Dear Mr. Carroll,
According to my parents, I have always been a sports fan. Their first clue came when they figured out that the best way to quell my infant fussing was to put me in front of a basketball, football, or baseball game (see: perfection in parenting 101!). As a toddler I would wave my hands wildly about, my feet scrambling underneath me in various directions, attempting to resemble something they call “dancing” while Hank Williams wailed “Are you ready for some footbaallll?!?!” over the TV set speakers. If I wasn’t doing that, I would cheer for the “He-Hawks”, as I called them, clad in my gray Seahawks dress, toting plastic-stringed pom-poms that were half the size of my body, and professing proudly that I was a “He-Hawk Girl”.
A large portion of my childhood nostalgia also centers around watching the Mariners from behind home plate in the Kingdome; looking behind and above me to see Dave Niehaus perched in the press box announcing the game, catching whizzing bags of peanuts from “Rick the Peanut Guy”, and watching Griffey slide into home to help us clench the title of A.L. Divisional Champs.
Sadly, in my 2.5 decades of living, Seattle sport fans and I have had little to celebrate. A declining MLB franchise, our historically bad NFL team, and the loss of our NBA team has done nothing but deflate our optimism. Sure, we made it to the Superbowl for the first time ever in 2006 and it was a huge deal, but did anyone expect us to get there? No. Did anyone want us there? Definitely not. Was our whole city behind us? Not like it is now.
Four years ago, it was announced that you would be the new head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. I remember feeling a rush of optimism, knowing all you had done not only for the team at USC, but for the community surrounding USC. You had a history of winning and a decidedly strong character.
My dad, not so convinced, rambled on about how NFL players were much different than college players. More weathered. Less easy to energize. Harder to discipline. Not only have you proved him wrong, but you’ve surpassed my most optimistic expectations.
Over the course of four years, we have watched you rollover practically the entire team and rebuild. Each year we have watched you create a more powerful team. We’ve seen you adding more and more essential characters to assemble the young, energized, and disciplined group known as the Seattle Seahawks. Us 12’s have been proud and loud for years, you’ve just given us something to back up that pride and enthusiasm.
Your success has created something hardly ever seen in Seattle: Community. Brotherhood & Sisterhood. Faith. People who have never watched football are now tuning in to see what the Seahawks are going to do next. Together these things are joining this little-big city of ours together and melting the face off our so-called “Seattle Freeze”. High-fives, hugs, laughter, and even photos are being shared together among friends and strangers alike, all in celebration of this team that you’ve created. That you’ve put every fiber of your being into.
You, sir, are saving Seattle. And I think in some ways you already have. You are putting us on the map. You are making the non-believers, believers. You are turning strangers into friends. You are finally pulling the heads of football fans, commentators, analysts and general nay-sayers out of the sand and forcing them to pay attention to us. To see what we have and to fear it. To reckon with it.
In just hours, this sport fan along with thousands of others in Seattle will be halting everything else to watch the biggest and most important game of this season yet. To support you and these dreammakers and wishgranters lovingly called the ‘Hawks and hopefully watch you all carry us into that really big game a few weeks away.
No matter what happens now and what happens in the future – this group will always be remembered, celebrated, and loved for what they’ve done for this city. You will always be regarded as our hero. Seattle’s sports hero.
Good luck, and GO HAWKS!
One Proud 12th Woman.