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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

In Which We Celebrate the Total Destruction of Denver Without Actually Destroying Denver!

Posted by on Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 5:05 PM

The view from City Hall as Seahawks fans throng the parade route.
  • Goldy | The Stranger
  • The view from City Hall as Seahawks fans throng the parade route.

People who aren't into sports might find the massive crowds at today's Seahawks Super Bowl victory parade to be kinda silly. I mean, it's just a game for chrisakes. A bunch of millionaires working for billionaires, tossing a ball around and knocking each other down. Objectively, all this civic pride would appear to be misplaced, especially considering that this 12th Man thing is mostly bullshit—few if any of the fans flooding Seattle's streets today had anything to do with the Seahawks' victory.

But that's an awfully cynical view of professional sports that ignores our basic tribal instincts, and as such underestimates the beneficial and indeed, civilizing impact of sports fandom. Professional football and other sports don't just serve as a metaphor for war, they serve as a bloodless proxy. Through the Seahawks and the Broncos their respective fans get to manifest all of the inflamed passions of the Hutus and the Tutsis, but without the genocide. Where city-states once settled their disputes on the field of combat, they now compete on the field of play. It is a harmless appeal to our basest instincts that brings our city together against the other, without massacring the other in the process.

In Sunday's Super Bowl, Seattle utterly destroyed Denver, and yet the city of Denver remains unscathed. Seven hundred thousand Seahawk fans amassed in downtown Seattle today—about the size of the Allied forces at the Battle of the Bulge—but not a single casualty was inflicted on either side. Indeed, as physically brutal as the sport of football is, even among the players in Sunday's game, not a single fatality was suffered (unless you count the inevitable deaths from chronic traumatic encephalopathy some decades hence).

So yeah. It's silly. But embrace it. Because it's a helluva lot better than actual war.


Comments (49) RSS

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zachd 1
"Objectively, all this civic pride would appear to be misplaced, especially considering that this 12th Man thing is mostly bullshit..."
Source? I call heavy jaded bullshit on that. Counter-citation: Peyton Manning, February 2nd, LA Times,… , as regards the opening safety: "Just a noise issue that caused that play to happen."

We can continue on in that vein through referencing players who played here identifying the noise as a problem, pointing out the Seahawks win differential at home versus the road and so forth, but net net: your statement is needless and bogus.
Posted by zachd on February 5, 2014 at 5:19 PM · Report this
I'm a Denver-ite and a Bronco fan, but am oddly okay and happy for the Seahawks and their devoted Seattle fans. The win was well-deserved and totally earned. The Donkeys sucked it.
Posted by Jfly on February 5, 2014 at 5:27 PM · Report this
Goldy is right. This is where we go to stop killing and play for keeps.
Posted by totallycarey on February 5, 2014 at 5:38 PM · Report this
raku 4
Give me a fucking break. You can like football, but violent spectator sports are absolutely bad for society. They are bastions of inequality and they cause violence directly and indirectly.

It's absolute ABSOLUTE nonsense that people put their energy into football instead of war. Aggressive spectator sports increase aggression and violence in society - that's completely settled science. It's ridiculous to say that playing sports is an alternative to war - it's just like saying keeping guns in your house is an alternative to pointing guns at brown people in the Middle East. It's impossible to prove, but makes complete sense, that violent sports increase war. Probably not a coincidence that GW Bush was such a sports fan.

Progressives should be talking about regulating violent sports with the future goal of outright banning them. We shouldn't be praising them. That's absolutely a regressive political position, almost downright fascist.……
Posted by raku on February 5, 2014 at 5:41 PM · Report this
Well said, Goldy.

Well trolled, Raku.
Posted by DawginExile on February 5, 2014 at 5:45 PM · Report this
Gern Blanston 6
The 12th Man is real, and it is spectacular!
Posted by Gern Blanston on February 5, 2014 at 5:57 PM · Report this
kk in seattle 7
What's the "fascism" counterpart to "Godwin's law"? If it's not taken (or just goes by "Godwin lite"), might I suggest "Raku's Corollary"?
Posted by kk in seattle on February 5, 2014 at 6:11 PM · Report this
lark 8
Um, Obama is a sports' fan. He too, will welcome the victors to the White House just like other Presidents before him. Goldy's point while cynical is correct. I'd rather play or watch "war" on a gridiron that at Salamis, Agincourt, Waterloo, Somme, Pearl Harbor, Normandy, Leningrad, Pusan, Hue and Fallujah among many, many others.

