Yesterday morning a post caught my eye. It was How to Pretend You Care about Football. The post was funny and I thoroughly enjoyed it, but reading it also caused me to reflect on my own relationship to football. For most of my life, I had no interest in football; and I didn’t made any effort to pretend that I cared about it. In fact, I believe I actively conveyed my disinterest, and at times, my disapproval. The only exception I can remember was when I lived in Oakland and developed some allegiance to the Oakland Raiders.
My attitude towards football changed in the fall of 2012. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I started watching the Seahawks games very early in the season; and I continued watching them throughout the season. When I say “watched,” I use the word loosely. The reality is I was doing so many other things at the same time that I became known for missing most of the important plays. As we came closer to the playoffs, I focused on the games more and by the Super Bowl I was watching them intently.
That year, the city of Seattle came alive in its support of the Seahawks; or it may be more accurate to say it went crazy. Everywhere there were people in Seahawks shirts, Seahawks signs in the windows, Seahawks tattoos, Seahawks nail polish, and Seahawks flags flying. The city had become one big community. After the team won the Super Bowl there was a victory parade. 700,000 people from around the region stood for hours in 20 degree weather to participate. And I was one of them!
Last year, I was much more attentive when I watched the games and was elated when we made it to the Super Bowl again. I felt disappointed when we lost, but I had enjoyed the season so much that it didn’t spoil my overall experience in the slightest. The Seahawk fans were a community during the wins and we stayed a community during the loss.
As I reflected on all of this yesterday, another memory came to my mind. It was a story I heard in the early 90’s, on one of my first trips to Amma’s ashram in Kerala, India. At that time, one of the brahmacharis (male monks) shared a story from the early days of the ashram. In those days, the spiritual aspirants were expected to abstain from chai (tea). This young man had ignored that instruction however and would daily sneak out of the ashram and go to a local chai shop for tea. Invariably when he returned to the ashram, Amma would be standing by the gate talking to someone. She never said anything to him, but he knew she knew what he had been doing. One day, when returning from his chai break, he saw Amma standing near the gate so he turned around and went to another ashram entrance. He was shocked to find Amma standing there as well! As he reflected on the event, he concluded this was occurring because he was being sneaky. The next time he went for chai, he announced, out loud, to the universe, “I’m going for chai.” Never again did he find Amma standing by the gate when he returned.
So in the spirit of owning my priorities, I have the following to say. The Seahawks have played their first three preseason games for this year and there is one more to go. Then the main season begins. So far I have seen all of the games and I intend to see the rest of them as well. During the six weeks I’m in India, I will follow them on my Android as much as possible. So if I don’t show up at an event I would normally attend, and there is a Seahawks game that day, you can safely assume I am somewhere watching the game. I am a Seahawks fan and I am proud of it!