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Why I’m a Twelfth Man Fan…in Boston

Hawks SB photo

12th Man Fan – AP photo

Recent voice mail from a pal back in Seattle (my hometown): “Jeez-UZ, Shan. Fans are ready to jump off buildings over that call…”

But the message continued: “ah, but we still love ’em. I saw an old lady with a walker in the cereal aisle rockin’ a Marshawn Lynch jersey at Safeway yesterday. Either she didn’t see the last play or she’s over it.”

I firmly believe she’s over it, and rocked that jersey with pride. Regardless the outcome. My beloved Seahawks played a hell of a game, and I still think Russell Wilson is God. I mean, he practices yoga, meditates, and loves up sick kids at Seattle Children’s Hospital on a regular basis. He is God.

In all seriousness though, the outcome of this recent SuperBowl, which took place five days after settling into my new apartment in Cambridge, has made me realize just how strong the Twelfth Man is. And why these Patriot fans, or any fans, have got nothing on us:

What parade? I watched the evening news and listened quizzically as the anchors all lauded the awesome turnout. Really? Images of Seattle’s SB parade last year popped into my head. “Tens of thousands of fans!” the Boston Globe later reported. Seattle’s parade? 700,000 Twelfth Man fans. Maybe it’s because this isn’t the first win for the Patriots. But I just didn’t see a heckuva lot of red and blue the way I saw neon green and blue light up my TV screen (60″ btw) last year.

Cold, schmold. Yes, in 7 days time we’ve been pummeled by 3 feet of snow. My nose looks like Rudolph. My lat muscles are cramping from shoveling overload. And I’m not alone. Even the heartiest New Englanders are probably not all too keen on turning into frozen statues outdoors. But c’mon! The SuperBowl winners are here! And the mayor even postponed the parade by a day for temps to pick up. Seattle fans braved sub-freezing temps to attend last year, and really, it’s all relative: “cold” to Seattle peeps is defined as anything that requires more than a thin polar fleece jacket. Take it from a girl who knows. L.L. Bean has made a fortune off my “send-me-warm-stuff now!” online orders.

We’re quirky. That gal with a walker in a Marshawn Lynch jersey. The flight attendant in a Wilson jersey on my last trip back home. Blue and green false eyelashes on a friend’s FB profile pic. A yoga teacher who doesn’t know a first down from a slam dunk wearing a Seahawks tee to teach class. Skittles have become a new Pacific NW food group – someone, somewhere, in Seattle is creating an organic version.

We coach through love. I am as intrigued by what I see on the sidelines as down the center of the field. When a play goes well, Pete Carroll hugs, jumps for joy, and lifts our players up. When it doesn’t go so well, he hugs, consoles, and encourages them to get back up and try again. Anytime I look down the other line, I see shouting, spitting, foot stomping, and defeat. That may work for some, but not for long. Love conquers fear.

So while I offer big congrats to the Patriots, I will continue to wear my neon green and blue with pride as a forever Twelfth Man Fan.


2 comments on “Why I’m a Twelfth Man Fan…in Boston

  1. gw says:

    Shan – I would like to invite you to forward this piece to the Boston Globe editorials. An excellent piece of work thanks!

  2. We love it all, including the Seattle rain, and we are 12s forever.

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