I salute the Seahawks. I was there (Brr!) So, give it up for them. They deserve some attention and fanfare.
Posted by lark on February 5, 2014 at 6:11 PM · Report this
What you just wrote there, goldie

is total fuckin humancheneyshit

which stinks shit worse than bull
Posted by total fuckin humancheneyshit on February 5, 2014 at 6:14 PM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 10
I am absolutely thrilled for the city, and for the Seahawks, and I absolutely supported this parade. At the same time I wanted absolutely nothing to do with it. I worked from home today, and got a lot of work done. Best possible outcome, as far as I'm concerned.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on February 5, 2014 at 6:18 PM · Report this
Yes, of course, the Hutus and Tutsis just needed a little football! How utterly offensive to compare the two situations.
Posted by haiowjafjalceawf on February 5, 2014 at 6:29 PM · Report this
Those uncivilized savages resort to war while the civilized Americans just play football instead! Not like the United States is the number one purveyor of violence in the world or anything.
Posted by haiowjafjalceawfa on February 5, 2014 at 6:32 PM · Report this
"But that's an awfully cynical view of professional sports ..."

With pretty good reason, actually, given that I've never felt particularly well served by this notion of tribalism. Or at least, this tribe of sports fans.

I'm with Catalina, I'm thrilled for y'all in the same way that I'm thrilled for Catholics when they get a new Pope, slam poetry fans who get a new winner at Nationals and the myriad fans of myriad musical styles when someone they like get a Best Artist or whatever. I just don't want anything to do with it.

It took me two hours to get to work in SoDo and another two hours to get home today. And from the bottom of my oh so cynical heart, I'm really glad y'all had your little party but after that hellish commute, you've had your turn. Sit down and shut up already.
Posted by Chris B on February 5, 2014 at 6:34 PM · Report this
raku 14
#7: Fascism is an actual thing, it's not an analogy or a hyperbole or a slur. Violent team sports are a hallmark of fascism.
Posted by raku on February 5, 2014 at 6:35 PM · Report this
raindrop 15
@4: Obama is a big sports fan too, and has that among other attributes he shares with his predecessor.

I almost think that Charles wrote this post instead of Goldy.
Posted by raindrop on February 5, 2014 at 6:42 PM · Report this
You are honestly hilarious. People love sports. A lot. All over the world. We love playing games, and we like pushing them as far as we can. If you don't like it, don't play. If you don't want other people to play, go mind your own business.
And to act as though sports can't play a positive role in society is just silly. South African whites voted to end apartheid so they could watch rugby. Didier Drogba stopped a civil war. The ultras organizing the Arab Spring. Yada yada yada
Posted by JonCracolici on February 5, 2014 at 6:56 PM · Report this
treacle 17
I propose a new variant of American football where the players and the fans get to fight it out -- total mano-a-mano melee combat -- in their respective areas; on the field and in the stands. Your ticket is a waiver from any physical damage or death. We can call it...Combat Football!
Posted by treacle on February 5, 2014 at 6:57 PM · Report this
I'm glad you agree that it's silly, but I don't have to embrace it. Not when I can point and laugh at all of you instead.
Posted by treehugger on February 5, 2014 at 6:59 PM · Report this
Other than all those hellish brain injuries, it's good clean fun, eh?
Posted by tiktok on February 5, 2014 at 6:59 PM · Report this
Raku's right. We're pissed, here in Colorado, and we're going to take revenge FOR REAL. You are going to be so, so, so very sorry you humiliated us. The twelfth man is actually the first man against the wall. We'll spare Raku. She's been our fifth columnist in Seattle, softening you all up, weakening your resolve...
Posted by Eric from Boulder on February 5, 2014 at 7:07 PM · Report this
I'm pretty sure the Tutsis and Hutus didn't grow dramatically in population over just a year once their side started winning.
Posted by decidedlyodd on February 5, 2014 at 7:08 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 22
Hermann Hesse writes something similar in _Demian_. Sinclair notices at the outbreak of war how everyone has dropped their angers and hatreds towards their neighbor and is celebrating joyously together.

