4/17/2014

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Sports

Eric Johnson: Seahawks set to erase Seattle's long sports misery

Eric Johnson: Seahawks set to erase Seattle's long sports misery
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SEATTLE -- We're miserable. And have been for years.

Maybe you didn't even know you are miserable, but you are.

The sports networks, the sports bloggers and the web pages love putting together little lists. And one of their favorite lists is this one: the most futile, losingest, frustrated fans in all of sports. They call it the Misery Index.

And every time, without fail, the long suffering sports fans of the Emerald City are somewhere right near the top. The stories always use lines like, "As if the grey skies in Seattle aren't bad enough..."

Forbes has us in the top spot. We're number one! Oh, the humanity.

The logic goes something like this: the Mariners suck, the Sonics don't exist, the Seahawks have never won a Super Bowl, the Huskies ain't what they used to be, and the Cougs are the Cubs in crimson and grey.

Cleveland is usually in the running too. And Atlanta. And Buffalo. So at least we have company.

The numbers tell the story. Altogether in the four major sports, Seattle franchises have played 115 seasons, and the NBA title in 1979 is all we have to show for it. And the team that won that championship? They're playing in Oklahoma.

It ain't easy being us. It's kind of...miserable.

And yet...

We keep showing up, still believing, still hoping, still roaring.

The hungriest lion roars the loudest. And the hungriest lions wear the number 12.

The 12th man has screamed his way into the collective conscience of American sports. Everybody knows he's the loudest. Everybody knows he has the biggest effect on the game.

Just ask opposing quarterbacks.

And now all of this has happened.

A beautiful, nasty, gritty football team has come along that feeds off the misery. Feeds off the hunger. And in turn, we feed off it, and get louder and hungrier. And the players get meaner and we get ornerier. And so it goes, 'round and 'round til we're all just delirious and exhausted, and dare I say, happy?

This isn't a football team. It's a lifeline. It's a breath of air for an entire region that's been underwater, drowning in mediocrity. And it tastes real good.

We're not miserable anymore. We're good. Maybe the best.

And we can't stop saying it. Can't stop waving flags and thumping out chests and screaming our guts out. It's therapy. It's medicine. It's fun.

What we have is an unspoken, unwritten deal, a contract really, with Mr. Allen, and Mr. Carroll, and Russell and Earl and Marshawn and the whole rowdy, raucous bunch: "You bring it...you lay your guts on the turf for us, and we'll do the same for you." It's become a sacred pact.

Maybe the Seahawks changed us. Maybe we changed the Seahawks. Maybe we're not latte-sipping hipsters anymore, as much as we are roaring, rampaging world beaters. The best football team in the best looking city in America in the shadow of the prettiest mountain with the best damned fans in the world! Yeah, that sounds right.

Maybe together, them and us, we're going to change a city's image, change the way we look at sports and ourselves, and while we're at it, change all those "Most Miserable Sports Fans in America" lists.

And history.

Maybe we're going to change history, too.
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