Some people wear their dedication to their teams on their sleeves, sporting jerseys and jackets with team colors and logos. Some folks fly their pride from their flagpoles, car antennas or Clocktowers with billowing banners showing support.
I thought about that last week as I sat in the pedicure chair of a local salon, while a nail technician painted my toenails Seahawks green and blue. Only four letters separate fan from fanatic, but despite my Seahawks pedicure I don’t think I’m quite ready to add those letters.
I fell in love with football long before I had four sons – but love definitely has something to do with it. You see, my high school sweetheart played football and I spent many Friday nights under the bright lights of Joe Albi Stadium.
Quickly, I mastered the ins and outs of the game so I could engage in conversation with him that involved words instead of merely sighs and eyelash flutters.
Even better, the Seahawks franchise was brand new at the time, and that gave me something to watch with my dad. My dad was a fan of Big Time Wrestling (wrasslin’ as he called it) and I was not. There’s only so much head-bashing with folding chairs I could stomach. But football? Well, that was something I could share with both of my favorite fellows.
While my high school romance faded, my passion for Seahawks football did not. Jim Zorn, Steve Largent, Dave Krieg, Curt Warner, Cortez Kennedy – amazing athletes, thrilling games and horrifying winless droughts – Dad and I exulted and suffered through them all.
Of course, I married a Seahawks fan. I know opposites are supposed to attract, but I couldn’t envision a lasting relationship with a 49er fan, though I know such unions exist.
The timing of our marriage happened to coincide with the Seahawks’ best season for many years to come. And that was OK, because honestly I was so busy having babies during the ’90s that I didn’t have the time or energy to stay current.
But in what seemed like the blink of an eye I was back under the Friday night lights of Joe Albi, this time watching son No. 2 play football for Mt. Spokane.
For years I’d been a soccer mom, and though I loved watching that sport, its offside rules remain a mystery. It was refreshing to be back on the familiar turf of a game with rules I actually understood.
By the time Alex graduated, I was back in my Seahawks groove. In fact, my groove kind of grew. Though a morning-averse person, I took to scouring the game schedules and actually attending early service at our church in order to be home by kickoff.
That, my friends, is dedication and proves devotion to faith and football is not mutually exclusive.
I also began making special snacks on game day and planning menus that ensured I wouldn’t miss any action.
Then this fall, my husband and youngest son surprised me with my own Seahawks jacket, which I wear religiously on game day. When the playoffs loomed I decided to take the next step into fandom – a blue and green pedicure.
Which brings us to last Sunday. We watched the game and wailed at Russell Wilson’s early fumble. We howled at Colin Kaepernick’s unholy run. And then in the crucial fourth quarter, our television screen went blank. KAYU lost its signal.
The horror! The outrage! The outage! Never have I been more thankful for social media. Immediately, I posted on Facebook: WE LOST OUR SIGNAL! And friends came through, providing play-by-play coverage until the coverage was restored.
Which, of course, was too late for us to witness the game-changing Jermaine Kearse touchdown. With less than five minutes to play and the 49ers in possession of the ball, it was time for drastic measures.
I took off my socks.
“Come on guys,” I pleaded. “Don’t let these blue and green toes be for nothing!”
What happened next is history. Kaepernick’s misguided toss, Sherman’s tip, Smith’s grab – game over, Seahawks 23, 49ers 17.
Now, I’m not delusional or superstitious. I know my toes had nothing to do with Sunday’s thrilling victory.
However, if you think I’m wearing socks on Feb. 2, you’d be wrong. In fact, I may have to get my fingernails done to match. And maybe my hair.
But I draw the line at face paint. After all, I’m no fanatic. Go Hawks!