The Seahawks Will Win the Super Bowl IF…

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks

I have been an avid sports fan, and specifically a Seattle sports fan, for over 40 years and I have never seen, heard, felt, or experienced the enthusiastic anticipation of the coming Seattle Seahawk NFL season. It’s as if the team has already won a Super Bowl Championship and we’re all just reveling in the euphoria. But let’s be perfectly clear, the Seahawks haven’t done squat yet. However, I have no desire to pop this still inflating balloon. I too think my team will make it to the ultimate sporting event in frigid, frozen New York City next February, and they will beat whoever the AFC offers up as its sacrificial lamb for slaughter to the clearly superior NFC. But first things first. The football team that calls my city its practice home must first win its own division. Should it do so an NFL Championship is something that I feel is almost a foregone conclusion. However, ending the season with a better record than San Francisco’s 49ers, St Louis’s Rams, and Arizona’s Cardinals is not a foregone conclusion. In fact, I’m not completely sure it will happen.

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

All of the Emerald City is enjoying the numerous jokes made at the expense of the Bay area team, and is clearly in full-hate-mode over the Niner’s Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. The non-NFL Seattle fan is oblivious to how very, very good S.F. is, and what an exceptional coach the former University of Michigan Quarterback actually is. San Fran played in last year’s Super Bowl. They didn’t blow a lead in a playoff game they took with only 30-seconds left in the game. Seattle did. Russell Wilson after brilliant performance in Atlanta The fact is the 49ers came 3-points and a late 4th quarter goal-line stand from Baltimore from the largest Super Bowl comeback win in history. They feel they should have won and they will be hungry to get back to where they came up so close, but lost.

Quick; which of the four teams in Seattle’s NFC West Division had the best record within the division. Would it surprise you to know it wasn’t the division champion 49ers, or the Wildcard playoff entrant, second place Seahawks. Under first year Coach Jeff Fischer the St. Louis Rams finished 4-1-1 against S.F., Seattle and Arizona. Their 7-9 record was a huge leap from the 2-win (2-14) team of 2011. St Louis still has former Heisman Trophy winner (and AdvoCare endorser) Sam Bradford at QB. But for the first time in his short career he has someone to throw to. With their first round draft pick this year Fischer chose the best receiver in the draft in Tavon Austin. Austin has crazy speed (4.2 time in the 40) and electric moves. He’ll also help the Rams return game. Fischer is a very good coach, and with one year under his tutelage the Rams will be better…how much better remains to be seen.

The Arizona Cardinals are probably the 4th place team in this division, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be formidable. Many think the Cardinals new QB, Carson Palmer, is too old and past his prime when he was in Cincinnati.  I’m not so sure. He managed to throw for over 4000-yards last year for a horrible Oakland team. And now he has Larry Fitzgerald to throw the ball to. Arizona also improved its weak offensive line in the draft and added the Honey Badger to its defense.

The key to a Super Bowl trip for Seattle will be winning the division, like they did in 2005, the only other time the Northwest’s team went to the Championship spectacle. Win the division and secure the 1st or 2nd best record in the NFC and Seattle needs only win 2 playoff games to win the NFC Crown. And they would have at least 1 playoff game at CenturyLink Field where they do not lose. They didn’t all last year.

English: Picture of the 12th Man Flag at Centu...

Fail to secure the 1st or 2nd best record in the conference and Seattle needs 3 playoff wins to make it to the Super Bowl, with the likelihood that all will be on the road; not an unprecedented achievement, but certainly a lot tougher. Besides, given their sky-high expectations, if Seattle doesn’t have the 1st or 2nd best record in the conference four months from now I will assume that something has gone wrong, perhaps an injury to Russell Wilson or a defensive line that can still not put enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks; making a 3 game run to the Super Bowl less likely.

