Whether you side with Democrats, Republicans, both, or neither, it’s tough to deny the fact that politics played a significant role in the departure of our Seattle Supersonics. In 1967, politics helped bring the Sonics to Seattle in the first place. Back in 2006, politics forced a yellow-bellied Howard Schultz to sell the team in a girlish panic. Politics then helped Clay Bennett negotiate a deal out of town, and ultimately gave him the green light to hitch our team to his moving vans destined for Oklahoma City. After watching every single one of our major pro sports teams try to flee this city over the past two decades, most Seattle sports fans, like you and I, should be pretty sick of the local political situation.
I began to realize how effed up the political scene is around here a few years back when I did a project for a public speaking course at UW. We needed to present a debatable issue, take one side of the issue, and speak knowledgeably about it. I chose to do my project on the whole Key Arena/Sonics debacle. Naturally, being a sports fan, I took the pro-arena funding stance. Big mistake. As many people may already know, 99% of the TA’s at UW are bitter human beings who consider themselves “enlightened liberals,” which is a nice way of saying they’re hippies with blinders on (pictured at right). I, myself, am about as moderate as they come, so it’s tough for me to agree with anyone who falls too far on either side of the left-right spectrum.
My TA for this particular class hung about as far left as any one person can. A closet lezbo who maintained an uncomfortable level of hatred for every male student in the class, she wasn’t afraid to express her semi-misguided views on politics and threaten students who didn’t see eye-to-eye with her. When I presented my pro-arena idea, complete with a fairly good amount of research and information behind it, she rejected me Dikembe Mutombo style, finger wagging and everything. Suffice it to say I labored through the class and came away with a severe dislike of the crazy people my TA associated herself with.
*Side Note: Husky football player Chancellor Young was also in that class and was one of the few people my insane TA hated more than me. He presented the case for NCAA athletes to be compensated for their work, and she nearly kicked him the nutsack the first time he gave a speech on the issue. In fairness to Chancellor, who has a reputation of not being the greatest student, he showed up to every class and worked his ass off to get a good grade. Unfortunately, that class may have been the turning point for him and his ultimate downfall when it came to academics. Everyone who had that crazy beyotch for a TA walked away hating life.
Okay, so that may be an isolated incident, but it’s a good example of the type of people who a) hate sports and b) keep electing the same people into office each year. In the grand scheme of things, it basically boils down to this simple formula: the Seattle-Metro area is home to a very liberal political climate, liberals hate big business, pro sports is big business. By rule then, we can justify that a large number of individuals around here hate pro sports, for the sheer fact that it represents an ideal that favors the opposite end of the political spectrum. Recent evidence of stadium funding rejections, government ineptitude when it comes to sports-related issues, and ultimately the Sonics leaving town would help support this claim. It’s unfortunate because at the same time pro sports require civic support (i.e. tax money) to exist, they also help fuel the cities they inhabit. They generate money for the region, attract outsiders to the area, and make communities better in the process. Of course, people blinded by the light of their political beliefs would rather choose to ignore the finer points of sports and solely focus on the evil big business side of things, which is rather unfortunate. Keep in mind, a lot of these government officials are the same kids who were consistenly picked last when teams were divided up in elementary school.
I’ll admit I’m not nearly as informed as I could be when it comes to politics. I vote, I know the basics, but I’m no expert. That said, it doesn’t take a political insider to see what’s going on in and around Seattle when it comes to government. The entire Seattle City Council is undeserving of their jobs. They don’t do anything. When questioned why they don’t do anything, they get mad. When asked why the Council was unwilling to help bail out the Sonics, Councilman Nick Licata angrily stated that pro sports provided zero cultural value. Nice.
You would think the ignorant, arrogant approach would hurt guys like Licata (that goofy looking Poindexter pictured at left) when it came to reelection time. No matter, as long as they keep that (D) next to their names, our government officials can do no wrong in the minds of most locals. On a larger stage, just look at Governor Chris (don’t call me Christine, lest anyone confuse me for a woman) Gregoire. Over the course of her four years (now going on five) in office, all she’s really done is spend more money than any governor before her. The State of Washington governing bodies can’t get anything done, save for repairing a few side roads here and there and inconveniencing traffic to a severe degree in the process. When it came to the Sonics, Gregoire and her coworkers weren’t even willing to listen, refusing to call a special legislative session to address the impending move of the team. What were they doing instead of working? My guess would be state funded vacations, seeing as how all our tax dollars have mysteriously been spent on absolutely nothing.
*Side Note: At the same time they’ve been blowing our money on garbage projects in and around meaningless rural outposts uninhabited by human life, our state government has also taken the time to cut education funding, and the salaries and pensions for state employees. Where the f-bomb is our money?
Maybe we’re just idiots. Maybe we don’t deserve elected officials that have our best interests at heart because we’re idiots. Maybe we’re just expecting too much from our fellow idiots who we bestow power upon. No matter the circumstance, the city of Seattle and state of Washington have turned into the definition of purgatory for those of us who enjoy sports. We want progress that will never come. We want change that will never occur. We hope for championships, we long for Sportstopia, but in the end we’re faced with the sad reality of our situation: this is Seattle, where dreams won’t come true, fools reign supreme, and the impoverished sports fan base is left on the outside looking in.