Bandwagon Seahawks fan? No, I’m just new to this football thing.

I hated football.  I mean, I hated it.  With every fiber of my being, I detested it, loathed it.  I wished sometimes that it would just go away.  There was a time when my co-workers would bring up the Seahawks and my fingers would immediately go in my ears while I sang loudly, “La, la, la, la, la..”

My dad watched football when I was growing up, but it was his thing, and being the oldest of two girls with a mom who also didn’t watch football, I avoided it.  I didn’t understand it.  I didn’t want to understand it.

I married a man who loves football.  And that was fine with me.  As long as he left me out of it, we’d be fine.  But I later learned that he didn’t really want to leave me out of it.  He started asking me to watch certain plays during a game.  “Watch the quarterback,” he’d say.  But all I saw were a bunch of guys grouped up in the same uniform.  How am I supposed to know who the quarterback is?

My hatred of football continued to grow.  I didn’t want to be anywhere near a TV with a football game.  It was too slow.  It stopped and started too much.  I didn’t get it.  I didn’t want to get it.

There was a time when my husband thought enough of me to include me in a certain college football team’s game that he happens to be a super fan of.  I went along with my husband and my boys, but I’ll be damned if I was actually going to watch football.  I brought my beloved books with me.  Yes, I brought books to a football game.  And yes, I read them.  I read a book while my husband’s team proceeded to play a game, scoring 72 points to nothing.  I’d show all of them what I thought about football.  I hated it so much.  Little did I realize it then, but I was cementing a memory into my two boys’ brains that I now imagine them telling their future wives and their children.

“My mom hated football so much that she actually read a book during a huge game with people screaming everywhere.”  That was nearly five years ago, and I laugh about it now, but I also see how tremendously selfish I was being back then.  Of course life isn’t all about doing what I want to do all of the time.  Being in a family means sometimes compromising and taking one for the team, so to speak, embracing the interests of your spouse and your children.  Once I looked back and remembered how many musicals my husband had accompanied me to, something that probably would never be his number one choice, the tides began to change. I would never like football, but I would at least make an effort to be more pleasant about it for my husband’s and kids’ sake.

In September of 2012, I was doped up on cold medicine, the really good kind that in Washington you have to sign your life away for.  We have a little bit of a meth problem here.  It was Monday Night Football.  The Seahawks were playing the Packers at CenturyLink Field.  Russell Wilson threw the Hail Mary pass at the end of the game, Golden Tate caught it, scoring the game-winning touchdown.  There was all kinds of controversy over that, and with my love of controversy combined with my cold meds, I promptly took a seat on my couch next to my husband and just watched.  I was able to focus on what was going on.  For the first time in my life I was understanding what I was seeing and hearing.

I had a revelation that night that all of my life, the difficulties I have had with focusing on things, having the attention span of a gnat, have translated into feelings of hatred toward the things that I cannot focus on and understand.  It might also explain why I’ve always loved hockey, a game that is fast, the puck is always moving, and there is no time to have to focus on anything.  Oh, and they fight.  See my love of controversy above.

I never understood what “first down” meant.  And it didn’t matter how many times someone explained it to me.  I just couldn’t grasp it.  You mean, they get a first down and now they have to get another first down?  But they just got the first one.  That’s why it’s called first.  Hello?  It seems like some people, especially men, are hard-wired to understand this stuff.  I know my boys are.  It’s like they were born knowing all of the calls that an official might make.  How did you know that they were going to punt there?  Why is it called a safety?  I don’t get it.  But the difference now is that I want to get it.  And I’m learning.

A couple of years ago my youngest son played tackle football for one season.  That helped me immensely in understanding what is going on out on the field.  And I cared because I was watching my son.  I wanted to understand this game he was playing.  I bought “Football for Dummies.”  I’m not kidding.  Good read!

And then Richard Sherman made his way into my field of vision.  The brash, smack-talking cornerback of the Seahawks got my attention when he said “You mad, bro?” to Tom Brady.  He had made me laugh.

youmadbro

Before then football players lived inside their uniforms in the game.  They came, played the game on the field, and left. They weren’t human. But getting a glimpse of a player’s personality grabbed me.  I became a fan of Richard Sherman at that moment.  I began paying attention during games just to see what he might do or say.  And then I started to notice and get to know the other players.  Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson, Kam Chancellor, Doug Baldwin, Michael Bennett, just to name a few,  they all became known to me.  I felt like I was getting to know these young kids.  Because I am old enough now to call these guys kids.

