Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February of Champions

It's been over two weeks already, but I would be a terrible Seattleite if I didn't at least mention the Seahawks. You may have already heard about it, how they CONQUERED THE UNIVERSE? Or at the very least, won the Super Bowl?! 

Now, I'm not really much of a sports fan, but it was pretty amazing to see Seattle explode with so much pride and support. Suddenly everywhere you looked there were jerseys, hats, green and blue lights, banners, signs up in house windows, and whole downtown buildings decorated. The top of the Space Needle emitted the team's colors. Pretty much the whole city became the 12th Man. This was the view from my office for about 2 weeks before the big game.
And what did I do on that historic Sunday? I high-tailed it to the mountains, for a day of serene snow-tromping and hot spring soaking. Sacrilege, I know. I can't believe I'm even admitting that. I just didn't want to stay inside all day watching football when I've never been a fan. But I certainly was happy that so many Seattleites were happy to do just that. And I was kind of envious of all the delicious snacks that were being made and drinks being consumed.
The funny part was, when I got home around 6pm, I immediately checking the score and Facebook for the play-by-play. I suddenly had the overwhelming feeling that I couldn't completely miss the Super Bowl, so I ran to the pub across the street for a beer, some major Seattle camaraderie, and the last 20 minutes of the game. I cheered and hugged strangers and I have to say it was a pretty astounding evening to be in this city.

That weekend was also Imbolc, which is the halfway point between the winter solstice and spring equinox. I went to a Christmas tree burning at Golden Gardens- if you've never been to one of these, I highly recommend it. The quick woosh of flames is entrancing to watch, and you really do feel like some part of the darkness of winter is being burned away.
It was Groundhogs day too, and spring is indeed coming. But not before the weather took a seriously cold turn. That following week, it got beautifully clear and bitterly cold, making my bike commute painful for my fingers and toes.

That also meant it was in the 20's for the Seahawks Victory Parade, held the Wednesday after the game. I had to work that day, but luckily my office is in Pioneer Square, right on the parade route. These were some of the views out the window.
Even from five stories up, the  low roar of cheering from outside was audible for hours. I tried to get work done, but kept getting drawn to the window to watch the crowds in awe, who had arrived hours and hours before the parade started. I did go outside for a little while, and marveled at the people waiting steadfast in the cold, clustered onto a bridge, sitting in trees, and hanging from buildings.

My cousin and her husband actually drove to Seattle from Idaho to watch the parade, along with their two little boys, and were outside all day. I give them serious props for that. The day of the parade was pretty magical for me- not because I'm a Seahawks fan, but because I'm a Seattle fan. I will never forget how much energy, excitement, and joy was in the air. Call it a contact high.

The following weekend wasn't quite as civically momentous, but it was another great weekend. We celebrated my aunt's birthday by Riding the Ducks. Even though we are locals, no one in my family had ever done this land-and-water tour of the city. Verdict? It was really really fun. I learned a ton about Seattle that I didn't know, and it was a fast-paced, catchy, theatrical tour.
That night it snowed, and we got a long-awaited snow day. Everywhere kids were sledding and building snowmen. I tromped around the arboretum and Foster Island, with hot coffee and pain au chocolat. So far, February has been pretty fabulous.


ElizaBeth said...

As a huge Seahawks fan, I was so disappointed to yet again NOT be in Seattle for a momentous occasion (like Election Day 2008 when everyone took to the streets in joyful celebration while I watched Obama's acceptance speech alone in my apartment in Argentina at 2 am with Spanish dubbed over it, lonely and bawling). At the very least I got to watch the game in English, and not by myself! I'm glad you got into the swing of things, even though you were late to the game (literally).

AmberAnda said...

Oh Eli! It makes me sad thinking of you there alone in your BA apartment! But I think the comparison of events is very appropriate- as I watched the parade crowd, I kept thinking, "Have I ever seen anything like this in Seattle?" and the only thing I could think of was Election Day 2008. Well, and N30 WTO, but that was not the same joyous exuberance. Anyway, if you had been in town, you are one of the few people that I might have been convinced to watch the game with ;)

Ben Heneghan said...

I like how you convert it all into a spectacle of Seattle fandom, since it is in large part pride for their city that makes people proud of their team. Being a professional sports grinch, I have a hard time finding value in the frivolity and excess of sport phenomena in and of themselves. But I must admit that it is somewhat endearing when people are thrilled that "our" team won -- that we, Seattle, ranked nationally and were recognized. And while I would rather that we ranked by another metric than football, or that it didn't require winning a competition to evoke such pride, the pride of Seattle -- the love of this place -- does have a unique shine when it shows.

I found myself standing in front of a pub on the day of the game, though drawn there by another muse than football or booze, and as I watched the packed patrons erupting in fits of fanatacism and chanting their 12th man themes to the HDTVs, it was hard not to be struck by the reality of it all. Like most things, it always gets me how real it is to them, and that it actually happens. But there they were again, acting like this was real, and I had to laugh.

In plain truth, you did the only sane thing there was to do on that day, and if it could be considered a day of celebration of Seattle, I would say not sacrilege but reverence drove you to the mountains to honor it in your way. What reasonable creature would not trade televised superbowls for snow-tromping, or halftime shows for hot springs? But let them have their madness, I say, and to us our wilderness, and the children of our children will inherit our long johns just the same. Clearly this blog is about happiness, and you look the picture of it there in the snow.

Much love, Amber, and here's to an even merrier March.

AmberAnda said...

First of all Ben, I think your comment on my blog is far more well-written than the blog post itself!:) I love your way with words. Thanks for commenting and sharing your take on things. I'm glad I'm not the only one in the city who is perplexed by the concept of sports fanaticism! And now I'm seriously wondering how long I would be able to keep my long johns around...