Seattle has everything it needs to win now, even with one of the youngest rosters in the league. They will continue to pound the ball with Marshawn Lynch leading the way. And running the ball wins playoff games…and a lot of regular season games too. They finally have a All Pro potential quarterback in the exciting Wilson. Remember, he was in a quarterback competition all through training camp last year and was severely restricted in play calling by Pete Carroll last year. He’ll be even better this year. A defense that allowed the fewest points in the NFL last year allowed the fewest points in the NFL during the just concluded preseason. And defense wins championships.

In looking at the Seahawks schedule I expect an improvement from their 11-5 record last year to either 12-4 or 13-3. Please…let go of the fantasy of an undefeated season as I’ve heard far too many people throw-about as a possibility on Seattle sports radio stations. An undefeated regular season should never be a goal. Just ask the 2007 New England Patriots how helpful it was for them. Only road games in Atlanta, Houston, San Francisco, and possibly St. Louis would I predict at this early stage as losses. Though Seattle could win any or all of them. But games I now predict as wins could be losses too. Games against Carolina in Charlotte, the Colts in Indianapolis, and home games against the Vikings and Saints won’t be easy. Lose those games along with the ones I expect and this dream of a Super Bowl season will come crashing down to a non-playoff mediocre 8-8 season…just like the 1985 Seahawks who were also being talked about as Super Bowl contenders. See…it can happen. I repeat Seattle hasn’t won anything…yet. But they will. I predict. Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

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Seahawks vs 49ers is Gonna Be Great!

Seahawks logo

Though written in March of 2013 this post is still very timely.

The rivalry between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers has gone from simmer, to slow boil, to 3rd degree- “Oh My God THAT’s HOT!” burn in the past week. And isn’t it just exceedingly fun to watch? I’m lovin’ it. And what’s most exciting is that it’s likely to last for many, many years. All the evidence shows that this will push historical rivalries for significance. We’re talking Yankees vs Red Sox, Duke-North Carolina, Ohio State vs Michigan,  Steelers vs the Raiders in the 70s, Redskins vs Cowboys, Celtics- Lakers, Ali-Frazier. Welcome to Seattle! Home of the NFL Universe. Folks, it’s here.

English: Picture of the 12th Man Flag at Centu...

What made the rivalries of yesteryear so darn compelling were two things. First, and perhaps most important, the teams were always good….championship level good. Second, THEY HATED EACH OTHER. Does anyone hate each other more in big-time sports right now than

English: Head Coach Pete Carroll leads his Uni...

Pete Carroll led his University of Southern California Trojans football team

Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll and Niner’s Head coach Jim Harbaugh?

Head coach Jim Harbaugh at the 2010 Stanford f...

Head coach Jim Harbaugh at the 2010 Stanford football open house

Not based on the evidence that we’ve seen. From the time when Carroll was at USC and Harbaugh was at Stanford and Carroll greeted the Cardinal coach with a not-so-politic “What’s your deal?” after Harbaugh had his team go for 2-points late in a blow-out win over the Trojans to last October when Harbaugh complained to the NFL about that Seahawk cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner were too physical with his receivers.

As we all know the Seahawks were 30-seconds away from meeting the 49ers in the NFC Championship game this past season with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line; a trip won by S.F. Then the team from the Bay area came oh-so-close to winning the league championship and establishing themselves as a potential dynasty.

This week the rivalry was brought back to the nation’s attention when Seattle traded for elite Minnesota wide receiver-Kick Returner Percy Harvin only to be equalled in the headlines by San Francisco trading for Pro Bowl receiver Anquan Bolden of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Fortunately for Hawk’s fans Seattle came back again yesterday by signing free agent defensive-end Cliff Avril to help bolster the team’s greatest need; an improved pass rush. Important to note that while the Hawk’s achilles heel in the past season, and projecting to the coming season, was their pass rush, they still managed to lead the league defensively in fewest points allowed.

After the trade of the 1st round and 7th round draft picks in the upcoming NFL Draft for Harvin, Seattle stills owns 8 picks in the April allotment of college talent. But San Francisco has 14 picks, five returning Pro Bowlers and plenty of cash to acquire more free agent help.

