(Note: After hours of staring at a blank screen, I gave up trying to write a public safety related column this week. If you’re not a Seahawks fan, please be patient. I’ll get back on track after the ‘Hawks big win on Sunday.)
When the ‘Hawks pulled out an amazing win against the ’49ers almost two weeks ago, I was watching from my sister’s home in San Francisco. It was a planned family trip back to my hometown which just happened to coincide with the newest, biggest sports rivalry on the West Coast.
It was, in a word, uncomfortable. That’s because my sister, a former San Francisco cop (we’re Irish – it’s the law), somehow could not believe that her brother had turned against the team of red and gold, a franchise which boasted three Superbowl victories.
But it was true. While she posted less than complimentary pictures of me on Facebook (including one of me cringing after Russell Wilson fumbled on the first play – Arrrghh!), I tried to explain that thirty years in the Northwest trumped eighteen in The City.
She was unimpressed. But then she had never been as ardent a fan of the ’49ers as me. I was at Candlestick when a young NFL rookie named Joe Montana first trotted out to the field and took a snap. I followed the team as he scrambled his way through the NFL, along with legends such as Jerry Rice and Dwight Clark. And when they brought a Superbowl trophy to town, I was on Market Street giving high fives while hanging out the window of my brother’s car.
That was years ago, and the ’49ers and the Seahawks are different teams. Leaving hometown affiliations aside, their contrasting images are the reason why I (and many others, I would guess) support the Seahawks. The two teams are very different, both on and off the field.
Despite Richard Sherman’s recent exploits (an anomaly for this articulate and superhuman athlete), the image of the Seahawks is solid. I love to see Pete Carroll’s big smile as he paces the sidelines, slapping backs and shouting encouragement. I respect and appreciate Russell “Go ‘Hawks” Wilson’s humble maturity, Golden Tate’s cocky athleticism, and Marshawn Lynch’s shyness (especially after a “Beast Mode” run and the skittles are raining down like, well, rain).
In contrast, ’49er fans must endure the crushing negativity of their coach, Jim Harbaugh, who spends his time yelling at officials, players and anyone else in earshot. Their quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is a superb athlete with a bad habit of kissing himself and dressing like a slob for interviews. There are numerous players who deserve positive attention, but I can not get past these two.
In addition, I was unprepared for the lack of support for the ’49ers. There were few wearing jerseys and almost no cars were decked out with flags. One day, I counted more Seahawks jerseys than ’49ers.
By comparison, the Seahawks, and their fans, are a class act. That is why, when the ‘Hawks beat the ‘Niners on the last play, I did not stoop to gloat.
But when my sister wasn’t looking, I threw a skittle at her. I missed.
Update: Seahawks are Superbowl champs and the world is a beautiful place.