Most of what I want to say in this post was covered in Cronise’s repping post, but with the impending draft I felt I needed to post some things about fandom I’ve noticed since switching coasts.
I’m from Pennsylvania originally and I root for mostly Philly sports teams. The NFL, however, is a little different. I grew up in Ravens’ country but never got into the NFL while living there, and for whatever reason didn’t really buy too much into the Eagles while I lived in Philly. So after my relocation to Seattle last year, I invested in Seattle Seahawks season tickets. All that aside, there were two specific experiences I want to discuss about fandom related to “the Seahawks experiment”. One of which I attribute to coastal cutural differences. Let’s start with that one:
…There I was, in the Hawk’s Nest, psyched on my view for the remainder of the season, anxiously awaiting the kickoff (this would probably be the only game I actually was on time for kickoff for the rest of the season). The Seahawks took the field, and the “12th Man” went crazy.
Sidenote #1 (from wikipedia):
“The “12th man” term has been used by various American football teams including the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins, and Chicago Bears in reference to their supporters, though the Bears no longer use the term “12th man” at the request of Texas A&M (the Bears currently use the phrase “4th Phase”). The Seattle Seahawks continue to use the phrase, having settled with Texas A&M out of court after a trademark lawsuit filed by Texas A&M. As a tribute to their fans, the Seahawks retired the number 12 during a game on 15 December 1984. Since then No. 12 Jerseys have been sold by the team and worn by Seahawk fans, often with the name “Fan” on the back. The Seahawks also have a ceremony before each home game where a flag bearing the No. 12 is raised by a prominent individual.”
Before I tell you what happened next, please don’t misunderstand that there are a ton of avid, diehard Seahawks fans in the Hawk’s Nest, I think I just so happened to pick some bad seats. After the first failed drive, which the Seahawks and Tarvaris Jackson failed to gain a first down, it began. “You suck Tarvaris”, “We want Luck”, “Suck for Luck”, “0-16”. Are you serious? Coming from Philadelphia, I was astonished. I couldn’t believe people were actually willing to throw away the season after a quarter of play (In fact, I am anxiously awaiting the coming NFL season, its a day before the NFL draft, and is not even May). I am not the #1 Tarvaris Jackson backer either, but I was in no way ready to pack it in after one Loss (or even a few failed drives).
Sidenote #2 (TJ stats from ESPN):
I completely understand the “Suck for Luck” campaign after you’re 0-8 and out of the picture, but not 15 minutes into a game which the Seahawks would later win anyway. What was the motive here? Sports is not standup comedy, and I certainly wasn’t laughing. I get comedy and sports if you’re a blogger or radio host, I am guessing this man was neither. Why buy season tickets if this is your stance? I had a hard time stomaching this, and it turned out this particular “fan” went to half of the games.
On the contrary, I witnessed some serious dedication from a guy (named Steve I believe) a few rows in front of me. During one of the colder games, Steve, being vocal as ever, removed his Seahawks jacket, Seahawks sweatshirt, and Seahawks t-shirt to reveal a Seahawks tattoo on his flabby, old arm. Atta boy.
I am still really trying hard to understand the apathetic sports fans in this city. I’ve seen it also at the few Mariners games I’ve been to. There are almost always more away fans and the energy is severely lacking in Safeco, especially mid-season on. I am happy to report, though, that Century Link field is really a fun place to watch a game. Here are some stats from seahawks.com to help you understand:
Opponent False Start Penalties (Since 2005)
1. CenturyLink Field 111
2. Mall of America Field (Vikings) 99
3. Lions (Ford Field) 96
4. Bears (Soldier Stadium) 88
Highest Decibel Level At CenturyLink Field (Since 2005)
Noise of a Boeing 747 130 dB
Noise at CenturyLink Field 112 dB
Noise of Washington Ferry Horn 48 dB
Noise of a Twin Prop Plane 47 dB
Moving onto #2…
This one is a lot less involved, and a lot more concise. Tailgate, drink, enjoy, but please don’t embarrass yourself. I had the unpleasant experience of being in the splash zone (upchuck) in the Hawk’s Nest. This particular fan was a repeat offender. If you lose your cool in public, GTFOH! Can you hit a guy that is that drunk? I don’t think so. But I did use some choice words on his way out.
One more, and this is more of a humorous observation than a gripe.
I’m also a follower of Philadelphia’s soccer team, the Union. I went to the Sounders / Union game last year with a friend, both sporting Union jerseys. I went in expecting some unwelcoming comments…I’m still waiting. Other than some choice looks, we were greeted quite hospitably actually. The Sounder supporter next to us paused mid-chant to ask us if we were from Philadelphia and that we should expect a good game. We agreed, and went on to watch Union win 2-0. I’m honestly not sure what I expected, but certainly, things would’ve been different had that game taken place in Philly.
Anyways, not every city can be so incredibly passionate (sometimes to a fault) about their teams, I just thought these few instances to be interesting. At least we have some snazzy, new uniforms this year. Leave me some of your favorite fan experiences in the comments, or your NFL draft wish list. Here’s to hoping your team makes some nice additions tomorrow, unless of course your team plays the Seahawks this season.