Two years ago, when I’d do my usual Sunday afternoon grocery shopping in the winter I’d wonder why the store was so empty. A few times I asked the clerk where everyone was and she’d reply “Watching the game.” I’d think, well I timed that right. I had absolutely no interest in football. In fact my memory of football was as a teen attending a Huskies game with my dad, freezing my rear end off in Husky stadium for no good reason.
But as more and more people I encountered talked about the Seahawks and how well they were playing I got curious. It seemed everywhere I went people had Seahawks fever. So, I thought, maybe I’ll watch a game for a short time. I did and seeing the Seahawks play well piqued my interest. I watched another game and started asking Eric, my husband, questions about the game. I knew nothing about the rules of football or how points were scored. I was a newbie. I didn’t even know where the ball was most of the time.
When I figured out that if I watched the Quarterback catch the ball hiked from the Center I could usually see who had the ball. Oh how that increased my enjoyment of the game. I started cheering whoever was running with the ball.
I probably watched the Seahawks in three playoff games and in the Super Bowl last year. It was enough to make me a passionate Hawks fan. I even bought a Seahawks t-shirt.
This week, I gave a workplace respect training at one of my favorite companies and I talked about the Seahawks and the upcoming Super Bowl game. I even wove in analogies about the game into my training. My Seahawks fever was obvious. One of the participants asked me what I like about the team.
I responded, I love the athleticism of “our” boys – I was thinking of the time Kam Chancellor jumped over the Seahawks defense and the Green Bay Packers offensive line to try to stop a field goal attempt, not once but twice. And I marvel at how Marshawn Lynch can muscle his way through multitudes of mighty men to gain yards. I love seeing Russell Wilson throw a perfect pass to a receiver who has managed to evade the pursuing defense.
I stated I also love how the Seahawks have created a community of fans throughout Washington State. They have created a common bond between strangers. And, I love being part of the “team”. I love that I can talk about the Hawks with other people, especially other women. I eagerly read everything I can about the Seahawks in the paper and online. I even write “Go Hawks!” in emails. Something I used to scoff at before I became a fan.
But, the brutality of the game bothers me. I still cringe when I see how hard the men crash into each other. I dislike that football has a 100% injury rate. That is, every player will get injured at some time. And, many of those injuries are severe enough to cause brain damage and life altering health issues.
I dislike the machismo culture of football and the high incidence of domestic violence. I am also uncomfortable with how much money these men are paid. Their high salaries are shockingly ridiculous. Just think of the good we could do in the world with the billions of dollars that are spent on football. And boy could some of those guys learn some manners.
So, while I can hardly contain my excitement for the Super Bowl and all things Seahawks, there is a niggling feeling of guilt for supporting the violence and economic gluttony in football. I will never be a football fan, but I will always love the Seahawks.