Almost twenty-two years ago, our family moved to Seattle. Before that, we would vacation here, using the city as a jumping off point for our annual boating trips exploring the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands. This part of the world sings to my soul. This explains why, although I do not enjoy football, on Super Bowl Sunday I watched the game anyway.
Seattle has more than exquisite natural beauty. Old-fashioned courtesy survives here. Going to the market, the bank, the shoe repair shop and even driving during rush hour is almost always pleasant. After the Seahawks’ overwhelming victory, Seattleites rioted in their own unique way. Then, they tweeted about it. Here are some of my favorite postings, all entitled, “How Seattle riots”. If you laugh aloud, you are probably a Seattleite. If you aren’t, you might think these are exaggerated – they aren’t.
We dance!!!!! We threw skittles but then cleaned them up so the birds would be saved.
Place a milk jug in the recycling bin without properly rinsing it out.
Honking, but only two honks, because some people might have to wake up for work in the morning.
“You riot first.” “No, go ahead, you riot first.” “Really? I don’t mind waiting.” “Yeah, it’s fine. Go ahead and riot.”
Staying in a fifteen-minute loading zone for 16 minutes.
There was some unruly behavior Sunday night after the victory. A pergola in the downtown landmark, Pioneer Square, had some of its glass broken. In response, a local artist set up a crowdfunding site to raise money for the repair. The goal has already been reached and exceeded.
Most of us like fitting in. When people tweet these sentiments and send them around, it makes Seattle an even nicer, more polite place. When people feel responsible for damage, intentional or not, that took place, everyone lives in a nicer environment. In other parts of the country, criminal behavior is highlighted in admiration. Not surprisingly, those places get increased criminal behavior.
Seattle has a justly deserved reputation as extremely liberal. Like many other cities, the central city’s attitude dominates over larger adjoining areas that are less populated and more conservative. However, Seattle is liberal with an old-fashioned, courteous touch. Despite a far-left socialist fringe that dates back at least to the early 1900’s and that pops up at intervals, most of the population is law-abiding to the extreme. One Seattle police chief stated that, as a candidate, he looked out of his hotel room at 3 a.m. and saw a lone pedestrian waiting for a green light before crossing a completely empty street. He chose to accept the position.
From my perspective, football consists of someone kicking a ball followed by players running, knocking each other over and then jumping on the fallen competitor. I don’t want to expend the effort to understand it further. Nonetheless, I am reveling in the Seahawks’ win and grateful to live in such a wonderful city.
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3 thoughts on “Go Hawks! Love Seattle!”
Peter,when we moved to Seattle from L.A., we saw exactly the same thing when two lanes merged into one. We even saw a police car scold a car that had tried to cut in ahead (not give a ticket, simply use the bullhorn to tell him that wasn’t nice). Sadly, we too are seeing more people cutting in, but it still is nothing like L.A.
Great musing! I LOVED watching Seattle’s well deserved triumph on Sunday evening. We’re big football fans in my home, but I was the only one rooting for the Seahawks (bridled enthusiasm sometimes pays off in spades!). I guess most folks here in the south “don’t know from Seattle”. I, on the other hand, being a confirmed America’s Rabbi aficionado, had been secretly planning to be the designated “12th man” at our house.
And when Monday morning brought news of “Seattle fans riot”, I had to see for myself. I launched the YouTube clips and subsequently said to my wife:
“Honey, you should see what the media characterizes as rioting in Seattle. It’s nothing but a bunch of Seahawks fans having a bonfire! Or breaking a few pergola window panes and even that would appear mostly by accident.”
Even as a football non-enthusiast, you might find the following perspective interesting, from last September’s Imprimis titled “Football and the American Character” by John J. Miller:
“… football has … supplanted baseball as America’s favorite pastime.”
“At the dawn of the Progressive era [c.1895], the social and political movement to prohibit football became a major cause … the conflict between regulators bent on the dream of a world without risk, and those who resist such an agenda in the name of freedom and responsibility … Progressives wanted to regulate football out of existence because they believed that its participants were not capable of making their own judgments in terms of costs and benefits. In their higher wisdom, these elites would ban the sport for all.”
To football’s defense rode the soon-to-be hero of San Juan Hill, none other than Teddy Roosevelt himself. As the newly elected president of the New York City police commission, TR wrote a letter to a man named Walter Camp who history now views as the closest thing there is to American football’s founding father. Roosevelt letter includes these words:
“… we were tending steadily in America to produce … sedentary classes … and from this the athletic spirit has saved us. … no fellow is worth his salt if he minds an occasional bruise or cut … I do not give a snap for a good man who can’t fight and hold his own in the world.”
After quoting TR’s letter, the article continues:
“Roosevelt was surely correct in believing that sports influence the character of a nation. Americans are much more likely than Europeans to play sports. We’re also more likely to attribute economic success to hard work, as opposed to luck. It may be that sports are a manifestation – or possibly even a source – of American exceptionalism.”
To be sure, nascent American football had genuine problems, but it was American citizens who corrected its flaws, largely through the formation of the NCAA, and not government. Free spirited Americans both conceived and successfully implemented the necessary improvements.
And finally to your question, here’s something that we have in North Carolina that is completely foreign to the Massachusetts of my formative years:
When a four-lane highway is directed from two-lanes (in one direction) down to one-lane (say, for road repairs), North Carolinians are known to queue up in single file for as much as half a mile. Unbelievably, nobody will take advantage of the opportunity to speed on ahead and cut the line. Twenty years ago, the first time I experienced this phenomenon, I was utterly amazed. Admittedly, it doesn’t happen as often as it used to (owing no doubt to the continued influx of Yankee refugees – like me!). But I experienced it again last week, and I said “praise God in heaven for North Carolinians”.
How nice to learn that Seattle Washingtonians have a similarly praiseworthy character.
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Hi Ms. Susan…
Liberalism of the West Coast is oft maligned, of those who have grown up with Big Government and expect ever more and more and MORE from Big Government. It is difficult for non-West-Coastal Americans to fathom the values of those who inhabit California or Oregon or Washington. But what you have pointed out today confirms my own understanding of the best of how these folks think: let us pull together with good conscience, with a will, to assert the values for the best, to minimize wrongs, and to rectify whatever ill deed may have slipped through the cracks. The scenic grandeur of your state is enviable, but I have heard that it rains, rains, and rains there much too much. (Forget not thy galoshes!).
What you have observed was true also in the South last week, where during a freak snow / ice storm, all roads were turned into parking lots. My poor wife, trying to make it home on treacherous ice, was on the road for ELEVEN hours to cover 17 miles. Fearing she would give up and spend the night in an unheated car at 14°F overnight, I sallied forth to rescue her. In the end we both made it home, having received precious roadside assistance from perfect strangers, good Samaritans who left their homes and vehicles to assist stranded motorists. Just like in the London Blitz or 9/11 in New York, the emergence of unwanted events, hardships and perils oft brings out the very best in people.
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