I must admit that even though I’ve only spent a fraction of my life living in Seattle, I’ve become pretty emotionally invested in the Emerald city’s crown jewel, the Seahawks.
And last night game…was rough.
It’s not like I’m a stranger to heartbreak, I’ve participated in or watched as my team has lost championships in the last second several times. I’ve felt the agony of defeat in many different contexts…but this game was different. It affected me in some ways that I’m still processing. Few times have the collective hopes of a place been more unified and apparent than in the moments building up before the end of Super Bowl XVIX. All the tension of a strange and complex season was held in the balance waiting to be released. The fireworks and confetti, champagne and celebration, all awaiting one final yard before we could all break out into a joyous exhale.
2nd and goal at the 1 yard line. 20 seconds, one timeout………………………………Interception!?
No. Was there not a flag….please?
What played out on the field after Russell Wilson’s interception seemed to symbolize exactly what every Seahawk player, coach, and fan was struggling to deal with; how do we hold all this confusion and disappointment?! How do we deal with all the tension that just moments before was almost certainly going to be allowed to release!? It was like we were all waiting for some great revelation that would finally affirm our identity. Like somehow the victory would secure something in us that had come into question over the past year since we were last able to call ourselves “champions”. Suddenly, all we had hoped in and for was over and we were left with nothing but, well, ourselves.
What played out for each of us in this aftermath is quite different, but all of us who allowed ourselves to invest in the foolishness of hope were left to deal with the pain of this disappointment. I don’t mean to be crude, but the experience in almost every way mirrored an emotional “blue balls”. The building excitement and fantasy, arousal, dopamine, the immense tension and expectation…and then!!!…nothing. Nothing is not what any of us were hoping for. This was not the revelation that any of us knew how to comprehend.
This morning I walked my normal route to work and found myself so very aware of the reality that this game had invited me to. I didn’t know what to do with the game, but much more deeply, the game had revealed that I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself. I was not released into the identity of a “champion”, and because of this, was once again invited to deal with regular ole me. In that place I have to begin answering a question for myself that no championship could ever answer.
And the power of that question, if I let it sit long enough, invites me to take another step into this mo(u)rning and the day that is in front of me.