We’ve been talking this week about the appeal of being a fair-weather sports fan and joining a community that’s rooting for the same thing. In Seattle at the moment, that’s obviously the Seahawks. On Sunday, they play the San Francisco 49ers.
But KUOW's Morning Edition host Bill Radke has grown tired of the hooplah. In the staff lunchroom earlier this week, Record hosts Ross Reynolds, Marcie Sillman and David Hyde were talking about the Seahawks (Marcie likely leading a small cheer section), and Bill overheard.
“Why do you even care?” Bill asked. And then, as he puts it, he “got cranking.”
The Record staff was so delighted by this rant that they asked him to record it for air. We transcribed it below, but really, you should listen.
I used to be a Seattle sports fan. When Ken Griffey Jr. hit his eighth consecutive home run, I was there in the Kingdome, screaming.
When Steve Largent settled the score with Denver Broncos’ villain Mike Harden with that vicious but clean beautiful hit, I could have kissed him.
When the Mariners' 1995 playoff run finally ended and Alex Rodriguez draped his arm around the shoulder of sobbing little Joey Cora, Alex felt like my big brother.
Today, Alex is the most despised phony in baseball, banned for a year from baseball for drug use. And the Seahawks are the NFL’s most annoying team.
That’s not my opinion. Look it up. Their defensive strategy is to commit so many holding and pass interference penalties that the referees can’t possibly call all of them. The Seahawks also lead the league in suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs. And if being an insulting loud-mouth braggart were illegal, cornerback Richard Sherman would be in Walla Walla.
"But wait a minute," you might say. "Every team has some boasters and some bad apples. And besides, our quarterback Russell Wilson, he seems really nice." He does. You’re right. The Seahawks aren’t that different from any other team. Why would they be? Unlike America’s cities, American sports teams are not distinctive, because they’re not local. Russell Wilson is from Virginia. Marshawn Lynch is from Oakland. Pete Carroll is from San Francisco, and when their gig is up here, they’re going to move on.
Steve Largent couldn’t wait to go back to Oklahoma. Ken Griffey Jr. lives in Florida, maybe because he can’t stand the rain. I don’t blame him.
Do the Seahawks seem in any way Seattle-ish to you? Russell Wilson is overtly, devoutly Christian, and good for him. But Seattle is not. New Yorkers are known for being loud. Seattle is loud only when we go to a game and scream exactly like every other fan in America does, but we’re sitting in a field called CenturyLink – based in Louisiana – that was architecturally designed to make ordinary screaming really loud.
Maybe you root for the Seahawks out of loyalty. Did you know there was once a team called the Miami Seahawks? They moved to Baltimore, before Baltimore moved to Indianapolis. Like the Sonics have shown you what loyalty means to sports teams.
Here’s a reason to root for the Hawks: If they beat San Francisco this weekend, it’ll make our town feel happy. To hell with the sad people of San Francisco – they don’t live here!
Mel Brooks once said, "The first national anthem was called, 'Let ‘em all go to hell, except Cave 76.'” We haven’t changed that much. I mean, you wouldn’t root for your own race anymore, but it’s still OK to be a city supremacist. It’s human, actually. We are hard-wired to be tribal.
Well my tribe is you. And me. And everybody else. I’m rooting for all of us TO HAVE SOMETHING BETTER TO DO!