In the past two months, this yogi/Seahawks fan has had the unusual experience of spending time in three distinct zones – Seattle (end zone); San Francisco (enemy zone); and Greater Philadelphia (neutral zone). I travel often enough, and can pretty much anticipate what to expect when visiting different parts of the country.
Until the mighty Seahawks draw out their talons.
The End Zone. Going to my hometown for the Holidays always feels like diving into a warm patch of moss – rain and fog outside, hugs galore from family and friends inside, and toasty flows at my favorite heated yoga studios (BeLuminous and Shakti Yoga). But this year, as the Seahawks powered their way into the playoffs, my mossy little hometown corner of the world became something bigger than brilliant tech-geeks and guys wearing socks, sandals and highwater khakis in December (guys who make enough dough to not give a damn). No, this trip was different. Seattle had a badass football team! Fashion-be-damned denizens were now decked head to toe in navy-and-neon-green duds with an angry-looking bird on their beanies. And if you had anything like this on, you’d get a high-five. From a complete stranger. In Seattle, a city not known for chatting it up with strangers. My yoga class even set a collective intention to Ohm for the 12th man. GO HAWKS!!! Ohm baby.
Enemy Zone. Last week was a different experience altogether. I followed the man on his business trip to San Francisco. With a three-hour Eastern Time zone jump start, we landed in the city on the Bay and swiftly dumped the bags at the hotel before settling into two prime bar stools at a downtown pub to watch the Hawks take on the Saints. Just another football game, between two teams other than SF, in a bar typically catering to conference-goers in town on business. A pretty neutral zone, right? Not this time. On this day, rabid Niners fans took over the joint, hurtling french fries at the screen anytime a helmet with a bird on it got a big break. My Seahawks Starbucks card, in the enemy zone, resulted in a blank (or, rather, ‘how dare you’?) stare from the barista. Yes I had cash handy, but I couldn’t resist. Gimme my latte already…are you forgetting where Starbucks’ home base is? At least my yoga class in the Mission District offered some respite: “what is this football thing going on around here, anyway?” our sweet teacher implored before opening ohms. I naturally set my intention once again for the power of the 12th man.
Neutral Zone. After chewing off my tenth nail in a tense-as-hell game between us (Hawks) and them (Niners) last night, I quickly discovered this morning that no one ’round these parts views these teams as us and them. More like they and they. As in, not our Philadelphia Eagles. Oh well, at least they’ll accept my Seahawks Starbucks cards and smile curiously as I parade around in my little beanie with a funny looking bird on it and SEAHAWKS XLVIII BOUND sweatshirt.
In sum, these experiences highlight how exciting a time the playoffs are for football fans, and the communities they play in. It’s all good fun. I adore all three cities – Seattle, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. And I’ll adore Denver too – just not until we whoop the Broncos in Super Bowl. GO HAWKS!