Seattle: known for its coffee, rain, hipsters, liberals, and independence. Not typically known for its sports teams – until now.
When we moved here almost nine years ago, the Sonics were still here. I hear they had won a championship, so there’s that. But when they left it was commonly quoted that “Seattle can’t support a sports team.” I guess our indie rock artists and computer programmers just aren’t that into sports. Then there was Super Bowl XL. Can’t say much about that except that ref-bashing became the standard topic of conversation for the next year (or eight). Then the Sounders showed up. And all of a sudden “football” took on a whole new meaning. The city rallied around soccer and all of our teams added neon green to their uniforms.
With the Sonics leaving, the Seahawks actually making it into a Superbowl, and the Sounders joining our city, people realized not only what a sports legacy Seattle had, but also dared to have hope for the future.
There has been much said about this present Seahawks team put together over the last two years by Paul Allen, Pete Carroll, and John Schneider. Including the infamous ranking by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. who gave them the worst grade in the league for their 2012 draft picks. But apart from the Seahawks clearly proving themselves on the football field, what have they taught me about the city of Seattle?
They have shown me that people who pride themselves on independence will come together 700,000 strong in uncharacteristic freezing temperatures to celebrate with their winning team.
They have shown me that a city with only 30% who claim any religion at all will support and embrace openly Christian players.
They have shown me the lengths not only fans but local government will go to in support of their team including renaming Mount Rainier to Mt. Seattle Seahawks, and renaming a neighboring community, Issaquah, to 12saquah.
They have shown me that this community clearly can and will support a sports team even when they don’t have a winning record. The Seahawks have had a waiting list for season ticket holders for several years.
Finally they have shown me what community spirit can do to a rainy, dreary Seattle winter. People are smiling more and have something in common to talk about…other than the lousy weather.
Now bring on summer and the Mariners!