Here in the Seattle area it sounds like the Fourth of July outside. The brisk night air bristles with the acrid smell of fireworks as screams and cheers reverberate throughout our neighborhoods. People are literally out in the streets celebrating. The Seahawks, after 38 years, have finally won the Super Bowl. And they didn’t just win it, they steamrolled Denver 43 to 8.
Two brief descriptions can sum up this game. First, if a Bronco moved, he was swarmed and dog piled. A single figure breaks from the pack; multiple figures surround it and stop its motion. It was like watching lions taking down prey. It was so predictable that I felt bad for the other guys.
Second, surprising and seemingly improbable touchdowns happened at amazing times. Literally just after the second half started, Percy Harvin caught a kick specifically designed not to be caught and ran 87 yards to score a touchdown. The man runs like someone pushed the fast forward button on the DVD player.
Admittedly, I’m not a big pro football fan. I’ll openly admit that I gripe about whether pampered millionaires racing around on a grid, many adulterous, are deserving of the adulation directed at them. I often wish I could channel our community’s passion for sports into more worthy causes, like ending domestic violence or working together to solve pressing national security problems. The starting and stopping and starting and stopping of the clock drives me nuts as well (just let the clock run, like in futbol!).
I silently ponder whether Christians who proudly wear team jerseys and fly flags from their vehicles would, if given the chance, be as open and joyous about their faith. In the past I have been outraged at taxpayer dollars being used to fund public stadiums, a practice I call corporate welfare. I maintain an intense concern about what the Romans called panem et circensus– bread and games. If the people have bread and games, will they pay attention to more serious issues?
Add to my skepticism the fact that aside from the Seattle Storm, I don’t think a major Seattle sports team has won a championship in 35 years. That helps explain why I don’t get very excited about pro sports. I don’t mean to disparage the sometimes Herculean efforts of our athletes, but for decades supporting pro sports has felt like being mercilessly flirted with while never being asked out on an actual date.
Okay, so the Sounders and Mariners have been on fire at times. But football and basketball has gradually lost whatever magic it held when we were kids and the Sonics won the 1979 NBA championship. Now we don’t even have a NBA team. I’ve watched warily as the current Seahawks team has hauled itself up the ladder of glory, afraid to be let down yet again. So that makes this moment, this declaration that the Seattle Seahawks are now world champions, all the more remarkable.
What makes today even more memorable for me is that both quarterbacks involved in this contest are professing Christians, men unashamed to proclaim their faith in Jesus. That might explain why I see so many Wilson jerseys in church on Sundays. I don’t really think God cares who wins football games, but maybe amidst the meeting of these two teams, in spite of the uncivilized aspects like excessive drinking and shouting down the other team, He got a little of the glory because of the team leaders.
Russell Wilson asked his team the same question his dad used to ask him– “why not us?” Sure, maybe others think you’re not big enough/strong enough/fast enough/committed enough, but why not you/us? I am among the doubters who questioned whether Seattle really had the fire to see this through and they did. They said, “yes, us,” and they were equal to the task.
What a game, what a night, what a party in the Emerald City. While I will forever have my issues with pro sports and fan behavior, we Washingtonians will never forget this night. This is the first time in our lifetimes– the first time ever– that the Seahawks have raised the Lombardi Trophy. Until this night it’s always seemed like a phantom that perpetually gallops five paces ahead, maddeningly just out of reach, and then disappears into a bank of fog.
But it’s real. They did it. Finally.
Good job guys. This daughter of Puget Sound and outspoken pro sports critic sends you a well-deserved, neon green-gloved high five. Although what I really said was “WWWWHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!”
(You didn’t hear that.)
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