Seattle has Russell Wilson; one of the most exciting young quarterbacks to come into the league in years. S.F. has Colin Kaepernick; one of the most exciting young quarterbacks to come into the league in years. Seattle has Marshawn Lynch one of the best running backs in the league. S.F. has Frank Gore; one of the best running backs in the league, and probably a future Hall of Famer. They both have stout defenses. And their two combative coaches both preach a grind it out, smash-mouth style of football. S.F. has won the NFC West each of the past two years. Seattle won it before that. And both teams have among the youngest rosters in the National Football League. So, as excellent as both teams are. They ought to be excellent for years to come.

After this week’s player acquisitions odds-makers have installed Seattle and San Francisco as co-favorites to win this next year’s Super Bowl. And being in the same division they’ll always play each other twice each season. The fact that S.F. is the team that’s geographically closest to the far-away Northwest outpost called Seattle is just the cherry on top of the Sundae.

Woody Hayes

Woody Hayes

Bo Schembechler vs Woody Hayes.

English: Los Angeles Lakers Magic Johnson and ...

Bird vs Magic.

Richard Petty 1984 Photo By Ted Van Pelt

Richard Petty 1984

Richard Petty vs Cale Yarborough. Alydar vs Affirmed.  We’re talking about this kind of historical rivalry, and it’s staring us in the face.

NY - Long Island - Belmont Park - Affirmed

NY – Long Island – Belmont Park – Affirmed

It’s absolutely delicious for any sports fan. But for the long-suffering fans of Seattle it’s a banquet for a starving man. Thank you Paul Allen for the hasty decision to fire Jim Mora. Thank you Pete Carroll and GM John Schneider for the wisdom and the guts to go after Wilson. And thank you to Seattle tax payers for funding CenturyLink field‘s construction.

I can’t wait, though it’s still 6-months away. I just renewed my Seahawk season tickets for next season. My company Total Broadcasting Service will be giving some of them away, again. I’m predicting a pretty fantastic ride.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Seahawks Blew It! And We Ought to be Mad.

Russell Wilson after brilliant performance in Atlanta

The big bold headlines to the Seattle Times this morning says “End of a Super Season” with a subtitle of “Heartache after fearless comeback; finale to thrilling year”. To me it sounds all to familiar. “That’s OK boys. It’s OK that you blew a chance to bring this city its first ever football title and first major championship in more than a generation. We still love you”. A Seattle sports team gives our city some excitement one week, wins a few games and proceeds to take a bow from adoring fans devoid of much sports success to embrace when ultimately all they did was perform a face plant in front of the entire nation.

In case you missed it let me inform you of all you need to know about yesterday’s 30-28 loss to the Falcons in AtlantaSeattle had the lead with 25 seconds to go in the game and Atlanta had the ball at its own 27 yard line, 34 yards away from the possibility of a LONG field goal. It turns out, Atlanta only needed 12 seconds to complete two long passes to the Seattle 31 where kicker Matt Bryant

Matt Bryant | Atlanta Falcons

Matt Bryant

lofted a chip shot 49 yard field goal for the win. For the uninformed football fan let me inform you: THAT SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN! Not to a championship caliber team it shouldn’t.

But wait…it has happened before…to this same team. Please recall Chicago, December 2. Seattle scores a wonderful comeback touchdown with only seconds to play to take the lead on the 8-3 Bears and seemingly wins the game remarkably. Only they didn’t. Like Matt Ryan yesterday, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler completes a pass of about 50 yards to Brandon Marshal against Richard Sherman and a befuddled Seahawk secondary.

English: Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears warmi...

Jay Cutler of the Chicago Bears

Putting Chicago in position to kick the tying field-goal as time expired, forcing overtime. Had it not been for the flip of a coin going Seattle’s way, giving them first possession of overtime, the Seahawks could have lost that game. Having lost that game Seattle doesn’t make the playoffs. Chicago does.

