I had an epiphany today, one that made me realize how loyal I am as a sports fan.
Everyone within earshot of the city of Seattle is aware by now that there is much that has been lately written, talked about, and rumored over regarding a new stadium here in our fair city, a stadium that may very well be built at no cost to the city or its taxpayers. Some rich fellow named Chris Hanson (Hansen? Full disclosure as normal, I only remember his name because it’s the same as the TCAP guy on MSNBC) would like to bring the NBA and NHL back to Seattle. As most people who follow my Twitter account know by now, I have no love for basketball. I tried back in the early 90s, when the Portland Trailblazers were working their way up to the playoffs, because this guy I had a crush on was really into it. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t force myself onto sports, and the experiment failed miserably. But I know a lot of people in this town miss their Sonics – also full disclosure, I was mad for all of you when they took the Soncis away. I know how I would feel if the Mariners were moved, and it would not be pretty, so even though I don’t like the game of basketball, I am pulling for the NBA to come back here, because I know it would not only provide jobs for a lot of people, but would also make a lot of Seattle sports fans very VERY happy.
But this is really more about the NHL aspect of this situation. I am not really that into hockey, but I will watch it if it’s the Red Wings, a team that I sort of fell into because a large group of my friends are hardcore fans, and of course we don’t have a home team. I do make the occasional jaunt to Kent to see the WHL Seattle Thunderbirds, and I genuinely enjoy myself there, but I don’t know that I’d get season tickets for an NHL team. It’s just not my game. At first, I was really excited about the possibility of Seattle finally having an NHL team. A lot of my friends have been waiting for this for a long time. I remember talking to my friend Kendra about it when we went to a T-Birds game in the Key about 4 or 5 years ago, that there were utterances about major league hockey coming here; and I’m sure that a lot of people I know have been discussing it amongst themselves and with others for longer than that.
But this morning I came to the abrupt realization that a Seattle NHL team is not going to change my loyalty to the Red Wings. I will happily support Seattle hockey, and it will be fun to see teams I have only ever seen on TV playing whatever the new team will be called. But I can’t simply switch, even with the home team factor, a lure that is strong. I had thought at first that I would just run out and buy a jersey, and start learning more about the game, because soon I will have something to do with my baseball offseason, and that will be wonderful. But I just can’t switch it over that easily, even given the fact that I am possibly one of the most casual of casual hockey fans ever. Over the past few years of building my sports ‘identity’, I have become a person who supports the Red Wings and Green Bay football. That’s just who I am, who I’ve become, and I can’t see it changing any time soon.
So I will be buying a less-expensive shirt instead of a jersey for the new Seattle team, so that when I go to games I can support the home team. The new Seattle team will be the Baltimore Orioles to my Mariners, as it were, and if the Red Wings aren’t playing, I will be yelling at the opposition like a true local girl. But when Detroit comes, I will put my number 23 jersey on, go with my Red Wings friends, and get happily jeered at by Seattle hockey fans for being – for once in my life – on the opposing side. And maybe mentally, I’ll toss an octopus. Just a small one in my brain, for luck.