Here I am in New York City. In the place, I grew up, the place that I call home. On Sunday, the Seahawks will play the Broncos in Super Bowl
XLVIII. For most New Yorkers, it’s a time of excitement as it’s the first time  that this fine city (and it’s usually overlooked neighbor, New Jersey) has hosted the event. But for me, I’m beyond words, I’m beyond excited. I don’t  have the tickets for the game (do I really have that kind of money?), but I will be at home, with the Empire State Building in view from the living room of  my apartment, surrounded by friends, watching the game. Each one of those friends knows that I’ve been a Seahawks fan since 1976, since I was 11.
Before that, I followed in the family tradition of being a Giants fan. Dad was and still is a Giants fan, his friends were Giants fan and we would
watch the Giants every Sunday.
But I was 11, I didn’t want to lose my loyalty
to the Giants, but I just wanted to be able to root for a team from the beginning. The ’76 expansion gave me the choice, Seattle or Tampa Bay. So the choice was  a team from what I considered to be the geriatric capital of the world, Florida (both sets of grandparents had retired there) whose colors were dark orange and light orange and had a jaundiced Errol Flynn on their helmet; or a team from a city that, for some reason, I was fascinated with, who had my favorite colors, 
blue and green, and an ingenious logo representing the heritage of the Pacific
Northwest. It was a no-brainer. Seattle it
is.

A strange thing happened though. My father became that bad fan. You know, the one who will spite your team just to make his team look better,
the one who would triumph the grand deeds of his squad, and then ask, “And what did your ‘Schmohawks’ do?”
By the end of that season, we finished 2-12 (thank God I didn’t pick the Bucs who didn’t see their first win until the following season), I realized a few things:
1)      I don’t enjoy watching football with my Dad anymore.
2)     I didn’t like the Giants anymore.
3)      I was a Seahawks fan.

But being in New York makes it difficult to follow a team that is literally across the country. Especially before cable TV. So I would watch
football games more so to see the scroll at the bottom of the screen to see what how MY
Seahawks were doing.
It got even more difficult from 1984-1986 when I was deployed to England while in the Air Force. For me, buying the Stars and Stripes newspaper on Monday morning would provide me with how the Seahawks were doing. But through those years, I remained a fan, through good times and 
bad.

The only time that that faith wavered was in 1996, the year that all Seahawks fans look back on and shudder. If Behring was successful
in moving the team to Los Angeles, I would have lost my faith in the Seahawks and in football as a whole. During the years of being a Seahawks fan, I had grown to know more about and love the city that I had never been to. The weather seems similar to England’s (I love the English weather), the ever present Mt. Everest in the background keeping guard over the city and the Space Needle. They all fascinated me. For this city for which I grew a strong affinity, for them to lose the team that I came to call my own was too much. (I’m not a big basketball fan, but I can never ever root for that team in Oklahoma
City.)

As a New Yorker, being a Seahawks fan has been a source of identity for me. I never denied my love for this team. I wore my ‘Hawks baseball caps when it was appropriate (Sundays and a lot throughout the football season). I had (and still have) my set of T-shirts. And although it is now a little tight, I have my prized #3 jersey. I found it in Princeton, NJ in a sporting good shop. It was a Rick Mirer jersey without his name on it, and it
was on sale, because clearly it was shipped to the wrong corner of the country.
But it was mine now. Still is, and it is still worn. 

All of us are made up of parts of the things we identify with. Whether it’s your job, your team
preference, the colors you like, the places you like to live, the places you like to visit, your religion, your sexual orientation…they all make each one of us individuals.

In 2004, I finally and fully came out of the closet. I knew it all along, but finally was able to admit it to my family, my friends, and although I may have lost some friends and relationships in family, it was a necessary step. It was a time of both sadness and happiness, but throughout it all, I was still an IT professional, I still loved blue and green,  I still loved New York, I still liked to travel to Europe, and I still was a Seahawks fan.
In early 2006, we had our first taste of the Super Bowl. My niece and her husband who had one of those new-fangled flat screen TVs allowed me to host a party at their place with some close friends. We watched the game. I was bummed that we lost, but I was surrounded by friends and family who I cared about and they cared about me. Part of it was because I was a Seahawks fan.

Life in the past eight years has gotten better, There were lows: I lost a job and was out of work for 18 months. I moved away from my two kids and their great mom back to New York (I lived in New Jersey near Philadelphia for 22 years after my return from the Air Force.) There were highs:
I got a good job, and have a great man in my life. And… I visited Seattle in 2006 for the first
and, so far, only time. I had to do the touristy things.
The Pike Place market, the Space Needle, Pioneer Square, but time was too short
and, therefore does warrant another trip…soon!
So here we are in 2014! Our Seahawks have rocked this season, tied for the best record in football. The playoff games weren’t pretty, but they were ours. Seeing CenturyLink Field filled with so many amazing loud 12th Men was awesome to me… something I didn’t get to see before and now was able to see with such 
intensity.

My Seahawks are here in my hometown, in my
Super Bowl. I watch every night to see how the Empire State Building will light up based on the social media campaign that's taking place . The blue and green, my favourite colors for my favorite team.

I wish this amazing team the best of luck on Sunday. If we win, I will cry with happiness. I know it. When something that you identify with strongly achieves a great achievement, emotion is allowed.
If we lose, that’s life, but I won’t think about that here.

Either way, being here, being loved, being proud. It’s part of what the Seahawks in some way have
brought to me. And so for that, I welcome all
of the Seattle Seahawks and their fans warmly to my home town. A prayer for the best to happen on Sunday.  But most of all, for being a positive part of my identity, THANK YOU! GO HAWKS!
 


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