Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Memoirs of a Seahawk Fan

The above photo was taken on Dec. 26, 1999. The last regular season game in the Kingdome. These were our seats for 16 years. The first year the seats cost $8 a game. Now $8 hardly buys you a beer at a game. Standing behind us are 3 of our Seahawk "family". The guy in the vest was the sideline cameraman. He was from Spokane and always passed out Tootsie Pops to us before the game. We got on the big screen regularly. In the middle is Bennie, what a wonderful lady. We know where her seats at Quest are and always make sure to seek her out if we go to a game. Bennie split the pair of season tickets with Chester, on the right.

I miss the Kingdome, its destruction was the first signal for my fading dedication. They are still my team but I don't bleed blue anymore. Posted below is a review of my life with the Seahawks, originally written a few days before the Seahawks played the Steelers in Super Bowl XL.


It has been XXXVIII years since MY team was in the Super Bowl. When I was a kid, I was a Packer fan. And how could I not love Idaho boy Jerry Kramer throwing the block to let Bart Star sneak in for the TD in the Ice Bowl against the Cowboys? I was 11 at the time. After Lombardi left I went for years without a real favorite team.

Then the Seahawks came along and I’ve bled blue ever since. I’ve suffered through a lot of losses, a lot of disappointments and a lot of mediocre seasons. Not that there hasn’t been a number of memorable moments over the years.

Oct. 21, 1979. It was my first visit to the Kingdome. The Oilers, featuring Earl Campbell, were in town. I’d come to watch him as much as the Hawks. I should have known a fickle love/hate relationship with the NFL in Seattle lie ahead of me. Earl hardly played and our ‘Hi Mom” banner never made it on TV. The Jim Zorn led Seahawks won 34-14.

Nov. 8, 1981. Pittsburgh’s Terrible Towels waved in the Kingdome but the Seahawks and fans were up to the call. We sat 300 level, dead square between the goal posts. Late in the 4th quarter, I watched the Hawks hold Pittsburgh on a 4th and goal then march the ball back to our endzone. I had a bird’s eye view on a Seahawk 4th and goal. Touchdown Seahawks! Seahawks win, 24-21.

New Years Eve day, 1983. This was as close as got for decades. The Hawks go 9-7 and beat Denver at home in the Wild Card. This day we sat in our living room and watched as Idaho Alum “Super” Sam Merriman fell on a fumble in a rain soaked 4th quarter to beat the Dolphins 27-20 in Miami. The Hawks went on to lose to the would-be Super Bowl Champion Raiders the next week.

Oct. 6, 1986. It’s a month before my son, Aaron, turns six and we take him to see his favorite player and first sports hero, Steve Largent, make a catch in an NFL record-breaking 128th consecutive game. We win 33-7. On the way out, Aaron stumbles on the steps and a seat-arm on the aisle leaves a third eyeball dead center on his forehead. We watch the highlights in the ER of Swedish Hospital. He still has the souvenir, er, scar.

Nov. 16, 1986. Cincinnati wins 34-7 giving the Hawks 4 straight losses and a 2-7 record. We refuse to not have fun at the game. After the second Bengal TD, we put sacks on our heads, each with a letter spelling out K-N-O-X. We’re in the newspaper the next morning. At least we got our money’s worth and laughed all the way home.

Nov. 30, 1987. Monday Night Football. The Raiders. Bo Jackson. Bozworth. A 37-14 butt-kicking. Bo runs over the Boz right in front of us. A couple long faced fans, Aaron and I, make the Tuesday newspaper. We have to chain up on Snoqualmie and it takes 12 hours for our charter bus to make it home.

December 23, 1989. Steve Largent’s last game. Many former Seahawks are on hand to honor him. Pre-game ceremonies are moving and there’s hardly a dry eye in the house. By halftime we were really crying as the Redskins are cleaning up on their way to a 29-0 victory. It was an emotional halftime, the Blue Angel was retiring. We didn’t stay for the second half.

Through the 80’s and 90’s, we were as good a mediocre team as you’d ever want. We had highs of home victories over archenemies Denver and Oakland/LA. We saw Steve Largent flat-can a Denver defensive back after an interception (the same player that put him out earlier in the season). We had the Wave. We wore Raider-Buster shirts. We retired the number 12 (bite me, Aggies!). We loudly proved the NFL’s new ‘noise rule’ would never work by repeatedly pegging the decibel meter on national television. We cheered names like Efren, Doornink, Krieg, John L, Easley, Brown, Yarno, Nash, Tuiasosopo, Cortez, Warner, Skansi and Paul Johns. We jeered names like Elway (Elllllll-waaaaaaaaay!) and cussed those of Flores, Behring and Erickson. We went home hoarse and happy; we went home spent and sullen. We were Seahawk fans.

