Saturday, February 8, 2014

How it feels to win

In honor of my home town and my home team, I am posting on a weekend. Even if you are not a sports fan, the story can still resonate with you.  In the Spring of 2012, Donald Wood wrote a piece for the Bleacher Report about Draft Day Fails. Here is an excerpt:

With the 2012 NFL draft over and done, it’s time to look back on the teams that failed on draft day and give them a grade.

Certain teams had amazing afternoons, but others teams (I’m looking at you Seattle) completely missed on the concept of trying to improve.

All of the following squads screwed up, but it’s very clear that certain teams have major internal issues. I’m sorry to the fans of all the following teams for the poor drafting.

No. 1: Seattle Seahawks
After one of the worst picks in the first round I can ever remember, the Seattle Seahawks didn't draft any positions of need or draft for the future.

Pete Carroll is proving why he didn’t make it in the NFL the first time. Not only was Bruce Irvin a reach at No. 15, the Seahawks proved they were oblivious to their madness by celebrating their selection.

As if the day wasn’t bad enough, Seattle selecting Russell Wilson, a QB that doesn’t fit their offense at all, was by far the worst move of the draft. With the two worst moves of the draft, Seattle is the only team that received an F on draft day.

Grade: F

F? What do you mean? I finally decoded the mystery and narrowed it down to simple options:
1. F is for F___ Off Donald Wood
2. F is for Did you kiss my SB48 ring? Does it not taste F____ delicious?
3. F is for How you F____ like me now? 

I am betting on Option 2. 

My Father coached Little League football teams my entire youth.  He was a hard ass because he had a precise combination of athleticism, technical understanding of football, intensity, intellect and passion for the game. He could have easily coached at greater heights but did not choose to do so. He was adamant that as a female, I didn't stand on any side line yelling "Yeah...HOMERUN!" so we watched Seahawks games together and I learned about I Formation and the empty backfield. This was old-school Seahawks year #1 of the franchise with Jim Zorn, Steve Largent, Sherman Smith. I have been a fan ever since.

You might not like football. You might not like sports. You might not even know Seattle has a football team. But what many of you can appreciate is anytime someone is told they can't achieve when in fact they can, and will and do. 

Young QB Russell Wilson's mantra of Dream Big, Work Hard, Stay Humble is a simplistic but on-point concept. Derrick Coleman, the first deaf Offensive player in the NFL, was also written off as someone who could never take his athleticism and skill to the professional level because he was deaf. Guess again?  My favorite by-product of his Super Bowl presence is the letter he received from 9- year old deaf twin girls who wrote, among other sentiments, "because of you, we believe that anything can be done even if you have a disability." That is real power. The trajectory of Derrick Coleman and his impact on these girls moved their needle from "Not me" to "Why NOT me." Maybe I am Smarmy Spice but I hope to never lose the ability to be moved by anecdotes like this one.

Let's include Malcolm Smith. He made an elite trifecta by winning the Super Bowl MVP award as only 1 of 3 NFL linebackers to ever do so.  After not a single interception in 43 previous games, he took his first interception during the Super Bowl and returned it 69 yards for a TD. Oh, and Minnesota laughed at Percy Harven? Some Vikings fans mocked: He wanted to get traded and now he has a boo boo! Is it funny now? And The Chancellor? Or what I like to think of as: Part Man, Part Machine. Do you know what the black face mask visor means? It means Grade F like Donald Wood wrote. But F as in "Do Not F with Me."

These levels of commitment and tenacity are inspirational. And we got to participate in sports history.

I am not biased because this is my home team. I am biased because I like champions. I applaud the fact Pete Carroll had a vision he then realized.  How many people actually do this? It is incredible whether you are 12, 32 or 62 (Coach Carroll's age.)

Oh, the backlash after the conference championship game regarding Richard Sherman? He is a thug? That word has now has a variety of connotation and is used on such a sliding scale, I am uncertain it means what people hope it means when they use it. Does it mean he's an arsehole? A dbag? A criminal? Or is he just someone who says, acts and thinks in a way people don't like? If so, he can get in the back of the line behind thugs like Rob Ford, Justin Beiber, Kanye West, Michael Grimm, Donald Trump and half of Congress.  Richard Sherman went to Stanford which I am confident Biebs and Kanye couldn't string those letters together to successfully win their way out of a 3rd grade spelling bee.

You know who doesn't care if people don't like Richard Sherman? Richard Sherman.

In regards to the team, it is stacked with hard-workers and a 'no-name' defensive players. One of my favorite quotes came from Nancy Gay,

Anyone who figured the No. 1 scoring offense powered by Manning, a five-time MVP, might get the upper hand on the NFL’s No. 1 scoring defense was drastically underestimating the ferocity of Seattle’s Legion of Boom.

Legion of Boom? How awesome is that?!? You know what I say? I am in Tennis League or I am into running or I am in PTA. These men, with the ferocity and speed of panthers get to say, "I am in the LEGION of BOOM."

I loved watching them rise. I loved watching them win. I loved watching them do the thing Donald Wood and MANY others said was not unlikely but impossible. Because of social media, it was also spectacular to be completely connected to the action as well as the emotion and reverie of all my friends and family at home and around the US who were experiencing the same elation I was. I want to experience greatness as every one does but I am also thrilled to witness greatness and cheer it on, in whatever form and discipline it comes in. In this case, pigskin style delivered via Seattle. How does it feel to win? Proud of the team who found out during the Super Bowl and all the 12th Man friends along the way.