I haven’t written anything since LeBron James saved my soul by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder back in mid June. Nothing. I got halfway through an NBA Draft Review before reading Bill Simmons’ take on the same thing, realized mine sucked in comparison, and then scrapped it. Since that moment I have watched the entire first season of Workaholics 2.8 times, a miserable amount of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and put a fruit snack into a rotating fan and laughed like a four year old at it when it got smacked around the cage of the fan. The summer of snapchat has been fun to me, but I stopped writing when I shouldn’t have. For that reason, this article is about the roots of why if you’re reading this, you love sports, and if you love sports, why you love sports, because I love sports. We like sportz.
If you missed me, I apologize. I let the 14 regular followers of this blog down. You probably didn’t though as I tend to inflate my own importance. But my obligation to write is not to the faithful 14, it is to myself.
My first sports memory is going to the Kingdome with my parents and my godparents for a Mariners game. I was afraid of the Mariner Moose (I just don’t trust the guy), and so my godfather took me up to the very last row of the stadium so the Moose wouldn’t come up there, and from that moment on I could watch the game in peace. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to like baseball when you aren’t living in constant fear of a seven foot tall woodland monster with crazy eyes. Baseball became from that point on not my favorite sport by any stretch, but a crutch. There’s nothing on TV at 8:30PM in mid-July, you know what, I’ll watch the M’s lose 4-1. I’ve never expected anything from my baseball team, I don’t really enjoy watching other teams play. I don’t get stoked for Sunday Night Baseball. But I always have the Mariners in my back pocket. They are terrible now, but I can make fun of them whenever I want while they are terrible, I can make Justin Smoak jokes (Smoaks), but when they get good in the 22nd century I will be one happy guy.
That’s what being a fan is. I’ve paid my dues. I have seen so much bad baseball, through my mullet phase, my lesbian Tim Lincecum phase, through my semi normal cut I have now that I am endowed with the ability to ride the Mariners train whenever I please. I feel bad for a fan base that has never experienced a dreadful era of baseball, or of any sport. Having a laughable sports team is something that I have based my entire life on. My dad taught me Take Me Out to the Ballgame with the addendum, “So root, root, root for the Mariners / If they don’t win it’s the same!” That is the only thing I know. The extension of this argument goes over to a section of sports that I care about more than anything.
Enter Husky Football. If your allegiance swings with any other college team, don’t think of this as an epithet to UW, but as a mindset applicable to your team. I haven’t missed a home game since I was two years old. I would go and be absolutely disinterested and then my dad would let me play Gameboy at halftime. But at some point for me it clicked that going to these games was awesome. My favorite sporting event that I attended of all time was the famous USC upset in Sark’s first season. But that game was my reward for going through every miserable game of the 0-12 2008 season. Misery loves company, so why not enjoy misery with a half empty Husky Stadium. As I watched every single game be more uncompetitive than the last, I had complete confidence that this was my price of admission for being a fan. Tyrone Willingham was the one bad meal I’ve had at Azteca in the 19 years I’ve been going there. It was awful, I got food poisoning from it. But guess what, the Boyd Family is back in that same Redmond Azteca spot every two weeks. Such is life, and such is sports.
This example may be at its most applicable in Seattle, where it is scientifically proven that we don’t win anything. Our one professional championship (I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT LAUREN JACKSON) comes from a team that doesn’t play here anymore, our baseball team had the best regular season in MLB history yet didn’t even make the World Series, and our NFL team got jobbed out of the only Super Bowl they’ve been to. In the Lauren Jackson category is whatever the hell a US Open Cup is for the Sounders. I don’t know what it means, I never will, and it’s not important. So when you put it that way, as the facts read for Seattle sports, we suck. We amount to nothing in terms of the grand scope of what people remember. But everyone in this city knows that’s not true. That’s why 4,000 people show up to a Sonics rally, the Sounders somehow sellout every game even though it’s the MLS, the CLink is the loudest stadium in the NFL, and the Mariners have a dancing groundscrew. That last part was supposed to sound pathetic, the Mariners traded Cliff Lee for Justin Smoak they deserve it.
That’s why we love sports. We put in our time, money, and emotional investment all to be rewarded not just with wins, but with moments. Keep things in perspective and sports will never let you down. We’re back baby.