December 26, 1999. The last regular season game in the Kingdome, we beat Kansas City 23-14. Two weeks later, the Hawks lose the Wild Card at home to Miami, but this was the official farewell game. The sidelines were packed with a who’s who of Seahawk history, pre-game and halftime shows are moving. Post game, every player was introduced and the top 10 all-time Kingdome highlights are shown on the big screen. Laser lights and pyrotechnics make this wake a spectacular party.

We had sat in the same seats for 16 years, aisle 110, row 1, seats 1-4. Nearby season ticket holders watched our children grow, we became friends with sideline cameramen and security people. Once our reluctant daughter Tia was recruited to pull camera cable and stood just out of the endzone for a Seahawk touchdown, forever locking her into Seahawk Blue. These people were our family.

Our seats were at one of the few entries to the playing field and longtime security lady, Mary, looked at me as we packed to leave and asked “You guys want to go on the field?” Sue, the kids and I walked among our team, Aaron finally getting his photo taken with Largent. I miss those seats and I miss those friends.

Then came the UW years. Husky Stadium is in one of the greatest settings in sports. But it is an awful stadium. Seats are uncomfortable and far removed from the field, the aisles are woefully inadequate. The football wasn’t much better.

The new stadium brought new excitement but also higher prices. After 20 years, we finally gave up our season tickets. We’ve since gone to some games, but (typically me or typically Seahawks), of the three regular season losses Seattle has had at Quest Field, I’ve been to two of them.

This is the first year since 1979 that I haven’t attended at least one game. Now they’re XL bound. Perhaps the albatross hanging around one’s neck isn’t the Seahawks on me but me on the Seahawks. Go figure.


Well, the Seahawks lost the Big One. Yes, some calls went against them but they just didn’t play well enough to win. So much for me getting rich selling my years of collectibles on eBay. I’ll just pack it all away for another year/decade/millennium.


The story continues...

October 22, 2006

Mostly because my wife wanted to go, we attended the game against the Minnesota Vikings. Along for the trip were my daughter and her friend, I should have known going with three women wasn’t going to be like the Boy’s Trips of the old days.

The good news is Gordie is still bartending at the Athenian in Pike Place Market and they still serve Snowcap in frosty mugs, Mee Sum pastry still has the best sidewalk potstickers and you can still buy cheddar cheese rolls from the Russian bakery. And it was a sunny weekend.

Sunday morning rolled around. Parking five (city) blocks away was an affordable $30 (compared to the $50 near the stadium). Football mornings are always fun in the Pioneer Square area and breakfast at The Central was good, including the numerous Viking fans in attendance.

Almost half of the Seahawks total game yardage came in the first quarter, and damn near half that was in one play. Turned out it was one of the few highlights of the actual game. Seahawk highlights anyway, the Vikings had plenty.

Now I have been to three of the four regular season losses in Quest Field. Maybe I should just stay away from now on.

November 27, 2006

Nope, Sue got tickets for the Monday Night Game against the Packers and after going to over 120 games in over 25 years, I have to say this was in my Top Ten. Of course, spending the pre-game at Pyramid Brewing, walking into a snow storm for the game (we had our boots, gloves and CHS Viking stadium blanket and kept toasty), seeing a great game and then closing the Elysian Brewery after the game, it had to be a fun time.

October 14, 2007

My son, Aaron, and I make a one day trip over and back to see the Sunday night game against the Saints. Early in the game it’s so loud I almost wish I had earplugs. Then the Saints start looking great while the Hawks start looking bad. With Seattle down 28-10, we leave with six minutes left in the game. Yet another loss I attend.

December 9, 2007

Another Seattle trip and now I just look at it as a beer weekend. Saturday we visit Pyramid Brewing, Pike Place Brewing, The Athenian and The Taproom. Gordie’s still at The Athenian but tells me he’s retiring and moving to Arizona. I guess everything changes in time. The Seahawks win, big. But even with a 42-21 shellacking of the Cardinals, well, it’s still just the lowly Cardinals. Lucky we’re in the worst division in the NFC.

January 12, 2008
In what will go down in history as a great Green Bay Packer win, in epic Lambeau Field weather, the Seahawks see their season come to a close.

2008 Season
The Hawks stink and Holmgren can't be run out of town fast enough for my liking. We go to one game but I don't even remember who we played or if we won. I do remember Saturday night at the Taproom.

2009 Season
This year's season ticket is in my living room. Free parking, better beer, no drive home and, if the game sucks, a nice place for a nap.

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