Today's the big day! The Seahawks are in the Superbowl and the whole state is celebrating. Will they defeat the Broncos? We'll know in a few hours, but I believe the Seahawks have already won. Even if they don't bring home the trophy.
Because of the 12th Man. The 12th Man is the legion of fans that support the Hawks. We're a fickle bunch here in the Seattle area - fair-weather sports fans who don't always stick around in the tough times. Once upon a time we had season tickets to the Seattle Supersonics (remember them?) and I would lament the "fans" who would rush out of the stadium before the game was over when we were losing. We stayed till the very end. Because that's what fans do. And also, we bought those expensive tickets.
Now, I'm not going to pretend I'm a super sports fan. I'm not. I didn't even much like watching my own kids' sports games when they played (sorry, kids!). I'm a firm believer that no kids' sporting event should last longer than an hour, and that heavy rain should be reason enough to call off practice. But I've sat through many a long, long baseball game in pouring rain because....well, I think it's in the job requirement of "mom" and so I did it.
But I've never really been one to follow our major sports teams. Heck, I probably can't even NAME all of our sports teams here in Seattle. I know the Sonics are gone (haha) and I know the Sounders are popular. The Mariner's have always been fun to watch now and then and then there's football. I've only been to one Seahawks game (and it was in the Kingdome - whoa am I ever aging myself with that admission!). I've watched a handful of games over the years.
But this year something has been different. People are excited. Pumped up! And the spirit of the 12th Man is contagious. I work at an elementary school, who's principal is a big sports fan, so our "Blue Fridays" have been popular. Everyone comes to school wearing Seahawks colors or jerseys, hats, hair colors, scarves, arm warmers (love those!). Our P.E. teacher told me she has SEVEN Seahawks jerseys. Everything celebratory seems better with kids, too. My kindergarteners don't even know what they're celebrating but they come with Seahawks spirit each Friday, excited and bubbling over. One of my sweet little guys told me a story on Friday: he was looking for something and his mom said to go look in his room. He went in and found a Seahawks t-shirt from his dad on his bed, waiting there as a surprise. This little boy was so thrilled to have his own Seahawks shirt; he had wanted one all season. He was SO proud of that shirt.
It's fun. And more than that, it brings people together in ways that are so creative, so kind, and so fun. The Seahawks players themselves have done so much giving back to the community. It's inspiring. Going out in public, no matter where - the grocery store, a gas station, a restaurant - this week has been a sea of blue and green and people greeting each other with "Go Hawks!" You can't drive down any street without passing a car flying the 12th Man flag.
It's the spirit of the 12th Man that has brought a city, no, a whole state, together for one cause. Of course we want a win. That would be history-making! And imagine the celebration! But I think, in a lot of ways, the Seahawks have already won. Because they sparked the spirit of the 12th Man. And it has taken off in ways no one could imagine. If anything, the absence of the 12th Man will be the biggest hurdle for the Seahawks to overcome today. But so many are there to cheer them on, and certainly they carry with them the spirit of the 12th Man from afar.
So, I say "Go Hawks!" Bring home a trophy. Give Seattle a Superbowl win and make history. But know that here at home, you've already won. And we salute you.