Sports isn't the final answer, it may take a while before humanity can feel that level of joy and acceptance of their fellow (wo)men so freely. But for a stop-gap method, it has its benefits.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on February 5, 2014 at 7:35 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 23
Yes, this is quintessential tired old liberal style of "aren't humans awful" and look under every crevice to throw cold water on every situation. As we grow older, we either ruminate in this attitude at every conceivable opportunity, or we celebrate the joy of others even though we may not be as excited.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 5, 2014 at 7:51 PM · Report this
Have at it! I wont be able to hear you over all the singing:) Just as long as everyone's having a good time. If looking down on people is your thing, that's cool I guess.
@ the anti-sports crowd(is there such a thing?) Talking about the need to completely change or abandon sports will get about as much traction as telling everyone to abandon their God, or to stop fiddling with their bits, or to telling them to stop doing anything there is no way in hell they will stop doing.
Posted by JonCracolici on February 5, 2014 at 7:57 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 25
i'm still waiting for the ecotopia sport where there's an orgy afterwards. i'll be looking for you afterwards, raku!
Posted by Max Solomon on February 5, 2014 at 7:57 PM · Report this
Sargon Bighorn 26
Hutus and Tutsis? WTF. With out the genocide? WTF. Good god Goldy has lost his mind.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on February 5, 2014 at 7:59 PM · Report this
Congratulating ourselves for having fun without committing genocide?

Sports are wonderful. But just like with music, capitalism transforms the majority of us from participants to consumers of the product of an elite few for the profit of a more elite few. Just imagine if this many people stepped out into the streets for a reason that mattered....
Posted by Upchuck on February 5, 2014 at 8:21 PM · Report this
Sports was not an answer at all for El Salvador and Honduras when they had their so-called Soccer War. The issues were economic and political, but the qualifying soccer matches between the two only exacerbated the tensions, not release them. And then you also have the infamously violent European "soccer hooligans".

Violence is primal. Nothing is going to eliminate it or replace it.

I was at the parade, covered in multiple layers from head to fingers and still shivering, and I'm not a Seahawks fan. I was there for the shared communal experience in an extraordinarily large scale. We hung out tough with total strangers and got to be acquaintances for that hour-and-a-half when we openly wondered what the hell was going on with the parade. We hollered at nothing when 12:12 came along and cheered wildly at the Duck-riding dignitaries preceding the players who none of us recognized. (Not to mention dark-tinted tour buses, some of them clearly empty.) When the players finally came, riding military-looking trucks helpfully marked as "RECEIVERS", "OFFENSIVE LINE", etc. (because we really wouldn't know who the players were otherwise), we really let loose, somewhat thrilled to see these sports heroes as mortal humans right in front of us and very relieved that the eternal wait was over. We pressed forward into the street, no longer bothering to keep back, and "Wooooooh!"ed more than we thought we were capable of. Then one of the groups of players - I think it was "RECEIVERS", or maybe it was "LEGION OF BOOM" - waved around the Vince Lombardi Trophy and that was it. We did our approximation of Obama first winning the White House or the allies winning the war. Then the last truck of players passed and both sides of the crowd cheerfully stormed the street, some heading downhill and others heading up, for once treating University Street like it was an open city park. For the rest of the day, we kept seeing packs of people in Seahawks jerseys all over Downtown and Capitol Hill. There was that sense of togetherness where we felt like we could relate to those people across from us on the other side of the street hours after the parade because we all shared this moment and this day. So I don't know the full implications of sports and football in society, but the whole day of celebration was a very enriching experience.

(If there is a next time, though, don't keep us waiting, huddled like shivering penguins, for nearly two hours.)
Posted by floater on February 5, 2014 at 8:23 PM · Report this
@23, this liberal really loved how refreshingly joyous downtown was today.
Posted by sarah70 on February 5, 2014 at 8:28 PM · Report this
Teslick 30
Well, I'd like to see what the reaction will be from Goldy when the Eagles win the Superbowl.

Hey, stop laughing everybody! It could theoretically happen.
Posted by Teslick on February 5, 2014 at 8:32 PM · Report this
Clara T 31
At 17 they already have that it's called Manchester United
Posted by Clara T on February 5, 2014 at 8:47 PM · Report this
@30 The Eagles are not nearly as cursed as the Cowboys.
Posted by floater on February 5, 2014 at 8:53 PM · Report this
Clara T 33
Silly unproven and probably unprovable claim rampant the OP and comments. fwiw the players tend to love what they do and each other, as do boxers, MMA fighters, big wave surfers, terrain park skiers, DERBY GIRLS and everyone else getting the snot knocked out of them for a living and/or for fun. They'd do it for free for the most part. I'm not for telling consenting grown ups what they can't do with their bodies, except maybe lay the fuck around and get type 2 diabetes.
Posted by Clara T on February 5, 2014 at 8:59 PM · Report this
Phoebe in Wallingford 34
@29: You're right. Let's replace 'liberal' with 'self-anointed bourgeoisie bashing pontificator'.
Posted by Phoebe in Wallingford on February 5, 2014 at 9:02 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 35
It's too fucking cold in Denver right now for ANYONE to want to attack it.

