To Seahawk and 12th Man Fans: Stop Trying So Hard for Legitimacy
ATTENTION: Before you bombard us with angry vile emails, Facebook posts, and calls, read this story thoroughly and carefully and consider the points we're making.
This is written from my own personal observations. Before we get started, I want to stress that we stay on track. We are strictly talking about a certain element of the Hawk Nation, and not EVERY Seattle fan. To "test" whether you're like the handful of Seattle fans I know that I can debate and discuss football with and not have them turn into "Seahulk," I am going to start by asking some questions about the team. The answers will be sprinkled throughout this story. If you're a long-time fan, and I do know a few, you know these answers. And thanks to you handful of Seattle fans I know who don't behave like a goob. But sadly, this year it appears you are few and far between.
Question A: What Wapato Wolves product played a prominent role in Seattle history?
Question B: Who could Seattle have drafted in 1991 instead of Dan McGuire at QB?
Question C: What positions did Ron Howard and Michael Jackson play?
Question D: Who could Seattle have drafted instead of Koren Robinson in 2001?
I get it. Hawks fans have the best team in franchise history to cheer for. Nobody is saying they're not good. But the success of the team appears to have had an effect on many fans. It's one thing to root and cheer and paint yourself up etc. But it's another to attempt to humiliate, degrade, demean, and disrespect fans of other teams.
It's actually pretty sad. My wife and I, over the course of the season, have seen a steadily building stream of disrespect and disdain for other teams and fans, especially on social media. As the Hawks won game after game, the volume grew (no pun intended). People we know as good friends have turned into "Jim Jones"-like cultists, blasting ourselves and others over the fact that we're not Hawks fans. I like Green Bay, my wife, Denver and Dallas, and my son, the Colts.
This isn't about good-natured ribbing that goes on all the time, or even spirited discussion. This is f-bombs and cruel personal comments about how dumb and stupid we are because we don't support Seattle. Answer to Question A: Dan Doornik, who was a fullback for Seattle, and who's picture is in the Charter Lounge at the Toyota Center as part of the Mid-Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.
My son has encountered rude comments he's shared with me because he often wears his Colts gear to middle school. Not just teasing, but insults. Nice! We've been told we HAVE to root for Seattle because they're the "Washington state team." When we've told numerous people that we don't have to, they sneer, or pop off with some retort as "well, you're not a true sports fan." It's really happened.
My wife was searching this week for a certain Broncos shirt to wear for a work-related Super Bowl dress-up day. After calling 10-12 retail outlets (an exercise in futility, we know!) we were unable to find any. But what really hit home was the rude, snippy response we got from most of the clerks. One large national sporting goods store in Kennewick told my wife this: "(snort) We're a Seahawks store only!," and then proceeded to hang up on her as she was saying "ok, thanks for checking." Another clerk rudely told me on the phone "good luck with that pipe dream, this is Seahawks country," referring to our seeking a Denver shirt. The other day at my wife's work, a customer came in and during the course of their transaction noticed my wife had some Denver pictures at her work station. The woman told her "you have to root for Seattle." She proceeded to berate my wife for her love for Denver, and as she was leaving, she yelled rudely while looking right at my wife, "GO SEAHAWKS!" Question B answer: The Hawks could have had Brett Favre in the 2nd round, but instead chose to draft the brother of baseball star Mark Mcguire.
We have also grown weary of constantly being bombarded with the "anything you can do we can do better" attitude and behavior of numerous Hawks fans. They constantly pepper social media and conversations with how their fan base is better than anyone, how louder their fans are, how more supportive and loyal they are. Never mind the 12th man was aped from Texas A&M - that's not part of this discussion. We shake our heads over people we know who last year couldn't even spell "prevent defense" but now own two 12thman or other Hawk jerseys, and walk around spouting how great the Hawks are all the while disrespecting other teams.
It's also been sad to see personal friends of ours turn on us because we told them we didn't think Sherman's rant after the NFC title game was very cool. And if we don't join in the "jubiliation" over a Hawks victory, many of these same people turn their noses up at us and have actually shunned us. Unbelieveable.
There's a reason why articles and stories are popping up all over the web. And I don't mean all the tasteless anti-Seahawk fan or Facebook pages. Legitimate articles written by actual journalists about why the chippy behavior of many Hawk and 12th Man fans are irritating people. The Washington Post ran an intelligently written article recently called " America Hates the Seahawks." Written by a former Seattle resident, the story examines the rabid desire for Hawks fans, and especially the City of Seattle, to achieve legitimacy with the rest of America. Even a Seattle columnist, Larry Stone, acknowledged this in a piece he wrote January 9th. Question C Answer: Tight End, and Middle Linebacker. Howard and Jackson were both graduates of Pasco High School who spent some quality time on Seahawk rosters many years ago, and contributed significantly to the team. No, they aren't the Hollywood actor/director or late singer.
It appears to me, and my family, many Hawk fans (especially those who have purchased a bandwagon) are so desperate for acceptance and success they are overdoing it. I remember the 2011 Detroit Lions. You may recall the memorable Thanksgiving Day Game when Ndamukong Suh stomped on the leg of a Green Bay Packer lineman. Throughout that season, television and sports commentators remarked that the Lions were trying so hard to regain respect and legitimacy they were going over the top. The Lions had been so irrelevant for so many years, they overdid it.
I see the same thing happening, and really, it's pretty sad. When you get past the frustration and anger over having people treat you rudely just because you don't share their team affiliation, you almost feel sorry for them. I've even, as a Green Bay fan, had the Fail Mary game thrown back in my face a number of times this year when Hawks fans learn I like the Packers. I've moved on, but I guess some fans in their effort to show everyone how great they are, haven't. Question D Answer: Reggie Wayne. Seattle passed on him to grab the wildly-talented but troubled Robinson.
It's gotten to the point where we will almost be glad when football is in the rear-view mirror, and that's tragic. It almost appears to me many Hawk fans want to win the Super Bowl just so they can rub it in the rest of America's faces. If that's how you view legitimacy and acceptance, then I truly feel sorry for you. Really.
I will end with two famous quotes:
"If you think you're great, you will talk about yourself. If you truly ARE great, people will talk about you." -Walter Payton.
"When the One Great Scorer comes to write against your name, he will ask not that you won or lost, but how you played the game." - football legend Grantland Rice.