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I am now a Seahawks fan

September 1, 2012

Because the Seahawks don’t have ton of defining moments, I couldn’t find a defining picture for this post, but because they are a football team that has played against Rex Grossman, I did manage to find a picture of them whaling on Rex Grossman, which seemed fitting.

I think that in an ideal world, there is no “becoming” a fan. To really be a fan, many people would say, it should be hard to remember when you were not a fan and completely impossible to remember the exact moment when you became one.  Team loyalties may be grounded in randomness — the city you/your parents/a girl you once wanted to impress were born in/live near/once drove through — but they take root early, no later than when you chose a college (which hopefully you didn’t choose just because of a sports team). Real team loyalty is a pre-rational thing, because team loyalty based only on reason is a) called band-wagonning — “this team is good, therefore I like them” — which is a heinous sin and b) is fated to eventually starve to death.  True fandom will be forced to survive long stretches during which it has nothing rational to feed it, is in fact defined by its survival of these long stretches.  Sometimes your team will suck, and you will have to tune in and hope and live or die by every bungled play anyhow, and there is nothing rational in that.

I do not live in an ideal world.  I have never had an NFL team, ever.  I grew up near Columbus, Ohio, and I never chose the Bengals or the Browns.  I went to school in DC, and the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons never caught my attention, possibly because they were really, really bad at football during my time in DC.  We moved to Chicago, and the Bears were, well, the post-1985 Bears, bad but amusingly so, and I watched a lot of games and I cheered for a lot of Devin Hester punt returns in a lot of bars with real die-hard fans, but I never once considered myself one. This was mostly because being a Bears fan seemed like a special kind of thing, a group you couldn’t just join. To be a true Bears fan, you have to be either born to it or ritually, personally, punched in the mouth by Mike Ditka.  Sadly, neither of these things are true for me.

But as of yesterday, I live in Seattle, Washington.  The Seahawks (est. 1976) are neither historically nor currently exceptional — they have no tradition of ineptitude or of excellence to present a barrier to entry for a would-be new fan.  I  cannot be accused of bandwagonning  or of throwing myself under a bandwagon, hoping for pity (a challenge faced by, for example, any new Cubs fan).  The Seahawks have no wagon.  They are not good enough or bad enough to be a way of life — they are just some guys who play football for money. I enjoy watching people play football for money, and I think this enjoyment would be enhanced by caring, one game a week at least, who won.  And so I am hereby announcing that I am now a Seahawks fan.

As of a few hours ago, I knew very little about the team — being perfectly average does that (to be honest, I couldn’t even remember who the Steelers dominated in Super Bowl XL), but now I am memorizing rosters.  I am buying a hat.  If one Russell Wilson stays in the starting QB position long enough to get his jersey in stores, maybe I’ll buy that.

Although there is some reason in this decision, as described above, I hereby renounce all claim to reason with respect to my fandom.  This is like getting a tattoo of a lover’s name — makes sense at the time, but you know you gotta keep wearing it even if it stops making sense.  As of now, I may be freely mocked when the Seahawks lose, and I will gloat when they win. I am theirs and they are mine — I will even learn to drop the occasional “we.” I do not do this lightly or temporarily — those words do not exist in the lexicon of true fandom.  When and if we move from here, I will remain a Seahawks fan; I will say things like, “Yeah, I been a Seahawks fan since we lived in Seattle…” If this team is  just average or beyond terrible for the foreseeable future, I will still be that guy with the hat, who thinks every game is winnable, who can recite the roster anytime, who pays attention to every draft pick, just because I chose to care, so that I will be ready when something great eventually happens.

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