So what does it say about a team that twice in 7 games allows an opposing team to move from deep in their own territory into field goal position in mere seconds and lose a game they led. To me it says some really bad coaching is taking place. When it happened the first time you could blame Richard Sherman for not trying to knock the ball down and instead trying to intercept it. When it happens a second time and it involves other players besides Sherman, you have a pattern and you have a problem.

The thing Seattle fans need to learn and still haven’t is the team had an opportunity and you can’t blow opportunities like that. The team had the momentum and a realistic shot at going to and winning the Super Bowl. I’m not talking about a “punchers chance”; which everyone in the NFL playoffs has. I’m saying, and so were a lot of other people by the way, that Seattle was possibly the best team in the playoffs. Period! Of the 4 teams left in this years playoffs Seattle has already beaten two of the teams this year, and woulda, coulda, shoulda beaten a third, Atlanta, yesterday. Yes, they are THAT good. But they blew it.

The Seattle Times headline this morning is so typically Seattle and so pathetic. I want a championship and am no longer going to settle for “Nice Try”. And if the rest of the city joined me and insisted that our sports teams get their acts together I’m sure a championship could actually come our way.

Being stubborn and demanding and often annoying in ones drive to excellence is a BIG part of what makes champions. Watching U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor last night on CBS’ 60 Minutes, she said as much. She said, “I’m sure my stubbornness has a lot to do with what success I’ve achieved in life”. She elaborated more…but…there ya go.

I have a brother one year older than me, raised in the same house, same parents, and we are as completely different as two people can be. My brother is a millionaire. He’s also a stubborn bull-headed, my-way-or-the-highway jerk. He always has been. Even when we are kids. I’m no pushover. But I would never be accused of being a sore loser, or poor-sport. I have always tried to be positive and complimentary to my teams, my opponents, and in every situation. Not my brother. As a child he used to cry whenever his team lost. He still can’t stand losing. A few years ago while spending a New Years Eve at his 4500 square-foot home we were playing pool. Pool is a game I can play. Not my brother. I was beating him repeatedly. At one point after 3-5 game after he missed another shot he threw his cue stick on the table scattering the balls and ending the pool play for the night. I’ve played pool in bars ever since lying about my age at 19 and being a frequent customer at the Mustard Seed Two tavern in Bellevue. I have a table in my home. I have never seen anyone do that before…show such poor sportsmanship. For my brother…it was predictable.

So what I’m saying is don’t be so accommodating Seattle. Expect more. The Seahawks blew it yesterday and deserve to be criticized not praised . They lost a very important game they should have won and we have no business patting them on the back. We ought to be kicking them in the ass and saying…“Don’t mess up next year! We’re sick of your mediocrity. And we deserve better”. By the way…same goes for you Mariners.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

Seahawks Should Make the Playoffs

English: Picture of the 12th Man Flag at Centu...

 

We’re half way through the 2012 NFL season and my pre-season prediction for my Seattle Seahawks to finish 9-7 is looking pretty safe in spite of their middling 4-4 record and two game losing streak. In fact I’m willing to bump my prediction to 10-6 and possibly 11-5.

 

When I wrote The Seahawks WILL Win before the season’s first game I was still pretty pissed that Coach Pete Carroll had decided to start rookie Russell Wilson ahead of free agent acquisition Matt Flynn.  I’m still not sure Flynn wouldn’t have done better (who is?); but at this point Wilson has shown improvement and is a huge leap ahead compared to Tavaris Jackson one year ago. If he continues to improve he could be something pretty special by the end of the year; and Seattle’s offense could be considerably more formidable than it is now. If Seattle hopes to make any noise in the playoffs the offense better improve. And the defense, which has been mostly good, has an annoying habit of not getting of the field soon enough. They have one of the worst 3rd down conversion percentages in the league. But hey, Seattle’s defense has faced Dallas, Green Bay, Detroit, New England and arrives at the halfway point fifth in the league in yards allowed and sixth in points allowed. And they’ve done it with five road games out of eight.

 

All in all their record is pretty much what I expected. They had losses I thought would be wins- Arizona, St. Louis; and wins I thought would be losses- Green Bay, New England.