I began cheering for the Seahawks.  I became interested in the games.  Win or lose, I was in.  And it wasn’t because they were winning.  It was because I had become interested in the people actually playing the game, like I was cheering for my own kids and their friends.

And here we are now on the brink of another Superbowl after winning last year’s.  And there’s a term that the Seahawks haters – and perhaps lifelong Seahawks fans – like to use to describe a fan like me.

Bandwagon fan.  You’ve heard it flung around, particularly in the comments section of any Seahawks article these days.  Urban Dictionary defines it as follows:

Anyone who claims they are a “fan” of a particular sports team, even though they had no prior support for/interest in the team until that team started winning. These types of fans only show playoff interest, have probably never watched a regular season game, don’t own any type of team merchandise, nor would they buy any.
I know some of you fans who have been around since, say, 1976, the inception of the Seahawks, believe you are better fans than those of us “bandwagoners.”  I will concede this to you.  You who have been around through the thick and thin, win or lose, deserve some kind of medal. At least a cookie. You had to wait a long time for last year’s victory.  I’m sure if there was some kind of football rapture, you fans would be scooped up immediately, your cars would be left unmanned just like the bumper stickers about Jesus say, and us bandwagon fans would be left here saying, “What happened??”  But in my defense, I wasn’t even on this planet in 1976.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, can we all move on and just be fans?  Isn’t there enough room for all 12’s?
Here’s the deal.  I’m not a bandwagon fan.  I didn’t discriminate.  I hated all football equally.  I just changed my mind.  And I don’t think the Seahawks care either.  Do you think they mind all of the support they get from all of us, new fans and old?  Do you think they put us in categories?  Oh, he’s been here since ’76.  He goes here at the top of the pedestal.  This guy came along during The Boz era and he’s still here.  Okay, put him over here.  Oh, this chick, isn’t she special?  She was won over by Richard Sherman waving at the Redskins’ fans saying, “Bye, beat the traffic, buh-bye.”  She likes our personalities!!  Put her over there!
beatthetraffic
No!  When the 12’s are in the Clink, being the loudest they can be, all fans are the same.  They all sound the same.
 This team has won me over, not only because of how they play, but by how they live.  Whoever they are, whether you like them or not, agree with how they act, whether you agree with Beast Mode grabbing his crotch and barely muttering an answer to the media, whether you like Richard Sherman speaking his truth (which I do!), they are true to themselves.
And when our Seahawks beat the Packers last weekend in the NFC championship game, I later cried when I watched a video of the players miked up.  Russell Wilson continued to cheer on his team.  “It’s only 6 nothing!  It’s only 6 nothing!  It’s only 16 nothing!”  Kam Chancellor rallied, “It’s all about how you bounce back from adversity!  Let’s go!”
And go they did.  They came back.  It was like a miracle.  And I sat in my living room and watched that game all by myself.  And I screamed when Jermaine Kearse caught that final pass from Russell Wilson, when they announced, “The Seahawks are going to the Superbowl!”  This girl who hated football.  This team has become the ultimate in role models for my kids.  They have been given the hugest example of why NEVER to give up in ANYTHING they do.  It’s never too late.  You can still pull out a miraculous win with under two minutes left.
And then stand there in front of the world, crying your heart out, thanking God for your blessings and your victories.
.russell
Yes, this is why I’m a Seahawks fan.  Yes, this is why I now love football.
imin

Reject in the House!

Ever since I was a little girl I have always dreamed of becoming a writer someday.  While my sister and cousins were outside playing at my grandparents’ house, I was busy stapling paper together and writing my own stories.  But I would always inevitably trash my stories because I just knew they had to be complete garbage.   I carried words around that always sounded so perfect in my mind.  Once I put pen to paper, however, I would condemn my words and ball up the monstrosity and curse myself, even at ten, for writing something so very stupid.

I would dream of publishing a book by the age of 12.  I would be on the “Today Show” and “Good Morning America” because I wrote a book that, in my mind, probably rivaled “Harry Potter,” and Joan Lunden would say, “And look, she’s only 12!”  But I continued to destroy every attempt at writing anything.  And let’s be honest, it was more along the lines of “Sweet Valley High” or “The Babysitters Club.”

