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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

January 15, 2013 at 3:53 PM

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Seahawks' magical season reminds us of why we are fans

Michael Ko teaches high-school English, Journalism and Computer Art in White Center. He was Seattle Times staff reporter whose beats included high-school sports until 2007.

I woke up early Sunday morning and drove to Buckley’s Pub in Belltown, where I met up with my brother and watched the Seahawks make one of the most improbable comebacks in NFL history.

When Marshawn Lynch scored the late touchdown and helped give us the lead, 28-27, the place erupted. That moment is probably the best high I’ve ever felt as a football fan. Pure euphoria.

It’s got me thinking of what Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata famously said a couple years back – that the NBA leaving town would have a “near zero” economic impact and “close to zero” cultural impact. While his comments were directed at the Sonics, I inferred then – and still do now – that he was referencing professional sports.

This Seahawks season is the ultimate counterargument.

Of course, there’s the economic impact. You think the staff at Buckley’s was happy to make money from hundreds of people on an otherwise slow Sunday morning? It was packed and rocking like Friday night.

But more significantly as the game got tighter and tighter, the crowd morphed from blurry-eyed strangers into an arm-in-arm, high-fiving, stranger-hugging frenzy. For an AWAY game that started at 10 a.m.! It was pure passion. I almost feel bad for people who haven’t discovered the NFL yet.

When I reflect back on this Seahawks season, I see it as the quantifiable fulfillment of what professional sports are supposed to be. The fans buy the $10 beers, spend time and money and energy on tickets and games, endure the bad seasons and nonchalant efforts, and help front the half-billion dollar stadiums.

And every once in a while, in return, you get a season like this.

Richard Sherman’s tweets (“You mad bro?”) and plays smothering defense. Russell Wilson. Golden Tate’s season-long acrobatics (and blindside block on Sean Lee). Kam Chancellor knocks out Vernon Davis. Taking home every single promotional giveaway after thrashing Arizona 58-0. The two long marches to win the game at Chicago.

Even the crushing defeat to end the dream.

It was compelling entertainment from beginning to end. It was athletes playing with heart and for something bigger. It was professional sports fulfilling their end of the bargain to the fan.

Seasons like this don’t come around that often. Think about what the Mariners have given us the last decade in this regard: King Felix lost in the mess of hydros, hat tricks and boring baseball. And if we end up with the Kings, it’s going to take a lot of heart to root for a year of DeMarcus Cousins.

So when something special does come, it’s worth savoring. It’s great. It’s why I’m a fan.

If you'd like to write a Take 2 post, email Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com


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