By Jay D. Prince
As Kevin Klipstein encourages us all to play squash to help overcome the craziness that is our current economy, I’d be first in line to fully support that plan. But I’d take it a step further and feed your passion for sports in general.
Maybe I’m strange, but I would be a founding member of Sports-Aholics Anonymous. Okay, maybe I wouldn’t worry about the Anonymous part. I’m a sports junkie. Just ask my wife. It drives her nuts sometimes.
Yes, I’ll admit to taking in as much football, baseball, hockey, soccer, basketball— just about anything. Polo? Not so much. While I certainly enjoy the thrills and spills of sports during good times, I ﬁnd them to be even more uplifting when things aren’t so good. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a whole lot of upliftedness in major Seattle sports of late, but more on that later.
Sports can be a potent elixir. Maybe the movie Invincible (about bartender Vince Papale who showed up for an “open” tryout for the Philadelphia Eagles…and made the team in 1976) was predictable and a bit sappy, but his story helped lift the spirits of a city that was beaten down by factory strikes and general job difficulties.
In November 1979, the United States Embassy in Iran was stormed and nearly 70 hostages were taken—for 444 days. But I distinctly remember going to Seattle Seahawks football games, and immediately following a moment of silence to start the game, 65,000-strong sang the National Anthem. The next time I saw anything like that was in the weeks and months immediately following the attacks on 9/11.
So here we are again, struggling to get through an economic near-meltdown, and sports are still there as an outlet. For me, going to Seahawks games (or watching them on TV while they’re on the road) is a perfect cap to my week. And my opinion about how uplifting going to those games can be is magniﬁed when the team I love to watch is, well, terrible.
We’ve had our fair share of sports ugliness in this city over the past year. Our baseball Mariners were terrible a year ago and were expected to be very good this year. Yeah, right. The Mariners became the first Major League Baseball team in history to ﬁeld a $100 Million roster and lose over 100 games. Ugh.
The basketball Sonics were inept on the ﬂoor last season, and now they aren’t even here. After being purchased by an Oklahoma City “team stealer,” the Sonics packed up and moved to OK City so we’re left with no NBA franchise—and the Sonics are the only Seattle team to ever win their sports’ Championship.
Our Seahawks have been decimated by injuries and are off to one of their worst starts since they hit the turf running in 1976. So you can imagine those games haven’t sent their fans home with too many smiles on their faces.
The University of Washington football team ought to consider dropping out of Division 1 football if they keep playing the way they are now—0-6 and staring at a “defeated” season squarely in the face.
But I still enjoy going to and watching these teams play (except for the Sonics who I will no longer pay attention to; they don’t even have the same name now). I love getting absorbed in the ebbs and flows of the games; watching plays unfold; screaming at the top of my lungs with my 13-year-old by my side so that we can try to add to the NFL-leading false-start penalties against the visiting teams; standing up and raising my arms as one of our receivers breaks open for a TD. It’s like an escape from one reality for a few hours to take in another.
So in addition to playing squash regularly, keep up with your interests in other sports. Get yourself lost in other hobbies or interests. Feed your souls while you also try to protect your pocket books. It can make turbulent weeks and months more manageable.