So…I’m not into football.
So…I recently moved to a city with a team going now to back-to-back Super Bowls.
The Seahawks’ blue and green is everywhere, I mean everywhere. I mean dictionary editors are rewriting their definitions of ‘ubiquitous’ to take the prevalence of Hawks paraphernalia in Seattle into account. I mean every business in town that has dress codes or uniforms now officially includes in employee handbooks “or just head to toe Hawks gear, that’s cool too.” I mean the “12th man” flag* flies from cars, yards, windows, balconies, construction cranes, high-rises, busses, ferries, church readerboards with the message lined up to read “Services at 10 so you can be home by “12””, the Space Needle, people’s ears, people’s dogs, people’s kids’ Lego castles. I mean at a production of Measure for Measure a board member of the Seattle Shakespeare Company with perfectly bobbed silver arts patron hair and an expensively tasteful outfit came on stage, gave her nice patrician welcoming speech, then flashed open her sweater to reveal a jersey and yelled “GO HAWKS!” and then the play started. I mean my mother is now raving about Cam Shamwow “just leaping like a gazelle over the other guy. Like a gazelle.“
* the fans are the 12th man, because you can only have 11 men on a football field, and Seahawks fans are apparently very, very loud, I now know after looking that up.
Is it drinking the kool-aid? It is civic pride should be embraced? Is my on-principle stance against fair-weather fandom crotchety and hermit-y? Is my reluctance to watch a game because of my distinct distaste for that large part of NFL culture as relates to women a touch hypocritical since I read writers who were dickheads to their wives in real life? Is it true one should ‘when in Rome’ when in Rome, or as Mom texted me the other day, “U just have to grow and move with the times Cate open up and accept it [emoticon emoticon]”?
I’m sore afraid I’m not enough of a not-fan — will I crumble and be wearing a Seahawks jersey dress by this time next year? The next time a homeless guy calls “Hey pretty lady, what city has the best football team in the world!” with his arms out for a high-five and/or hug will I say “Yeah I don’t really watch football” and let him yell at me at length about why I and soccer suck as he pushes his cart away or will I fake it? Will I succumb to wanting to be able to make friends in this city?
I had an epiphany this morning though, about a way to survive, a spark of inspiration to light my way safely through the blue and green, and that epiphany is: marginalia.
I don’t have to actually watch the Seahawks to live a decent life in The City of Sea
ttlehawks. I can enjoy that which surrounds the game I don’t give a fig about in the exact same way I am thankful for the existence of really terrible movies because they lead to hilarious reviews. (I started a blog post a while back about the great fun of well-written reviews of incredibly bad movies that I never got around to finishing. It was to begin “One of my all-time favorite things to read is reviews of really bad movies” and I was planning on linking to things like Linda Holmes’ review of a Lifetime movie called ‘Deadly Spa’ (which is one of the funniest pieces of writing I’ve ever read) and giving my thanks for the existence of terrible films because of the awesomeness that can arise in response to them.)
Instead of having to choose between an “absolutely not” stance I don’t have the energy to maintain and a compromising of my morals which will leave me hollowed and regretful inside my blue and green attire—my Scylla and Charbadus these last few months—I’ll stay just outside the metaphorical stadium listening to the fans, as it were. I’ll watch The Rachel Maddow Show’s “Rules for balls and rules for talking about rules for balls” and not be slightly disappointed in myself (not feel, er, slightly deflated…) for knowing what the deflated balls controversy is about. I’ll forward the memes, utilize the gifs, and not mind secretly finding them totally hilarious. I’ll go ahead and participate to the best of my “what’s a touchback again?” abilities in friends’ Facebook threads, which for example begin
Best nerd commentary yet on Sunday’s game (from commenter Azimeir on Field Gulls)
“Watching Richard Sherman barking at his fellow defensive players on Sunday, the scenario is so clear to me in hindsight. Russell was struggling, as was most of the offense. The defense believed that Russell and his side of the ball would come around, but they needed time. Like Aragorn and the men of Minas Tirith, they had to buy the hobbit time.” *
*I emailed that to a staunchly NFL-no-thank-you friend who has read everything Tolkien ever wrote twenty times at least and he replied, “Our takeover of culture is complete and will last a thousand years.”
As Howard Nemerov wrote in “Watching Football on TV” about those “Totemic scarabs, exoskeletal / Nipped in at the thorax, bulky above and below / With turreted hard heads and jutting masks / And emblems of the lightning or the beast” giving “human intention honor in the world”,
A football wants to wobble, that’s its shape
And nature, and to make it spiral true
‘s a triumph in itself, to make it hit
The patterning receiver on the hands
The instant he looks back, well, that’s to be
For the time being in a state of grace,
And move the viewers in their living rooms
To lost inchoate visions of themselves
As in an earlier, other world where grim
Necessity in the form of gravity may be
Not merely overcome, but overcome
Casually and with style. And that is grace.”
Or put another way, nearly as eloquently as Nemerov — “I’ll make a tri-legged minotaur and we can go punch out those guys and face our phobia. Be like back in woodshop!”
(So yes, Mother, I guess this means I will drive down next weekend to watch the game with you. You make the dip and I’ll bring my laptop with the funniest Hawks’ fan twitter feeds ready to read from during the interstitial foofaraw, and in this way I will, I hope, maintain my inner truth and yet get by…)