Growing up, I was a baseball kid.
Raised in Los Angeles, it was very common for the Hunter household to leave the TV off and have the radio blaring away, as Vin Scully and Jerry Doggett brought the excitement of a Dodger game to our home. My boyhood heroes included the likes of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. I could rattle off Dodger names like they were family: Claude Osteen, Ron Perranoski, Duke Snider, Maury Wills, Tommy and Willie Davis. Back in those days, organized sports for kids consisted of Little League baseball and that was about it. Pop Warner football started gaining in popularity, but it was said my uncle Chuck had wrecked his knee playing high school football, so apparently an edict was issued that Hunter kids shouldn’t even think about it.
Oh, I knew it existed. Yes, I’ve lived long enough that I remember when Los Angeles had a professional football team and I’m NOT talking about the Raiders. In the early 1960s, years before the Superbowl existed, the Los Angeles Rams were THE team if you were into professional football. I remember cutting out football trading cards from the back of a cereal box. But I only gathered a few, in comparison to my massive baseball card collection. I was aware of the Rams’ front line, “the Fearsome Foursome.” I’m doing this without Google—Lamar Lundee, Deacon Jones, Merlin Olson and some other guy. Not bad.
However, baseball remained my #1 sport, followed by basketball. Again, I grew up in a pretty cool era for professional basketball. Players like Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and eventually, Wilt Chamberlin, made up the team I would cheer for during those non-baseball months. Once I made it to high school, I was able to play basketball and that solidified its #2 position in my sports preferences. However, once I moved to the northwest, my home teams changed and so did I.
In professional basketball, I made the shift from Lakers to the Seattle Supersonics and just in time to witness their 1979 championship season. Then the NBA and Mr. Starbucks created the perfect storm for the team to be uprooted and taken to Oklahoma City and my overall feelings about professional basketball took a serious hit. I still believe there’s a “Babe Ruth like” curse on the Oklahoma Thunder and that it’ll be at least 80 years before they win a championship. Mark my words.
Now, back to my University of Washington days. Part of being a student was buying season tickets in the student section at Husky Stadium and to further fuel my addiction, Coach Don James took over the team shortly after my arrival and delivered year after year of bowl-bound teams. Coming from a high school whose football teams were more in the 2-8 category, the idea of a winning team and all the fun that went with a Football Saturday fueled a strong interest in the game.
So now, I’m wandering down the path of being a football fan. Baseball still matters the most to me, followed by professional basketball, but my Husky days are schooling me in college football and basketball and I’m loving it. At this same time, Seattle gets its own professional football team and former Los Angeles Rams coach Chuck Knox has been brought in. Hmmm….I’ll have to give that a look.
In a short time, I took interest in what the team did every Sunday. It wasn’t must-see stuff, but I followed the Seattle Seahawks, listened to the fans complain about the team after each game, etc. It was like having an uncle you never really close to move to town. You’d occasionally check in on them, but that was about it.
I also noticed a pattern developing. Being in Seattle, baseball season was much shorter than in other cities. Spring would roll around, hope blossomed and by July, it was over. All that was left was to see who was still with the team after the trading deadline. I was all over it again during our big 1995 run–even went to a couple of playoff games–but as you know, that fizzled and with only one other playoff appearance since then, I feel like an honorary Cubs fan.
But for what Seattle’s baseball team wasn’t doing, Seattle’s professional football team was. I’m going to credit Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who owns the team, for insisting on a good team. People at Microsoft tend to know how to get their way. Now, after a few years of mistakes and less than stellar draft picks, they have assembled an amazing team that has every Seahawks fan in town drooling for the season to begin.
Yes, I watched the home run derby last night. I’ll take in the All-Star game tonight and savor the great American pastime. But I tell you, this is the most I’ve ever been excited about Seahawks season and this video just inspired me to write this blog.
More than ever, I am now a full-blown Seattle Seahawks fan. Go Mariners, Go Red Sox (my back up team for when the Mariners are done) and Huskies, I’ve got my fingers crossed for you…but the Hawks now own me. I am a Seahawks fan.