Blogger has a scheduled outage coming up this afternoon, so I need to get this up real quick...
Yeah, I know it's not the first game of the pre-season, but it's the first pre-season game for our Seattle lads. Like many kids growing up in the Bay Area in the '70s, I was raised on the Raiders and 49ers, and went to my share of games at the Oakland Colosseum and Candlestick Park, followed the winning record of the mid-'70s/early-'80s Raiders, and then continued on with the golden age of Joe Montana's 49ers. I even went out for High School football at Aptos, and briefly became a Li'l Vike mascot for the Palo Alto Vikings.
Then I moved to Seattle, home of the Seahawks, longtime rival of the Raiders. Or as "longtime" as the relatively new Seahawks actually went back (which is, I believe, 1974). I felt like a double agent. It was years before I felt comfortable enough to truly cheer the home team. But a couple things made it easier: 1) the Raiders became a shadow of their former selves; 2) Raiders fans (who I'll grant you have always had a "boisterous" reputation) became out and out hooligans.
And about 10 years ago, I finally got comfortable and avid enough as a Washingtonian and Seattleite to root for the Seahawks with a clear conscience. About 4 years ago when we still had Grant Wistrom, he and his foundation worked with Gilda's Club, and we would often get tickets to Hawks games at Qwest Field. The Hawks are generally engaged with the community and many of the players and staff are involved in a multitude of charities. And in 2005, they proved to be not only the best team in the NFL, but much better sportsmen than the team that was handed the Superbowl.
So while my particular wheelhouse of geekery is not the brand of fanatic who memorizes stats and plays fantasy football, I am a Roman spectator at heart. I love myself a good bloodsport, and American football is among the most violent recreational war simulations still played. It's good, wholesome, uniquely American violence, and I can't say I don't get a visceral thrill from watching. Just like those few NASCAR fans who aren't in denial and admit the reason they watch is for the crashes.
And now, I'm dating a woman who is probably more fanatical than I ever was about football in my teens and twenties. Which is really mind boggling, because Sam was also a pretty avid football fan (49ers all the way), and that's relatively uncommon. How cool is that??
So, with the Hawks about to face off against the Vikes (sorry, Mike Berg, I love ya, but I gotta support my boys), I have my screening room set up to watch the game in 80-inch wide glory, food ready to go, pizza on order, friends jumping in to cheer with us. I have my Hasselbeck jersey and Kayleigh is already in hers (plus, her new Build-a-Bear is wearing a Hawks sweatshirt and will apparently be watching with us). Even the weather was a bit overcast and cooler today - almost a bit autumn-ish.
Time to go finish cleaning up.