When I moved to this area in November of 1992, the San Francisco 49ers were nearing the end of their awesome run with Joe Montana. The region was awash in red and gold as the ‘Niners went 14-2 before losing the conference finals to the eventual Super Bowl champs, the Dallas Cowboys. That same season? The ‘Hawks finished 2-14 and our big highlight was that Mark McGwire’s brother, Dan, was one of our three astoundingly ineffective quarterbacks. When people learned I was a Seahawks fan, the reaction was always somewhere between pity and a vague kind of awe that I would admit such a thing. Two years later, with Steve Young at the helm, San Francisco would win their fifth ring. The ‘Hawks would go 6-10 and have to vacate the Kingdome for three games because of falling ceiling tiles.
Those first few years living here made me jealous of 49er fans. I eventually developed a lesser jealousy of Raider fans too, after the team returned from Los Angeles—although not of the whole Halloween costume thing, which is better addressed by a psychologist than me. (Just kidding, Raider fan. Really. Please, put down your duct tape medieval broadsword and back away.) Combined, those two teams have reached the Super Bowl 11 times, winning it eight. Their fans haven’t just been to the mountain—they have a time-share up there.
The Seahawks, on the other hand, have made it to the Super Bowl just twice. The first time wasn’t until 2006—30 years after they came into the league. And they got beat by the Steelers 21-10, which caused me to lose a bet and wear a yellow and black dress…in public. Talk about psychological issues.
But then, last season, we ‘Hawk fans finally reached that summit ourselves. Our boys won it all, clobbering the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIIILOLOMGWTF. (Note to NFL: It’s time to start using real numbers). All those years of unrequited love, finally, gloriously, paid off. I went online and ordered a Super Bowl champs Seahawks license plate holder for my new F150. That’s when I experienced it: a new level of fan respect that I’d never enjoyed before—the kind that only comes when your team wins it all and other fans are jealous of you. And I can tell you the exact moment it happened. Weirdly enough, it was at a baseball game.
Last June, my wife and I were at our son’s travel team’s tournament. There was a break, and since Sammy was hanging with his teammates, Vickie and I retreated to our truck. She was in front, with the seat tipped back, reading, while I was laying down in the back, trying to catch a nap. The windows were down and the left rear door was open to accommodate my feet. We’d been there five minutes when we heard a couple walking past the tailgate.
They were coming from a direction that allowed the woman to see that one of our doors was open, but she couldn’t see my feet. We heard her say, “Oh, their door’s open. Should we shut it?” The husband, however, had apparently taken note of that brand new Seahawks license plate holder. In a flat, even tone, he replied, “&$#! ‘em. They’re Seahawks fans.”
I never looked up. I have no idea if they were fans of the 49ers, Broncos, Raiders or some other team. All I know is, it felt awesome. It felt absolutely awesome.
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