Maybe it’s the rain. Maybe it’s the one major professional championship in our city’s history; won of course by a team that doesn’t exist anymore. (Two if you count the Seattle Metropolitans 1917 Stanley Cup win over Montreal. Of course, THEY don’t exist anymore, either.) Maybe it’s the gnawing, unending fear that Big Bertha is permanently stuck on something.
For some reason many Puget Sounders seem to have a collective inability to embrace winning and the giddy happiness that should come along with it. For these people there’s a paranoia, an angst, or something that pushes them (somewhat in the fashion of Michael Jordan) to take any slight be it real, imagined, or somewhere in between, and blow a fuse over it. They seem to spend all day Sunday WAITING to get mad about something rather than enjoying this ridiculously fun football team.
To be fair, I’m basing this primarily on social media where hope, optimism, and reasoned thinking all go to die. Monitoring my social media feeds during Hawks games has become a fascinating exercise for me this season. I’ve got 4,120 “friends” on Facebook, and I’ve got 9870 “followers” on Twitter so we’re talking about a decent sample size here.
I first noticed this phenomenon last month during the Atlanta game. The Seahawks were pummeling the poor Falcons, seemingly taking out all the frustration of last year’s playoff loss in one beautiful Sunday afternoon. The Falcons were down 26 to 3 late in the third when they scored their only touchdown on a drive that was kept alive by a questionable roughing the passer call on Michael Bennett.
As soon as the Falcons scored my feeds showed an increasingly nasty side. Many posters angrily and profanely attacking the Falcons, the officials, and the NFL with the overall tone summed up thusly: Atlanta, you bleeping bleep holes only bleeping scored because the bleeping officials are mother bleeping corrupt.
Were they right? I don’t know. But who gives a bleep? The Hawks took the ensuing kickoff and ripped thru Atlanta like Sid Bream scampering home from third base. They burned up the rest of the third quarter and almost half the fourth and scored a touchdown to increase the lead back to 23. Meanwhile…the anger raged on. The Falcons should NEVER have scored a touchdown and they only did because of the refs.
By the end of the game it became obvious to me that, at least on social media, there were some people having trouble enjoying a 33 to 10 win that lifted the Hawks to a 9 and 1 record. They were having trouble enjoying what was obviously the best team in football because they were so focused on the one thing that didn’t go Seattle’s way.
I next noticed this phenomenon on Monday night December 2nd before the Hawks played New Orleans. Social media blew up when about half the ESPN crew picked the Saints to win the game. A percentage of people went nuts blasting everyone who dared pick the Saints despite the fact that the Saints were a pretty decent team and certainly worthy of consideration to pull the upset. I found myself laughing at the reaction. As Seahawks fans are we becoming like armchair political observers, capable of understanding only that with which we 100 percent agree? Some people watch these ridiculous pre game shows that feature a dozen different talking heads blathering on about the game and then get upset if every single one of them doesn’t pick the Seahawks.
Last week Hawk fans took umbrage at Dr. Dre, he of the (among other things) Beats by Dre headphones. The company has produced two new TV ads (more are surely to follow) that feature professional athletes using their snazzy new Beats by Dre headphones to block out the jeers of home town fans as they arrive on the visiting team bus and walk into the stadium.
The first ad featured Nets player Kevin Garnett arriving for a game against the Knicks, the second (which broke last week) features the Niners Colin Kaepernick arriving for a game against the Seahawks.
In both ads the home team fans are portrayed as loud, foul mouthed jackasses who pepper the player with vicious insults. The ads (and remember they are ADS, the people in them are ACTING) are over the top but they make their point: these headphones are so good you can drown out the shouts of the haters.
Before the ad had ended last week reaction started pouring in via Facebook and Twitter. Many Seattle fans took the ads personally. For some reason they became convinced the ad was an attack on them, failing to recognize that the people who make these headphones simply want to sell headphones. Period. When they were doing the ad they didn’t think, “let’s find a fan base to disparage.” They thought, “let’s find an example of the most passionate fans out there and use them to sell this product.” In some ways this was the ultimate compliment.
The funniest thing about this entire mess was watching my Facebook feed. For about 30 minutes the posts almost perfectly alternated between people mad about how the ad portrayed Seattle and people who acted as if they were auditioning for the next ad.
POST: That ad was horrible. 12s would NEVER act that way. Why does everyone hate us? We are kind sportsmanship filled people who never attack opponents.
POST: Kaepernick sure is a weasel turd.
POST: That ad just goes to show you that no one likes Seattle and everyone is out to get us. We are perfect fans who never once complain or criticize the 49ers.
POST: Kaepernick sure is a turd weasel.
On and on it went. People furious that Seattle fans had been portrayed as anything but kind, warm, fuzzy people who never utter a discouraging word about the opponent juxtaposed with people insinuating the Kaepernick’s mom does unnatural things.
Sports are supposed to be fun, a diversion from the real life problems we deal with daily. When you’re lucky enough to have a good team having a good season enjoy it. And when you’re lucky enough to have a GREAT team enjoying a GREAT season STOP looking for foolish reasons to be angry each week. All you’re doing is allowing things that 100 percent do not matter to negatively impact what should be one of the most fun times in your life.
In broadcasts the great Harry Caray used to say it as simply as it can be said: “Hey! Let’s have some fun.”
Wednesday night the Sounders FC: Authentic Masterpiece book tour rolls into Everett at Half Price Books. Here are the details.
Saturday afternoon I’ll be in downtown Seattle at the Sounders FC Pro Shop. Details here.
And Monday December 16th I’ll be at Anthony’s in Olympia with Kasey Keller for a combination happy hour, meet n greet, and book selling and signing extravaganza. Details here.