to expectations at every turn.  But is that landscape ready to change?

It’s said that championships come from a “perfect storm”.   Sadly there are times that storm comes from tragedy or heartbreak, but it also comes out of a momentum of events that propel teams to win, even when the past says they shouldn’t.  Are we witnessing that perfect storm here, now, in Seattle with the Seahawks?

At 7-1, the Seattle Seahawks have posted their best record in the history of the franchise.  What’s astounding is not that the team is 7-1, but that they’re 7-1 with improbable and seemingly impossible wins in Houston and St Louis.   Where would this team be today at 5-3?   Instead, the Seahawks control their own destiny as they search to clinch a first week by and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.   It feels like 2005, when the wins fell into place and we dominated at home.  Then we lost in the Super Bowl.  So how would this year be any different?

The 2013 Seahawks, and really the Pete Carroll-era Seahawks, have something that no other Seattle team has had in the history of Seattle sports:  The willpower and mindset to battle adversity.  Think on past championship-caliber teams.   The 1994 Sonics that lost to Dikembe, the 2001 Mariners, and even the 2005 Seattle Seahawks all did one thing when momentum swung the other way, they collapsed.   The Pete Carroll-era Hawks have played against the Seattle stereotype by winning on the road, and coming from behind repeatedly, including on the biggest stages.   Winning on the road in Chicago.  Down 14-0 at half against Washington and winning on the road in the playoffs, down 20-0 against the Falcons and taking the lead with seconds on the clock.  What Seattle team does that?!   And now this year, coming from behind on the road again and again.   It feels different, doesn’t it?

I said it last year and meant it – I liked last year’s Seahawks team better than the one that went to the Super Bowl.  They were more aggressive on defense, more energizing on offense, and frankly more fun to watch!   The team feels special.   They’ve shown they can take a “punch to the mouth” and come back to win the fight, and that’s something we haven’t seen since 1995? 


That all brings it back to baseball, doesn’t it?  Isn’t it time to move past 1995?   I was there, I’m with you, it was pure magic.   But has a franchise ever put so much focus and energy behind a team that at the end of the day, didn’t win?  1995.  2001.   Can we stop having anniversaries for failures?   It’s time to embrace winning in the now.  And right now, the Seattle Seahawks look like the team to make that happen.

So how does the Seattle Seahawks winning a Super Bowl change the entire landscape of a city?   I truly believe that one team can energize a city, and that the attitude and energy from one win can expand and explode onto other teams.   Both the Sonics/Mariners and Mariners/Seahawks have histories of coinciding success.  Coaching and talent are the certainly the biggest drivers of success, but so was attendance and fan energy.  Winning begets winning, and Seattle is like one giant dominoes maze, all we need is that first domino to fall.  Which team will be the one to push it?


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