~posted by Anne C.
The Superbowl did not go Seattle’s way, but as we shake off our mourning I think there is a great deal we can, and should, take pride in—not just as a sports team, but as a city.
I was working at the Seattle Public Central Library in the auditorium on Superbowl night, camouflaged among the fans in a team t-shirt borrowed from a colleague. I’d never properly watched a football game before, so I thought I could make myself useful by taking tickets and pointing towards the restrooms without being distracted by the game. I was proven wrong from the get-go, not by the players but by the patrons in the auditorium.
One of my favorite was a little boy, who might have been five or six. He was wearing a white Seahawks t-shirt that he had made himself, using blue and green markers. The Seahawk face across his belly, slightly off center and surrounded by hand-drawn text, was hands-down the most regal representation of the team’s logo that I have ever seen. He beamed when I told him so, thrilled to be watching his team on the giant auditorium screen.
Another was a man seated up at the top of the auditorium, who called out chants to the enthusiastic participation of the room each time the Hawks needed encouragement. During half time, he asked our AV Technician to mute the audio for a moment so he could publicly thank the library for hosting this event and encourage everyone present to fill out appreciative comment cards. The auditorium immediately erupted with a resounding cheer, and many forms actually came back in.
As for the rest of the crowd, they arrived in in blue, and green, and normal garb; they carried signs and flags, elegant purses and tattered backpacks; they consoled one another when things went south and high fived everyone nearby when they went well. Men and women, toddler to senior, from all over the globe, commenting in multiple languages, they represented the breadth of our vibrant city and for this evening they were united—even if it was, in the end, by the question, “why didn’t they make a running play!”
So from where I stood on the sidelines, in my borrowed shirt with my cell phone camera held high, this Superbowl was a wild success. Members of the community, in all parts of the city, came together. We talked with one another. We made friends with people who we might never have reached out to in our normal lives because they, too, wore a team shirt. They, like us, wanted to see the city shine. Football formed a common language for those who understood the game, and even those like me who were somewhat lost understood that we were rooting for an idea that was inclusive. Our team. Our city. Our dream.
There is plenty about football to debate, even before you get to the fine details of any particular pivotal play. But for this unity alone, I could call myself a fan. I am proud that the library was a part of it.