 

Going forward the Hawks have five home games and a history under Carroll of playing best in the second half of the season.

 

I count four of the five home games as locks 4-3 Minnesota, 3-5 New York Jets, 4-4 Arizona, and 3-5 St Louis. Toss-up games would be the December 23rd home game with 6-2 San Francisco and road games at 4-3 Miami and 3-4 Buffalo. The only automatic loss I put on the Seahawks record is their December 2 game on the road against a 6-1 Chicago team that extremely potent in the last two years whenever Jake Cutler plays. And right now he’s playing.

 

So by my reckoning the worst Hawk fans can expect is a one game improvement over the past two years to 8-8, which won’t get them to the playoffs.

 

The best the team can expect is 11-5 which would almost definitely get them to the playoffs. I think its more likely to expect them to drop one of those toss-up games and finish 10-6.  Currently six NFC teams have winning records and I suspect Minnesota is a paper lion and will be proven so this Sunday at CenturyLink Field. Aside from the current division leaders in the NFC East, South and West we need not worry about the rest. Seattle will be battling for a wild card spot at the end of the season with Detroit, who just narrowly beat them; and with Green Bay who Seattle narrowly beat thanks to a controversial touchdown call on the last play of the game. How ironic. I see two losses left on the Packers schedule so in all likelihood they’ll have the first wildcard. The Lions have a touch remaining schedule that will probably not see them finish any better than 9-7.

 

Seattle’s running game is so good, even if Marshawn Lynch were to be injured Robert Turbin and Leon Washingtonhave shown themselves to be adequate.

 

English: Red Bryant, a player on the Seattle S...

Red Bryant, Seahawk Defensive End

 

The defense at times has been amazing. And since they seem intent on correcting a really bad trend in allowing a nearly 40% 3rd down conversion rate for their opponents, and the fact that their remaining opponent don’t come close in terms of offensive fire power as their early season opponents; we can expect something pretty special by the end of the season.

 

The Seahawks have been in every game they’ve played. They literally could be undefeated. They could also be 2-6. I intend to enjoy what comes, and enjoy the playoffs. After all…no matter what…its not 2008.

 

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

 

 

 

Seahawks need to Sign Some Free Agents

Seattle Seahawks logo

At 1pm today the NFL opens its free agency season. When they do some rumors have it that the Seattle Seahawks will be very involved in early activity. It’s a good thing. With San Francisco having won 13-games and missing the Super Bowl by a fumbled punt; the St. Louis Rams having landed a plethora of draft picks by trading the number-two overall, and rumor that Arizona is Peyton Manning‘s first choice

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; the Seahawks suddenly look like the fourth best team in the four team NFC West. To be clear, they are already the third best team having lost the regular season finale to the Cardinals and closing the 2011 season with a 7-9 record for the second straight year. Without a good draft next month along with the signing of some key free agents Seattle is doomed to mediocrity at best. And I wonder if Pete Carroll can survive a third straight losing season.

The Seahawks have one glaring need in order to assure their rapid improvement. A blind man without a stick or a dog could see it. They need a good quarterback. They haven’t had one in at least three years. Matt Hassellback’s injury filled last two years don’t count as Seattle having a good quarterback. And Tarvaris Jackson just plain sucks and cannot be an option going forward. To be fair to Jackson he played to his statistics, posting a 79-passer rating compared to a 77 career passer rating. His problem, in my opinion is that he is the worst 2-minute drill quarterback I have ever seen. Not just at the end of the game, but at the end of the first half time and again this past season he showed himself completely incapable of managing a team or completing passes when it was most urgent to do so.

Wide spread speculation has Seattle making a play for Green Bay backup Matt Flynn. Quick…answer this question: Who holds the Green Bay Packers record for most touchdowns and most passing yards in a game?:

A. Brett Favre

English: Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett F...

