Sunday was not a great day for Seattle sports fans. Both the Seahawks and Mariners fell to their respective opponents, doing so in a span of ten minutes around 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time. For those paying witness to either contest, the results were soul-crushing.
The Seahawks, of course, never lose. They hadn’t fallen short of victory since a late-season slip-up at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals some eight months and twenty-five days ago, a loss remembered as a mere speed bump along the Super Bowl autobahn. That the Hawks had neglected to triumph just three times during the 2013 campaign certainly didn’t help, either. A fan base perennially exposed to defeat for decades prior had come to anticipate winning based on the dominating successes of a few quality years. Withering under the 90-plus-degree heat of San Diego’s late-summer sun was certainly unacceptable. Until it became a reality. And then it was nothing short of mind-blowing.
Before the shock of a Seahawks loss could truly set in, let alone wear off, the Mariners went down swinging, literally, as Michael Saunders struck out in the ninth inning, capping off a 4-0 undressing by the visiting Oakland A’s. The outcome marked consecutive defeats for the M’s, sending true-to-the-blue fanatics into full-blown panic mode. In the throes of the franchise’s first legitimate playoff run in more than a decade, one loss was heartbreaking, but two in a row? And just minutes after the football team lost, too? Sharp objects required hiding.
Amidst the chaos of falling skies and vitriolic pandemonium, fans coped with the king of all hard-luck afternoons in their own unique way.
For one observer, omniscient if not for a vested interest in the fortunes of both ball clubs, the moment was less tragic than intriguing. Losses are losses and nothing more. They come and go and, when individually isolated, seem much more severe than they ultimately turn out to be. In the grand scheme of things, neither of Sunday’s defeats should emerge as the great undoing for either of the two squads.
In the Mariners’ case, an astute onlooker could point to any of the 70 or 80 setbacks the team will accrue in 2014 and proclaim that solitary shortcoming as “the one we really needed.” That fans and pundits alike stubbornly squabble over every thwarted attempt at triumph as if it were the cataclysmic battle in a global fight for the fate of the world is foolish, if not just emotionally taxing. Spitting straight fire 75 times a year (in a good year, no less) on the heels of every loss could shave a few years off a sane man’s life, so why do it? These are the questions we may never be able to answer.
Where the Seahawks are concerned, an early-season kick in the ass won’t hurt a team as talented as this one. A narrow defeat on the road against a quality foe is nothing to be ashamed about, and for a group of accomplished players constantly in search of motivation, falling to the Chargers should provide a new chip on the shoulder to refer back to in interviews and locker room speeches.
The Mariners remain one game – yes, one single game – out in the American League Wildcard standings, while the Seahawks return home to Seattle next Sunday to continue their Super Bowl title defense. The respective situations for either club could be much, much worse than they are right now. The future, in turn, continues to hold more promise than doubt.
In the wake of emotional turbulence, one irreverent, yet transcendent, revelation bridging the gap between both defeats occurred to that semi-omniscient observer of fan reaction. A quick scan of various social media sites revealed a stark truth about our sports-crazed society, a truth that would prove to be the biggest disappointment of the day: we don’t know the difference between “lose” and “loose.”
For those challenged by the prospect of one “O” versus two, who may be plagued by a persnickety spell checker on a smartphone defying its very title or cerebral neurons not capable of firing the correct juxtaposition of necessary letters, the alleged problems facing the Seahawks and the Mariners peril in contrast to those facing an inability to conquer third-grade vocabulary. Maybe that’s good news, maybe it’s bad, maybe it’s a bit of both. Let’s call it a when-loose situation.