Showing posts tagged with “obsessions”

I wasn’t born into a football family. My father apparently loved it, so I might’ve been introduced to the sport sooner if he hadn’t passed away.
As it was, my mother and I were first and foremost a baseball family. I knew the Kingdome as the home of the Seattle Mariners, the place where Ken Griffey Jr. would knock off homeruns to the tune of exploding fireworks.
We would regularly catch games for as long as I could remember, and eventually had the lucky timing of being season-ticket holders during one of the most exciting times to be a Mariners fan. I recited stats like I was constantly being quizzed. I knew how each player did against righties and lefties, who their best and worst match-ups were, if they were better in certain uniforms, certain stadiums, or times of day. I even skipped going to my senior prom in favor of watching Freddy Garcia beat the Yankees, and have zero regrets about that decision to this day.
Football was another world. It was big, burly men getting drunk and screaming at the television while watching other big, burly men hit each other. A few people who were into the sport passed through my circles, but no one I was close with, and no one who ever seemed interested in explaining the finer points of the game to me. I was a geeky, shy girl who hung out with a lot of geeky, shy kids. In high school, the only reason I went to football games was to look at butts.

I got to college, and more people I knew were into it. At some point, they began commenting to me on how well the Seahawks were doing. So, yes, I first started paying attention to the Seahawks during what would eventually become their first Super Bowl run. I watched the game, I saw the questionable calls (which, admittedly, I only understood were questionable thanks to a friend I was watching with), I came away wanting to know more about football, anyway.

I remained a casual fan for years. I was afraid of being labelled a band-wagoner (I have plenty of feelings about this, too), still didn’t know a ton of football fans, and still didn’t fully understand the game and how it was played. I watched from afar, picking up pieces of football knowledge here and there, catching Hawks games when I could (which is plenty hard on the East Coast). Occasionally, a friend and I would get together for a game.

But the team just didn’t feel like mine. Coming around to the Seahawks when I did, it felt like I was peering in on something as an outsider, watching a film that was halfway over. I didn’t know all the stories and struggles, and with limited access to games, and limited knowledge of the sport, it felt like I would never catch up.  As an obsessive, that just didn’t sit right with me.

Everything changed for me when Pete Carroll came to town.

Even as someone who didn’t know much about football, Pete Carroll was fascinating to me. His rah-rah enthusiasm and positive attitude, his past failures as an NFL coach contrasted with his unparalleled success at USC, his rivalry with Jim Harbaugh… The Seahawks’ slate was wiped clean, and from that point on, I started following football more closely than ever. I learned more about Carroll, about players he and new GM John Schneider brought on, guys like Marshawn Lynch, and Richard Sherman.
Most people who are Seahawks fans right now will tell you that when Marshawn Lynch had his “Beast Quake” run against the Saints in the first round of the playoffs that year, that was the first time the tone for this team was set. Most of us probably remember where we were when that happened. They were the losingest football team in history to make the playoffs that year. Then they got their hands on Russell Wilson. This year, many pundits predicted them to make the Super Bowl before the season even began. And here they are.

I wasn’t born into a football family. My father apparently loved it, so I might’ve been introduced to the sport sooner if he hadn’t passed away.

As it was, my mother and I were first and foremost a baseball family. I knew the Kingdome as the home of the Seattle Mariners, the place where Ken Griffey Jr. would knock off homeruns to the tune of exploding fireworks.

We would regularly catch games for as long as I could remember, and eventually had the lucky timing of being season-ticket holders during one of the most exciting times to be a Mariners fan. I recited stats like I was constantly being quizzed. I knew how each player did against righties and lefties, who their best and worst match-ups were, if they were better in certain uniforms, certain stadiums, or times of day. I even skipped going to my senior prom in favor of watching Freddy Garcia beat the Yankees, and have zero regrets about that decision to this day.

Football was another world. It was big, burly men getting drunk and screaming at the television while watching other big, burly men hit each other. A few people who were into the sport passed through my circles, but no one I was close with, and no one who ever seemed interested in explaining the finer points of the game to me. I was a geeky, shy girl who hung out with a lot of geeky, shy kids. In high school, the only reason I went to football games was to look at butts.

I got to college, and more people I knew were into it. At some point, they began commenting to me on how well the Seahawks were doing. So, yes, I first started paying attention to the Seahawks during what would eventually become their first Super Bowl run. I watched the game, I saw the questionable calls (which, admittedly, I only understood were questionable thanks to a friend I was watching with), I came away wanting to know more about football, anyway.

I remained a casual fan for years. I was afraid of being labelled a band-wagoner (I have plenty of feelings about this, too), still didn’t know a ton of football fans, and still didn’t fully understand the game and how it was played. I watched from afar, picking up pieces of football knowledge here and there, catching Hawks games when I could (which is plenty hard on the East Coast). Occasionally, a friend and I would get together for a game.

But the team just didn’t feel like mine. Coming around to the Seahawks when I did, it felt like I was peering in on something as an outsider, watching a film that was halfway over. I didn’t know all the stories and struggles, and with limited access to games, and limited knowledge of the sport, it felt like I would never catch up.  As an obsessive, that just didn’t sit right with me.

Everything changed for me when Pete Carroll came to town.