B. Aaron RogersAaron Rogers

C. Bart Starr

D. None of the above.

 

 

 

Remarkably the answer is “D”. Matt Flynn has started two regular season NFL games in his career. Given that he backs up last season’s league MVP that can’t be too much of a surprise. But in one of those two games last season against the playoff bound Detroit Lions Flynn led his team to a win while throwing 6 touchdowns, and nearly 500 yards…in Green Bay…in January. His resume is more substantial than just one game. Flynn was a 7th round draft pick out of Louisiana State in 2008. He led the Bayou Bengals to a National Championship in his one season as a starter. This guy is a winner. Sign him Seahawks.

If the Hawks don’t sign Flynn Arizona’s possible signing of Peyton Manning would free-up Kevin Kolb for the 2nd straight season. He would be an improvement over Jackson. Possibly a big improvement.

Seattle also has a need to improve its pass rush which was amazingly weak for such a strong defense. Imagine how much better our strong young secondary will look when quarterbacks have 1-2 fewer seconds to hold the ball and wait for receivers to come open. We placed two defensive backs on the NFC Pro Bowl team while having only 33 sacks on the year compared to 50 allowed to the opponents.

Free agency does seem to offer a possible solution for Seattle that the draft is not likely to. Seattle picks 12th in the 1st round of the draft, and historically all the impact pass rushers (and quarterbacks) are long gone by the 12th pick; like former number one draft pick Mario Williams. The Houston Texans All-Pro Defensive End is now a free agent. He could be a big solution for a team not needing too many answers on the defensive side of the ball. You CAN get excited too. ESPN football guru John Clayton says the Seahawks signing Williams is a better than 50% possibility. That’s huge!

If the Seahawks can address their two biggest needs in free agency than their draft next month can go a long way toward filling the need for strong backup performers and building a team that can compete in the increasingly strong NFC West. Call me crazy, but I’m optimistic.

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.

1980 meets 2010

This post was written and posted on my Facebook Notes in February 2010. – M Schuett

My H.S. Senior Class Portrait

M Schuett at 17

Long lazy weekends like this tend to lead me to daydreaming. Such was the case yesterday.

I was in the shower enjoying the warmth of the water spraying down. After spending an hour reading and relaxing in the hot tub my Saturday morning showers serve as a great opportunity for thinking about what there is to do for the remaining two days of my weekend. My mind was drifting into the chores that lay in front of me when I heard the bathroom door slide open. Hearing no one and deciding I’d soaked myself sufficiently for one day I shut off the water and opened my opaque glass sliding door and reached around for my towel. Finding that I was not alone wasn’t surprising. But finding who was standing there in my bathroom was a surprise.

As our eyes met I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed, though I stood in front of him dripping wet, with nothing but a towel between what God gave me and my visitors emotionless gaze. Though I’d not seen him in 30 years I knew him immediately by the pimpled face, the slender build, and the casual jeans and t-shirt. He was me. He was 16. And he somehow seemed perfectly just and proper being here in this place, at this time.

He said, “Hey”, as a sort of friendly but not too friendly greeting. I said, “Hey” back at him, not wanting to seem uncomfortable. His blank expression turned nervous as I stepped toward him out of the shower. And he looked like he wanted to say something. Towelling off is never a long process for me as the water seems to evaporate off me as it does when a wet skillet is placed on a hot flame. So I hung my towel, squeezed my naked body by him in the doorway and proceeded across my room and got dressed. While I did so he kept glancing at me with an increasingly uncomfortable appearance.

