The man who jubilantly bounded along First Avenue without pants on probably summed it up best. With arms raised skyward, he hopped up and down, shuffling parallel to the southern flow of traffic as a cry of unbridled excitement sounded from his gullet. A cameraman with lens trained upon Q13 Fox News field reporter John Hopperstad, the unwitting accomplice in all this, remained frozen to a spot for fractions of a moment as the pants-less man, twig and berries in full view, coincided with the focal point of the shot. In an instant, technology recorded the half-naked hoopla in all its ballsy glory. And as millions of people the world around became privy to the triumph of the man’s favorite football team, the video of the happy, bottomless Seahawks fan gained rapid exposure.
Sure, anyone could make jokes about the guy – he wasn’t wearing anything from the waist down, after all. But adorned from the belly up in the wolf grey replica jersey of the team’s quarterback, the message was clear: Seattle was in full celebration mode. What better way to celebrate than by removing one’s clothes?
This is what we’ve waited for since birth. For many of us, the entirety of our respective existences has been spent anticipating a championship. As a collective whole, we’ve been trophy-starved in the Emerald City since 1979, when our dear departed (soon-to-return) SuperSonics took home Seattle’s first and only major professional sports title. Those who actually remember that star-crossed basketball season are now 40 years of age or older. Those who haven’t quite ripened to that level of maturity have never experienced the thrill of winning it all. Together, we’ve yearned for an event that was beyond slow to arrive.
We’ve been dubbed the Worst Sports City in America on multiple occasions, most recently within the past year. We’ve ho-hummed our way through countless losing campaigns, shrugged our shoulders repeatedly through playoff time, and rallied more passionately for a franchise that was stolen from us than for some that still exist. We’ve been characterized by misery and become synonymous with defeat. The trademark rain that falls upon our shoulders as we sullenly languish under murky skies has served as a metaphor for scribes who detail our athletic failures. To date, it seems, the only thing we’ve been good at is losing.
We’ve been discordant and irritable and more likely to pick fights with one another than to gather together in serendipitous solidarity. We’ve spent more time divided than united, embarrassed than emboldened, incensed than inspired. We’ve been angry and bitter, morose and beat down, hurt and disappointed. We’ve been the laughingstock, the butt of the joke, the doormat upon which outsiders wiped their feet. No one’s had it worse, they’ve argued. And we’ve agreed. A lifetime of shortcomings has brought us to a certain Zen state of understanding when it comes to our place in this world.
We have never been the winners. Until now. Until February 2nd, 2014, Super Bowl Sunday. We were champions once, thirty-five years in our distant past, and after a multi-generational drought, we are champions again. We are that team. With those players. With that trophy. We are those fans, the ones who get to hold a parade, who get to witness the unveiling of a meaningful stadium banner, who will get peppered with TV ads for commemorative t-shirts and hats and DVDs and knick-knacks and whooziewhats. Us. It’s us. We are the winners.
There are plays that will define our conquest. There are names that will forever be burned upon the tips of our tongues, historic in their significance to our victory. There are coaches and players and sounds and images and so many memories to be sorted like phone numbers in the Rolodexes of our minds. We will quantify the importance of each isolated second of our journey to relevance and qualify the legacies of those who lived that odyssey with us, who gave us reason to rejoice. All of that will be done in time. But for now, we reside in uncharted territory. For right now, we live in a haze of elation that we don’t quite know how to navigate.
This isn’t just about a football team. It’s not about the trophy that will be inscribed with the name of our city or the accolades that will come with being designated as victors. This is about a group of people who have thirsted for this moment forever and ever and ever. It’s about an entire region that has come together to be a part of the magic that surrounds winning. It’s about the smiles and the fist pumps you’ll get from strangers you pass at the grocery store, the reminiscent conversations you’ll have with people you otherwise never would have talked to, the laughter you’ll share with friends and loved ones when you think back to that time we did it, we really did it, we won our long-awaited championship.
This is what it feels like. Forgive us for removing our pants, but we needed this so bad and now we’re enjoying it with all our junk hanging out because, frankly, we just don’t know what else to do. We aren’t used to celebrating, so we’ll celebrate the only way we know how, which means some of us might be naked and some of us might be clothed. But I promise you, we will enjoy this like nothing else, absolutely nothing else, because this is that very moment we’ve been waiting for.
The Seahawks are Super Bowl champions. For the City of Seattle, best city on earth, and the entire Pacific Northwest, beautiful place we call home, this is our time. Enjoy it. Enjoy every minute of it.