I was doing some research on something totally not sports related the other day, and I figured out something kind of illuminating. Being a Seahawks fan is an awful lot like having an abusive boyfriend.
I am not making light of a serious problem; physical, verbal and emotional abuse are serious issues, and there is no humor in them. I am not condoning abuse of any kind, and I don't want anyone to think I don't have sympathy for battered women and men (yes, men are battered too), because I really do.
Still, this is not an unfair or far-fetched analogy.
One of the signs of an abusive relationship is that the abuser tends to isolate the victim from others. Family and friends are made to feel unwelcome and unwanted, and even casual social acquaintances are removed from the victim's life.
As a fan of the Seahawks for many years, I can tell you this is true. Especially on Sundays. My family and friends know better than to come around when the Seahawks are on.
Also, when your brother is Jay Dee, well, let's just say that family gatherings are awkward, at best, when the subject of football comes up. Insults, name-calling, arguing... I'm not nice to him at all! So, I avoid him at all possible costs. Yep, isolation certainly fits the bill.
Blame and excuse-making. The abuser is never the guilty party. Maybe it was bad officiating or lousy weather that caused the loss. Possibly injuries are the reason for poor play. There's always a reason, and it's never really the team's fault. Sounds like an abusive boyfriend. It also leads into the next symptom...
Broken promises, begging and pleading. We'll do better! We won't do anything like that next week! Oh, 12th Man (or woman, for that matter), we promise not to hurt you so much ever again. We swear. Just give us another chance. Don't leave us! Things will get better. We just need to catch a break!
Yeah, you know this one's dead on.
Humiliation. The abuser uses humiliation to control the victim. After the Halloween debacle that was the Seahawks-Raiders game, I don't think I need to explain this one any further. Humiliation, indeed.
An abuser often manifests different personalities. Yeah, compare the Seahawks who beat the 49ers to the Seahawks who escorted the Raiders to the end zone time and time again, and you'll agree with this one.
Often, in an abusive relationship, the victim feels like it's all their own fault. As if they could have done something to avoid the abuse. A fan often feels the same way, and for a team that plays on its heart and on its fandom the way Seattle does, it's even worse.
Would we have won if I had worn my 2005 NFC Championship sweatshirt that day? We always win when I don't watch, why did I watch that game? It's all my fault! If I were a better fan, I could help them win. You get it, and you know it's true.
What else is there? Oh, yeah, the Seahawks take all my money. I need t-shirts and sweatshirts and caps and pennants and buttons and ear rings and socks... and now I don't have any money to start with a new team! You see how they are, right? Controlling the purse strings is a huge indicator you've got an abusive partner.
Folks, I am clearly in an abusive relationship with the Seattle Seahawks. The thing is, I've got so many years invested in this relationship, I just want to try and make it work.
Besides, when things are good, they're so good. We might even go to the Super Bowl again some day. I know the 'Hawks want to do better, and when they promise they will it's so sincere and sweet, it's just that things are so hard for them, nobody really understands them like I do....