Years and years ago, when I worked at Seattle Weekly, when there were still wolves in West Seattle and humpback whales in Elliott Bay, when the grunge scene was an ordeal because it was always raining and the flannel shirts we wore soaked up the wet, before the motor car, before the wheel, before light rail, before we had to worry about the oral-sex requirements of sitting presidents, or reclining presidents, the editorial staff of our brave paper took turns writing the calendar section. For me that meant three tours of handling the sports listings.

My first tour was in the summer of 1989 and that went all right because I only had to work with baseball and I know baseball. I made fun of the Mariners (“When the meek inherit the earth, the M’s will be out of town”) and various college squads, reported on bike treks and road races and boat shows, encouraged people to play more chess, and ran a trivia contest that was won by a guy who used to work with my wife’s ex-husband.

My second tour, in 1993, was more of a challenge because baseball season was ending and football was beginning. I don’t care for football. I’ve been to one professional football game, in Boston, when the New England Patriots were still the Boston Patriots and they played in Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox. (This was not my idea – my Cub Scout pack dragged me along.) At one point during that icy afternoon I was handed a hot dog, which tasted as if it had been cooked in Nova Scotia and mailed to the ballpark, and like Charlie Brown I desperately wished there was a baseball game in front of me.

What was I going to do with football? Fear not! I had three advantages:

1) A book of football quotes I found at the library that I could use to fill valuable column inches. (“Football combines two grim features of American life, violence and committee meetings.” – George Will)
2) The Seattle Seahawks had an abysmal season in 1992, winning a mere two games. They were not poised to set the world on fire in 1993.
3) My trail had been blazed by a feature that ran in the 1980s in the Big Papers called “The Bottom Ten,” which focused on, if memory serves, the bottom ten.

Yes, the script wrote itself:

8 Sept. 1993: “The Raiders take time out from vacationing in Seattle to slice the Seahawks into lunchmeat. Next loss: on the road vs. the Patriots. At home vs. LA, 9/12 at 5. Catch the action on TNT or, if you have some consideration for your family, simply listen on KIRO-AM 710.”

15 Sept. 1993: “In Massachusetts, the Seahawks visit ‘Old Ironsides,’ Bunker Hill, Lexington and Concord, and, eventually, the stadium where the Patriots have gathered to shoot them full of holes. Next loss: on the road vs. the Bengals.”

Seahawks fans (the few who bothered to read this drivel) (the few who knew how to read) occasionally protested what I had to say, usually through an angry, anonymous fax. I wish I’d saved them. They had all been scrawled with felt-tip markers.

I should mention that I regularly lauded our basketball team, the consistently excellent Sonics (“The Sonics chase the whores of Babylon out of LA, then fly to Phoenix to extinguish the Suns”) while stick-checking our minor-league hockey team, the Thunderbirds (“The underpowered Thunderbirds are towed onto the ice to start the second half of the season”).

My last turn at bat, so to speak, was in 1994. In my final appearance in the sports pages I wrote:

“What have I learned? Chiefly, that if society is up to its neck in sports, it’s because sports answer a profound need in society. However, if an intense interest in the Seahawks is part of that need, then society is, without doubt, sick.”

Perhaps society is just a little bit healthier this morning, because yesterday the Seattle Seahawks reversed 38 years of misadventures and won the Superbowl. It’s taken them 20 years, but they’ve taught me a lesson: that back then I should’ve volunteered to write the sports listings every football season. I didn’t know how good I had it.

In December of 1993 I wrote of the Seahawks, “And now, a team that needs no introduction, mainly because no one wants to meet them.” What can I say post-Super Bowl except that it’s the Seahawks, our very own oceangoing raptors, who now fly the highest. They are at the top of their profession and the top of the world, or at least that part of the world that plays U.S. football. Congratulations to them and to their fans, who God knows have endured much. I certainly didn’t help.

Random Pick of the Day
Joe McPhee, Common Threads: Live at the Tractor Tavern (1995)
Mr. McPhee is too avant-garde for this listener, but in honor of the Seahawks I wanted an album recorded in Seattle, and we spent many New Year’s Eves dancing at the Tractor Tavern, and McPhee, a sax player, was influenced by a woman who played the accordion, so it had to be Common Threads. Believe me, if there was an album about the Seahawks or even the Seagals I would’ve picked that one.

Random Pan of the Day
Various artists, Denver Broncos: Greatest Hits, volumes 1 and 2 (both 2001)
These albums actually exist, featuring Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Molly Hatchet (never as good as Molly Ringwald), and of course John Denver. Get this crap out of here.

  1. pauline says:

    You didn’t mention the spectacular Joe Martin Stadium sunset and the post-game parking lot drive-through at the hotel having that vintage Studebaker car-owners convention. What a fun night that was!

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Ofelia is forcing me to be serious, even rapturous. Our little group attended a Bellingham Mariners game in cozy Joe Martin Stadium, where in August the sun always set over the centerfield wall just in time for the 9th inning. On this night, that was when the 18-year-old Ken Griffey Jr., who had been playing in second gear all evening, loping around the field like he was having the time of his life, realized that his team needed a homerun and promptly hit one into the sunset to win the game. It was exactly like the scene in The Natural where they stop the steam train in the middle of a wheat field in the bright sunshine so Roy Hobbs can pitch to The Whammer. OK, Roy struck out The Whammer, so what Griffey did is not “exactly” like the movie. But it was legendary. You get the idea. Talk about Americana…On our way home, we stopped at a motel parking lot (I forget why we turned in there) and saw rows of antique Studebakers gleaming in the arc lights. Some of them looked as if you could mount a propeller above the front fender. Football? Ha!

  2. Accused of Lurking says:

    And what was your reaction to the Super Bowl halftime show starring your old friend, Bruno Mars, made famous in one of your 2011 blog posts? (Well, maybe he was famous before your blog post, but not to me.)

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      Mr. Mars had some public recognition before I made him a star, so I can’t take all the credit for his success.

      I never watch the Super Bowl, except once, when I had a high fever and I was living alone and I couldn’t get off the couch to turn it off.

      How was Bruno Mars?

  3. Barb says:

    Go Hawks!!! But … Bob Dylan in a half-time commercial? Really? Even more shocking was he looked and sounded exactly the same.

  4. Was it while working for the Seattle Weekly that you first saw and had been so impressed by a young Ken Griffey Jnr? Hadn’t realised that he once played for the Seahawks.

    • Run-DMSteve says:

      We saw Junior in August of 1989 while he was playing for the Bellingham Mariners in the Rookie League. He intercepted a pass on his own 20-yard line and ran it all the way back for a touchdown. I hadn’t seen anything like it until this year’s Puppy Bowl.

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