Even as someone who didn’t know much about football, Pete Carroll was fascinating to me. His rah-rah enthusiasm and positive attitude, his past failures as an NFL coach contrasted with his unparalleled success at USC, his rivalry with Jim Harbaugh… The Seahawks’ slate was wiped clean, and from that point on, I started following football more closely than ever. I learned more about Carroll, about players he and new GM John Schneider brought on, guys like Marshawn Lynch, and Richard Sherman.

Most people who are Seahawks fans right now will tell you that when Marshawn Lynch had his “Beast Quake” run against the Saints in the first round of the playoffs that year, that was the first time the tone for this team was set. Most of us probably remember where we were when that happened. They were the losingest football team in history to make the playoffs that year. Then they got their hands on Russell Wilson. This year, many pundits predicted them to make the Super Bowl before the season even began. And here they are.

On being lady-like.

On Saturday night, a guy friend said to me, “You’re kind of like a guy.” This has become the running joke about me, and I can’t say I’ve done a single thing to refute it. I’ve rarely minded when my lady friends make this joke, because I have had a tendency since my youth to be more tomboy than the average gal. I think this is the first time time a guy said it to me, and it hit me oddly. The feminist in me wonders what that’s supposed to mean (both the comment, and why it bothers me coming more from a guy than a gal). The self-conscious girl in me who was often told she looked like a boy in her adolescence wonders if whatever it all means is the secret reason behind my urge to grow my hair out again.

I got home rather tipsy that night and tried to write down my thoughts on it in a word document. It was bad. I suppose this is the aftershocks or the ripple effect of that, if you will.

I later had a dream that night that I was sailing the Bering Sea with the Time Bandit crew. At first I thought the dream was a heavy-handed metaphor for the turmoil of my current state of affairs, trying to figure out how to leave New York City, how to not be deadbeat broke, how to get my career back on track, how to meet men, romantically, again, (but not until I figure out where or if I’m going anywhere, first), and above all, how to find my motivation again, because I’m pretty sure it’s out at the corner bar getting a beer, complaining to the bartender about how it works and works and works and never gets any respect.

The dream probably was a heavy-handed metaphor for the turmoil of my current state of affairs, because there are other things it could be. It could be about my therapist, who keeps insisting that my problems stem from my daddy issues/lack of a father figure/dead father, and also keeps insisting, in relation to that, that all I really want is to be taken care of by a man (which is funny considering p1). It could be about the fact that I feel a strange relation to fishermen, the love of isolation and nature, the hunt for something elusive, the bravery in the face of uncertainty, the feeling like there’s just one thing on this earth that you’re born to do. I could be about the fact that I really like Johnathan Hillstrand in particular, for reasons there is no point expanding on because probably very few of you have seen the show. (Though you really, really should, but consult me on which episode to start with, or just watch it with me.) I could be about the aforementioned jokes about being like a guy. It could be all of this or none of it. It could be that I was reading something about Deadliest Catch right before bed.

But skipping before Saturday night, to Friday night, the reason I got all those texts from Erica (aside from her being hilarious and awesome, that is), is because I was running late to meet her after running into an old flame. (An old flame, who, speaking of dreams, I used to have a recurring dream about, taking place in the park that now separates the blocks he and I live on, long before either of us lived here. Anyway!) I bumped into him while walking down the street and he pulled me in to a bar and bought me a drink. And you know what he said to me (while I sipped whiskey and thought to myself that I was glad I had decided to put on my new dress before going out)? He said, “You look like a lady.” In hindsight, it feels like he knew I’d need that, somehow.

"You’ve Got To Believe To Receive."

I’ve been thinking about writing a personal essay about my obsession with “Deadliest Catch.” The past few weeks, having discovered that Seasons Five and Six of the show were finally available on Netflix Instant, I have basically measured my time in terms of how many episodes of “Deadliest Catch” I could watch. “20 minutes to eat breakfast before I go to work? Sweet, that’s half an ep of ‘Deadliest Catch.’” “Two hours before I have to meet so and so? Awesome, that’s two episodes and change.” etc etc. The past few days, I have sat on my couch, snuggled under a blanket, crying my fucking eyes out at Season Six, because holyshit, you guys, this show is the most intense and real thing that could possibly be caught on camera.

I’m going to write it, but ultimately what it all comes down to is that the Bering Sea is the best metaphor for life. There’s this scene, where one of the deckhands for the Norwegian, a guy who had to hurry back home one season for fear of missing a court date and going to jail, a guy who clearly has had a rough past but found a way to really, really work (and make a ton of money doing it), points to the seas and says, “If you don’t believe in God, come out here.” I don’t necessarily think of it as an argument in favor of God (oh hi, I’m agnostic), so much as the fact that all of the deckhands & captains fully know that they are not in control. There is no illusion. They hunt down elusive creatures that lurk in an atmosphere so entirely different from our own, it might as well be another planet. They work as hurricane force winds, freezing temperatures, 40 foot seas manhandle them. Not only this, but they are responsible for their lives and the lives of others in this place where they know they have very little power over anything.

On my birthday this year, my mom and I went to the Brooklyn Flea. I found a necklace with a boat on it, and my mom got it for me as a birthday present. As I wear it, the boat bounces around, and I think of the Bering Sea, and I think of how I often feel like a boat being tossed about, especially lately. The world manhandles us, but we still have to work. We are still capable of creating life or death. We are still capable of finding elusive bounty.