I had just graduated from college and, while waiting for WNBC to offer me a radio disk jockey position as Howard Stern’s replacement, took a job in my home town of Lancaster, Pa., at a now-defunct sports bar called Rookies. Lacking any obvious Budweiser-pouring and hot wings-frying skills, Rookies’ management hired me on as one of two male servers. (The other guy was “the hot one.”)
Now, Rookies was a typical sports bar in most ways, except for a carefully crafted niche: they made sure to advertise the fact that, in the modern age of 1997, they had 4,731 televisions* and, therefore, could show every single NFL game playing on any given Sunday at the same time. You can probably guess that this excited a lot of people in my hometown in Pennsyltucky: “IGGLES. STILLERS. COWBOYS. WE CAN SEE ALL OF THE GAMES. Pack up the kids and let’s go.”
Of course, if you advertise the fact that you show every game, you kinda have to show every game, even if you know the game will have next-to-no audience. In Rookies’ case, this led to a least one television being devoted to a heated AFC West battle between the then-mediocre Seattle Seahawks and pretty awful Oakland Raiders. Making promises like this tends to bring out all sorts of interesting folks, folks that you might never think even exist in your town.
Surprisingly, instead of bringing in Darth Raider, Rookies ended up playing host to a guy in a Steve Largent jersey who brought three friends with him to watch a football game that they clearly had no interest in.
He screamed. He pointed at the television showing “his” game with obvious glee. He jumped up and down. He was the most fanatical person I had ever seen, completely oblivious of the looks he was getting from other tables and, indeed, even his own friends.
“My god,” I thought, “That guy clearly needs help.”
And that’s the very moment when I became a Seattle Seahawks fan.
I can say that being a fan of this team means you have to endure being the punchline to easy jokes. “Don’t the Seattle Seahawks play in Division III?” “What’s the Seahawks standing in the BCS?” “Still blaming the refs for why you can’t untie your shoes?” Still, I have more than a few reasons for loving this team.
1. Matt Hasselbeck
Before the Seahawks through him into the fire, he was the Green Bay Packers’ Mr. August and perennial backup to Brett Favre.
He got a chance to run the offense in Seattle after Mike Holmgren was hired as head coach, and started bouncing balls off of the Seahawks’ receivers soon after. He proved a capable leader, helping the team to multiple division titles and the team’s first NFC Championship.
3. The Following Amazing Football Moment From Last Year
You remember, right? NFC Wild Card Game against the-then returning champion New Orleans Saints? Seattle Seahawks literally backing into the playoff picture as the woeful NFC West’s representative with a division leading 7-9 record? A team which led the champs at half-time and fought and scrapped and clawed their way against a superior opponent that most football experts predicted would blow them out?
That last moment really typifies the Seahawks for me. They scrap and claw and fight (sometimes more successfully than other times) and give their all. And sometimes it isn’t enough. But every year, EVERY DAMN YEAR, they make me believe that they can do it. This team doesn’t seem to want to play for draft picks or easy schedules. They just… play.
* This may be an exaggeration.
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