By Don Nelson
The 12th Man has become, collectively, the slightly crazed symbol of Seattle Seahawks fandom, notably in the north end zone of CenturyLink Field but also in the numbing stadium-wide roar of 130-plus decibels pounding away at visiting teams. Beyond those face-painted screamers in the seats are thousands of Seahawks devotees who avidly follow the team’s ups and downs (mostly ups this year), and enrich the makers of NFL replica jerseys and other team-related paraphernalia.
Then there are the members of the Seahawks diaspora, widely scattered outside of the Puget Sound area and united only by allegiance to Seattle’s team. In the Methow Valley, with its many personal and economic connections to “the coast,” the Seahawks are by extension “our team.” I suppose that makes us loyal outliers the 13th Man — or, more politically correctly, the 13th Person. We’re not as loud or demonstrative or as absurdly costumed as the hometown fans, but evidence of support pops up here and there in the valley.
So on Feb. 2, when the Seahawks meet the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII (48, for the Roman numeral-impaired), the 13th Person will be as locked into the game in New Jersey (not New York, for the geography-impaired) just as devoutly as those other 12 (XII, for the Arabic numeral-impaired). Can we get a banner here, anyone, to stick on our rigs?
Typically, the mayors and/or governors of the opposing cities/states make friendly wagers about the outcome of the Super Bowl, offering some regionally notable specialties (products, food, trinkets) as the winner’s bounty. I suspect Gov. Jay Inslee isn’t going to offer a Boeing 777, nor should we expect a year’s worth of fracked oil from Colorado.
But in the spirit of convivial competition, we’re willing to put up a basket full of “Methow Made” goodies against whatever our friends at High Country News in Paonia, Colo. — an area somewhat analogous to the Methow in its rural remoteness, scenic beauty and separation from the populous side of the state by a big mountain range — feel like offering in support of the Broncos. The 13th Person is ready to walk the talk.
It’s only a game, but still it has to be said: Go Hawks!
Now that we’ve settled what we’re going to be doing on Feb. 2, I’ve been thinking about what I’ll be doing on March 2. On that night the Academy Awards will be announced in California, which incidentally does not have a team in the Super Bowl (neener, neener, Niners).
I’ll be watching — either here on TV or there in person, although that’s less likely — because my brother Bob Nelson has been nominated for an Oscar in the category of best original screenplay for the script he wrote for Nebraska, the movie directed by Alexander Payne. Nebraska is up for five other Oscars, including best movie, best actor and best director.
As Bob said in a Seattle Times interview recently, not bad for a boy from Kent. For those of you who remember the long-running comedy sketch show “Almost Live!” on KING-TV in Seattle, Bob was the writer/performer who was most responsible for poking fun at south King County. The Kent School District hasn’t done too bad by us in the Methow, however. Local graduates (the ones I know of) include former Winthrop Mayor Dave Acheson, Winthrop Town Council member Rick Northcott, and Methow Valley School District Superintendent Tom Venable. And then there’s me, about whom you can make your own judgment. But there’s no questioning my loyalties. Between the Super Bowl and the Oscars, if I can have only one winner it has to be the kid from Kent. Go Bob!