The Church of Tanzania

Ever since the Tanzania ads have been plastering the walls of the CLink this year there has only been one [football] loss by a Seattle Sports team (UW, yesterday). There is a large contingent on twitter led by Alex Akita of Seattle Sports Net (@alexSSN) that believe in the magical powers of the Kilimanjaro, and the Serengeti to propel Seattle teams to victory in epic fashion. –warox13, via Reddit.

I am not crazy. At least I don’t think I am. But I am a bit superstitious. And I do believe in luck. I’ll occasionally do things in threes, avoid breaking mirrors, and one time, precisely an hour after I renewed my AAA membership, my car broke down. That’s lucky. Sure, some genius might be able to explain the logic behind any incidence of good or bad fortune that has befallen me. But I don’t care to hear it. I choose to believe in luck for luck’s sake. It may be science. It may be supernatural. It may be spiritual. It may be magic. Who can really say for sure.

That leads us to CenturyLink Field and the mural that adorns the base of the North End Zone. It started off as a joke, of course. A gaudy display practically begging the masses to please, for the love of God, travel to Tanzania. But it was certainly unique, more reminiscent of a minor league baseball stadium’s outfield fence than an NFL venue, to be sure. One couldn’t help but notice its existence. I mean, come on. It literally overshadowed scoring opportunities on one end of the playing surface. Touchdown? Tanzania. Field goal? Tanzania. Scoring became synonymous with Mount Kilimanjaro and a giant, leering elephant. Win or lose, good or bad, we’d be forced to subconsciously associate point accumulation with Tanza-freakin’-nia. There was no escaping it.

And then, oddly enough, we couldn’t lose. I first noticed it about a month ago. We had not lost at home since Tanzania first emerged in July. None of our teams. Not the Sounders, not the Huskies, not the Seahawks. And to date, four weeks later, only two Seattle defeats have been witnessed under the lights of our beloved Clink: a 2-1 Sounders loss to San Jose, and a 24-14 UW football defeat at the hands of USC. Compare that to the 12 home wins those three teams have netted, and what you have is a combined .857 winning percentage with Tanzania in the building.

*For statistical clarity, the Sounders have won four times since Tanzania’s arrival (with wins over Los Angeles, Vancouver, Chivas USA, and Portland), the Huskies thrice (San Diego State, Portland State, and Stanford), and the Seahawks five times (preseason wins over Tennessee and Oakland, regular season victories over Dallas, Green Bay, and New England).

Perhaps no team has become more aligned with victory and Tanzania than the Seahawks, who are undefeated since Paul Allen’s advertising bonanza was initially spawned. And not only are they undefeated, but they’ve triumphed in miraculous, near-magical fashion. Anyone who saw the wins over Green Bay and New England would tell you that those games were absolutely special. And when you consider that our local teams — let alone hardly any teams — win so dramatically with such frequency in one fraction of a season, you have to start pondering the meaning behind the magical environment our home arena has produced.

Thus, following the first Seattle loss of the year at CenturyLink on Saturday (the Huskies’ offensive disappointment against the Trojans), I put my superstitious cap on and prayed to the lush valleys of Kilimanjaro, the eminent prowess of the gray elephant, the unassuming humility of the African antelope, and the mystical powers of the Serengeti. Bring us good fortune on Sunday, I wished, and lead us away from evil and towards a Seahawks victory.

Yeah, God might have other things to do. He can’t devote His resources to a silly football game. Buddha and Allah? Do they even play sports? Probably not. So if praying to the high heavens won’t work, there’s really only one place to turn. And it’s right there before us, plastered to the North End Zone.

You see, I prayed to antelopes. To antelopes. And lush freakin’ valleys. And you know what? It worked. It effing worked! So look me in the eye, keep a straight face, and tell me no part of you believes in the magic of Tanzania. You can’t do it. Cannot. Because it’s so goofy that it might just make sense. And until our home teams prove us otherwise (I have faith — yes, faith — that they won’t prove us otherwise), we have to believe.

Believe in Tanzania. Worship at the altar of Mount Kilimanjaro. Absolve your sins in the Ngorongoro Crater. If you believe in Tanzania, Tanzania will believe in your fanaticism. This is more than just sports. It goes beyond wins and losses. This is, well, weird. And if weird means victories, than by all means let’s get strange.

Thanks to the internet, I am an ordained minister. And as an ordained minister, I have the encouragement of the online church to venture forth unto the world and start a church of my own. So today, before you, I officially proclaim the birth of The Church of Tanzania. This is our sanctuary. This is our saving grace.

Tanzania bless America, and Tanzania bless Seattle sports fans.

3 thoughts on “The Church of Tanzania”

  1. Has anyone tried walking at full speed (Harry Potter-style) into the Tanzania mural to make sure it’s not a gateway to the Serengeti? I would bring one of those safari hats and maybe a tranquilizer gun (for elephants), but it’s entirely possible this is how the followers of the Church of Tanzania must make pilgrimage to (our) Mecca.

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