Sunday, February 6, 2011
I LOVE THIS TOWN
First and foremost I would like to thank all of the readers who took their time to read this piece. I hope this is my first of many articles that I would like to share here at SSB. My name is Korey Payne and I am currently a 23 year old student in the Wenatchee area and would one day like to combine my passion for sports along with my love of storytelling.
Growing up 60 minutes from Seattle I naturally was raised as your typical Seattle sports fan. Go Seahawks, Go Mariners, Go Huskies, & Go Sonics (by the way, I haven’t drunk an ounce of Starbucks since our beloved Sonics were deported like a bag of coffee from Columbia). One thing I didn’t pay much attention to as a youngster was wins & losses. All I wanted to see was Shawn Kemp create posters and Ken Griffey blast homeruns. It was great. No matter what time of the year it was I could always count on watching my team go to battle and watch my favorite superstars ship highlights to the sports center express. The sounds of Dave Niehaus, Kevin Calabro, and Steve Raible still give me chills (RIP Dave Niehaus).
I was also very fortunate to attend a number of Husky football camps that were held annually at Evergreen State College where I could spend time with just my grandmother and myself. Of course my favorite college team in the world. Often the likes of Reggie Williams, Marques Tuiasosopo, and Cody Pickett would make their way to the sidelines to show me a little love and engage in a game of catch or take a simple picture. What was simple to them made lifetime memories for me.
As I began to mature however, I noticed one common occurrence between all of my teams. We seemed to never win a championship. While we came up close a few times such as the Sonics in 96, the Mariners 116 win season in 01’, to as close as a couple of NFL referees away from the Lombardi trophy in 2005(2006 Super Bowl). There were also those seasons where we would just flat out stink. And I mean a lot of seasons. Probably more combined than other city if you were to add up total losing seasons from the top 3 major American sports. Wait, I forgot Cleveland is still on the map even after the king left the building (or quicken loans arena in this matter).This pattern was all too familiar and often left me with a lot of heartbreak. Yes, I use Seattle sports as an excuse to why I was a fat loser growing up. But wait, maybe just maybe this was not the worst thing in the world. Let me explain…
Imagine a city rich of sports history, 10+ championships in all three of our major sports. A couple NCAA championships. Maybe even a Heisman or two for Cody Pickett. While this may sound like a dream come true to most and believe me, it does to me as well. What if we become spoiled by these roller coaster marathons with our teams that anything else would just be unpleasant. If the Mariners were looking for their third straight world series title, it would consume the vast majority of our lives for those six plus months out of the year. Die-hard fans such as myself wouldn’t be able to help it. Look how miserable Yankees and Red Sox fans look.
You know that feeling when you’re driving down I-5 on a sunny day and your favorite song is on the radio and it feels like nothing can screw your day up until all of a sudden a black Volvo with Oregon license plates cuts you off and sends your brain to the insane asylum? That has got to be what it’s like on a daily basis for those fans. The constant pressure of needing your team to meet unreasonable expectations from not only the media but yourself. There is that slight chance that we may have it better than them. Our teams upper management are constantly making big moves in each of the off seasons to keep us interested and allow ourselves to quietly think, “maybe this is our year”. Now this thought usually goes away half way through the season but it leaves you just enough time to not get too attached and you are able to go on about your simple life and enjoy that simple life.
Think how nice it is not having to argue with your wife (or husband) about watching too much sports. When your team is 10 games out of first place it makes it difficult to watch every down, pitch, or possession. Of course there will always be those near miracle seasons you put together such as the three I previously listed. We all should know by now that there is no greater feeling that being the underdog and having a chance to shock the world knowing deep down that you knew we had the chance all along. It gives us a feeling of accomplishment like we helped get them there and “were gonna show those idiot east coast fans” that we have a good as shot as any.
Now I don’t want you to think that in some sick way I want to live my whole life without seeing one of my teams going the distance. At the same time a little reflection in knowing that I don’t have it so bad doesn’t hurt. I’m proud to say I’m a Seattle fan no matter where I go and no matter what city I’m in I will represent Seattle sports with a smile on my face knowing that we assemble the greatest group of guys who truly want to be here. I know that every game I go to there is going to be thousands of screaming fans just like myself who have been through the same ups and downs as I have and no matter how bad a previous season ended up they continue to say…There is always next year…