I asked, “What? What’s on your mind?”
“Nothing.”, he lied.
“What?”
“Don’t worry about it”, he said in the typical annoyed voice of a teenager.
As I looked at ME I remained comfortable with the oddity of the situation. And feeling comfortable stated what I was thinking, “Man, I forgot how bad your acne was. It’s a shame Dad never took you to a doctor.”
Obviously hurt and defensive he finally revealed what had clearly been on his mind, “Ya…well I can’t believe how FAT you got!”
Even at a young age I’d mastered the over-the-top biting insult when I felt slighted. Some day I’ll write a manual on the fine art of killing a house fly with a sledgehammer. When it comes to intra-personal relations it’s a skill I’ve sadly perfected since the time in my life when I finally grew out of being a naïve child. At this time I was just staring at that age.
“Woe.” I said, “Take it easy. Being me I thought we could express ourselves openly. I didn’t mean to insult you.”
“Ok, but since you are me perhaps you can be a little more sensitive and remember how embarrassed I am by my pimples?”
He was right. I was insensitive. Trying to lighten the mood I tried to be jovial about his comment and only came out sounding defensive. “OK. Sorry. Ya know at my age I’m really not that fat. You have nothing to worry about. Women love this manly body.”
He hesitated then said, “How can you let yourself get this way? I swore I never want to look like Dad.” He spoke in the present tense, oblivious to the fact that our father had long ago passed away.
I could tell he was uncomfortable with what might be laying ahead of him in the next thirty years. If he hadn’t seen me getting out of the shower maybe he would be more at ease.
I led him out of my bedroom and led him into my office at the bottom of our stairs. My family was gone running errands. So I was alone with myself. In my office he observed my Mariner’s bobble heads, my collection of baseball cards, my miniature Seahawks

Wage the Seahawks Fan

helmet and my cougar painting all decorating my bookshelf.

“What’s wrong with you?” he demanded, “No Sonics’ stuff?”
“I packed it all away when they left town.”
“They left town? Come on?”
In 1980 when this person, ME, was sixteen the  Seattle Supersonics were the defending NBA champs

The final logo of the SuperSonics

The final logo of the SuperSonics

and more important in my life than girls, school, Friday night, or absolutely anything else. It would have to be nearly impossible to grasp that the team he’d dreamed of playing for and later shifted his dream to being the team’s play by-play announcer; was now the Oklahoma City Thunder.
“You know the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl”, changing the subject while I settled into my desk chair.
Wanting to demonstrate his sports acumen he confidently retorted, “I imagine with that Kingdome crowd cheering them on they went to the Super Bowl a few times.” He was smiling now and had moved past the discomfort of the earlier acne comment upstairs. I didn’t want to bring him down again by mentioning that the Kingdome’s demolition was now more than ten years in the past.
The sixteen year old me asked why I had so many Mariner collectibles. “They suck”, he opined. I told him he was right. Then I told him how Dave Neihaus on the radio had been my only friend through lonely summers nights away from home, by myself, in small towns trying to build a radio career. I tried to explain in terms he could understand that former Yankee Lou Pinella came to town in the 90s and turned one of the all time sorriest sports franchises into a winner. I told him of perhaps the greatest player of a generation having created his stardom in Seattle.
“Ken Griffey is the greatest player of a generation? How old is he? He plays for the Reds. He played for the Big Red Machine.”, he was excited and confused.
OK, I’d missed a spot. “Wait a minute, wait a minute.”, I said,

Ken Griffey Jr. (1997)

Ken Griffey Jr. (1997) (Photo credit: iccsports)