By the time I was in high school I was selected as the Op/Ed editor for my school newspaper.  I begged my journalism teacher for my own column.  She acquiesced and from there “Iridescent Hues” was born.  I’m not really sure where the name came from.  I didn’t even know what “iridescent” meant, but I thought it sounded cool.  Once I found the definition, I thought, “Exactly what I was going for!”

I loved writing my column.  I took on many topics, including teen pregnancy, abortion, drugs, body piercing (which seemed relatively new in 1994).  My senior year I wrote a letter to the editor of my local newspaper which was published and got me into a lot of trouble at school.  But that’s another story entirely.

After high school, I dove head first into court reporting school.  I was immersed with learning my craft, the skill that would eventually pay my bills.  I was also working part time after school in a grocery store.  The only thing I was writing back then were love letters.

Life went on, but I continued to dream of one day becoming a writer.  I expressed my dream a few times and was shut down by people who probably meant well who said, “Writers write every day.  You don’t.”

Touche.  And I took that to heart.  I didn’t write every day.  I couldn’t write every day.  So I didn’t.  For a long time.  Oh, yes, I can write a great email.  If you ever want to write a scathing letter to someone who pissed you off, I’m your girl.  And for this girl who lives inside her head and has a hard time expressing herself when talking to someone, writing is the ultimate outlet.  I may not know how to tell you how I feel to your face, but I will tell you later with my written words.

This very blog was born two and a half years ago as a way for me to feed my love for writing.  I have neglected it.  I haven’t consistently written.  I have started and scrapped far more posts than I have published.  I have actually considered taking the blog down and starting over.  I restrained myself.  I write for myself.  Taking it down would invalidate my thoughts at the time I wrote them.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about writing. Well, last night I received my very first rejection letter as a writer.

A few weeks ago I was told by a friend about an ad in my newspaper asking for readers to submit two personal essays for a chance to become a reader columnist for the paper.  I have wanted to try out for this for a couple of years, so I felt lucky to have the chance.  I wrote two 500-word pieces, grounded in personal observation and experience as requested.  I sat on submitting them for two weeks after I wrote them.  I changed things up and read and re-read them constantly, trying to read them as if I weren’t the author.  My inside voice was telling me how much they stunk, but I know that she is always out to get me so I ignored her. Plus I didn’t have time to write anything else.  I clicked send on the email and immediately bit my lip in worry.  I have now put myself out there.  Someone is actually going to read this garbage.  What did I do?

I received a response the next day letting me know that they had received my submission, they would read them and get back to me within a couple weeks.  I was forewarned that the competition is very stiff and even very good writers are not chosen.  And then I worried some more.  He said he was going to read them.  Oh my god.

It wasn’t even three days later that I received another response from him telling me how much I suck.  No, I’m kidding.  He was very diplomatic.  But I read straight through all of that diplomacy.

Kellie,
 
I’m afraid this is one of those dreaded rejection notes. We appreciated your interest in being one of our guest columnists; unfortunately, we have to make choices, and this sometimes involves passing up lively writers like you.
 
I’m sorry.
When I first read this, I thought, “Well, what did I expect?  He told me the competition was fierce.”  But then that pesky inner voice started in on me.  “God, you suck.  What were you thinking submitting that crap?  I wonder if ‘lively’ is code for ‘sucky.'”
I ate some feelings after reading that.  I really need to stop doing that.
I woke this morning with a different perspective.  An entire different voice began a dialogue.  I don’t have multiple personality disorder, I promise.  This other voice said, “Kellie, you are too much for that newspaper.  You are sarcastic, witty.  Haven’t you read some of those columns they DO publish?  Booooooorrrrring.  You said so yourself.  You couldn’t even finish one.  Your ADD went into overdrive.  Most of their readers wouldn’t know how to deal with what you have to say.  It’s not the right forum for you.”
I love the voice so much better than the one who constantly wants to tell me how much I suck at the thing I love to do more than anything in the world.  My goal is to someday be able to shut her up completely.
I feel like a bona fide writer now.  I was rejected.  This evening I am wearing my rejection letter like a proud badge of honor.  I only received it because I put myself out there.