Wait until spring.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on February 5, 2014 at 9:11 PM · Report this
@28: Well put, and I totally agree. I'm a hanger on, but I was ecstatic to be down there watching the parade go by, sharing beers and the experience with coworkers and some folks who rode the ferry from Bremerton.

@29: Again, same same. The joy was contagious.
Posted by Derek on February 5, 2014 at 9:24 PM · Report this
"Through the Seahawks and the Broncos their respective fans get to manifest all of the inflamed passions of the Hutus and the Tutsis, but without the genocide." I am APPALLED that this quote, that this comparison of football and genocide, appears in The Slog. To compare the "inflamed passions" of football to the mass killings of people based on their identity is inexcusable, abhorrent, and incredibly offensive--not to mention the fact that it likens the indescribable generational trauma and grief of genocide to the "pain" of losing a football game. I call on the Stranger to remove this post entirely. So incredibly f*cked up. NOT OKAY.
Posted by alyssarp on February 5, 2014 at 9:50 PM · Report this
long-time reader 38
Eh, if the best praise you can come up with is "lot better than actual war", I think that's pretty damning. It would be one thing if Denver and Seattle actually had ICBM's pointed at each other. But that's not the case.

These are still the basest of instincts, being only marginally sublimated. I will attend the parade for people civilized enough not to hate each other for being from the wrong tribe.
Posted by long-time reader on February 5, 2014 at 9:55 PM · Report this
long-time reader 39
War or Sports? Come to think of it, this is actually the paragon of a straw man argument.
Posted by long-time reader on February 5, 2014 at 10:02 PM · Report this
JF 40
"Through the Seahawks and the Broncos their respective fans get to manifest all of the inflamed passions of the Hutus and the Tutsis, but without the genocide."

Genocide, I'm not even sure there was an arrest today.
Posted by JF on February 5, 2014 at 10:48 PM · Report this
Original Andrew 41
It's a once in a generation event for sure, but I just wish Americans could get this involved about anything that matters, like rising up against the 1%, who are committing economic genocide against the rest of us.
Posted by Original Andrew on February 6, 2014 at 5:15 AM · Report this
"the [,,,] civilizing impact of sports fandom"

There is nothing intrinsically civilizing about sport fandom. Sport competition can be used to foster friendship and discovery of the other or to foster xenophobia and jingoism.
Posted by anon1256 on February 6, 2014 at 7:56 AM · Report this
Did you know yesterday was also the opening of the Seattle Flower and Garden Show -- a beautiful and empty place at the Convention Center. I tried to go but after the 3 hour drive down, there was no parking at the center for their own event. No parking, obviously, anywhere. Spent my money on lunch far away from downtown and went back home--only took 2 hours back to B'ham. Still, it was nice to see all the happy, cold people on the streets.
Posted by Beth on February 6, 2014 at 8:37 AM · Report this
JF 44
@41 Yesterday meant something to me.

Way more than the idea of the CEO of Citi bank removing me and my family from my home, forcing us into cattle cars, separating us by gender, enslaving us to work and then, finally, tossing us into a gas chamber.
Posted by JF on February 6, 2014 at 9:06 AM · Report this
Original Andrew 45
@ 44, I'm not saying winning the Super Bowl isn't a source of great civic pride, I'm asking why the vast majority of people can't motivate themselves to promote meaningful socio-economic change. Cause you know, priorities.
Posted by Original Andrew on February 6, 2014 at 10:07 AM · Report this
So you question is really "Why aren't other people's priorities the same as mine?"
I dont know. Why aren't yours the same as theirs?
Posted by JonCracolici on February 6, 2014 at 10:54 AM · Report this
notaboomer 47
Just imagine if this many people stepped out into the streets for a reason that mattered....
Posted by Upchuck on February 5, 2014 at 8:21 PM

Posted by notaboomer on February 6, 2014 at 11:00 AM · Report this
What the fuck? Goldy's sneering, passive-aggressive prejudice sounds like a christian social conservative dissing same sex marriage; "…the equal rights thing is total bs… but I suppose pretending to be "married" is better than hanging out at bathhouses all day…" Cringe-worthy stuff, Goldy. A stranger to our collective civic psyche indeed.
Posted by Jim Detwiler on February 6, 2014 at 2:13 PM · Report this
JF 49
@45 I dunno. I imagine they're cool with the status quo, but it's not for me to judge. If those people are more concerned with the Seahawks than they are with $15.00 minimum wages, that's cool with me. It doesn't make them bad people, it just means they value different things than you.
Posted by JF on February 6, 2014 at 2:28 PM · Report this

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