Ken Griffey JUNIOR, JUNIOR. He’s the son.”
With that thought followed the realization of how little this kid knew. For instance he didn’t know that he was a kid. At the age of sixteen he knew as much as any adult, or so he thought. As he fiddled with my bobble head collection and quizzically viewed my collection of business and self-help books he tried to hide all the contempt that was welling up inside him. Without saying it I knew he couldn’t understand why I had embraced the more-or-less typical middle class upwardly mobile life that best described the house that the sixteen year old me had just walked through and the room he was now observing. For him at that age my life as he had preliminarily seen in these first few minutes was far from the various dreams he was envisioning for himself in what was his sophomore year in high school at Bellevue’s Sammamish High School. He was still dreaming of being an architect, like Frank Lloyd Wright. He had only recently understood his athletic limitations and realized he would not play in the NBA or even the NFL.
Mini-me interrupted my thoughts pointed to the LCD computer monitor on my desk and asked “What’s that?”
Of course he wouldn’t know. “It’s a computer monitor”, pointing to the PC under my desk.
“Woooooe! You have your own computer?”
Gesturing to the chair across from my desk, “Sit down”, I said, ”I have a lot of ‘splaynan to do”
Obediently he sat and looked at me as I began to explain my life; the stops and starts the failures and what I considered the successes.
“You dropped out of college? Why’d you do that?”
“You were a radio DJ?” With this I seemed to impress him.
“What do you mean country music?” He was no longer impressed.
“Married? Twenty three years? Is she a fox?”
“Wait a minute…I’m married when I’m 23 years old? Do I know this girl?”
Just then the phone rang; my cell phone. My ring tone song filled the room and the young me jumped out of his seat in a startled reaction. I held up my hand and instructed him to sit back down. After quickly dispatching the friendly caller I explained to ME what a cell phone was and that it went with me wherever I went. I then retreated to his computer question and explained that almost everyone had at least one computer in their home. He then asked, “Why?” He caught me by surprise with this one. I couldn’t adequately answer this inquiry.
I decided to leap outside the small world of my existence and tell him what else had changed.
“I married a black woman only you don’t call her black. You call her African-American
“The richest man in the world lives in a house on Lake Washington.”
Ronald Reagan became President and amongst many other things is credited with ushering out the existence of the Soviet Union.”
“We impeached a President in the 90s.”
“Homosexuals want to get married, legally. And in some places already have. And, oh by the way, two of your cousins are gay.”
“No nuclear weapons have been used on anyone, anywhere at any time.” This stymied him. At his age at his time in 1980 thirty years passing without anyone using a nuclear bomb on someone else must have seemed highly unlikely.
“Iran was still an enemy; though we did get the hostages out.”
“Terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center and crashed them to rubble on the ground.” “You mean those two tall buildings in the King Kong movie?” “Ya, those buildings.”
Michael Jackson of the Jackson Five was perhaps the biggest entertainer of the previous 30 years. And he recently died.”
Then I said something that really surprised him, “We have a black President. And his name is what?”
He asked about his friends from that time; Bennett Barrick, Lee Gilbert, Jeff Christianson. He was dismayed that I’d not seen Lee or Jeff since graduation night in June 1982, and that I’d not seen Bennett since our 1987 wedding day.
His queries were what you would expect under the farcical situation taking place; and he didn’t seem too uncomfortable. The more we talked the more I realized the truly surprising aspect of now versus then. His worries and want of friends, his insecurities, his enthusiasms and his dreams were the same. They were mine, still. His explosive excitement and displays of annoyance even anger were familiar but largely replaced by a more restrained demeanor in today’s me. The worldly differences, and the technological trickery that we call advancements were momentarily interesting then lost in the fascination of the more personal changes in me and my friends. In summation he was much like my son. He was innocent. But largely the same person. This thought brought a smile to my face. And then he asked the big question.
“So what have we learned? What can you tell me?”
“You want to know what I’d do differently?” I asked.
“No.” he said. “I figure what you’ve learned will answer that question. I just want to know what you’ve learned; how you’ve grown.”
First I said I’ve learned to happily accept friendship wherever it’s offered and never worry too much if the person offering the friendship is the coolest, or the best looking, or even the most fun. Friendship is a treasure under any circumstance.
He asked, “Are you saying I’m a bad guy?”
“No. But you are unfulfilled.” I answered. “Friendships color your world, your life. And you can have more of them.”
Secondly I said I’ve learned to move past disappointments. I’ve learned they are inevitable and that if you embrace them too hard they become part of you. If you let them go they’re only part of the past.
“Anything else?” he asked.
I told him I’ve learned to do what makes me happy. I said, ”Time between where you are in 1980 and where I am in 2010 has been a short period of time. And now I know that the time between now and the day I die, whenever that may be, will be even shorter. The time we have is fleeting and valuable. Spending it being angry, worrying about money, or stagnant with immobilization is a waste of time and a detriment to your happiness.”
“All that seems so simple.” he said.
I closed our encounter by telling the sixteen year old me, “It is simple. And it’s hard.”

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