By Ashley Lodato
The post-race Pursuit Dinner at the Winthrop Barn last weekend gave skiers and spectators a chance to relax and enjoy a salmon dinner cooked by Methow Valley Nordic Team parents as well as to hear some of the older team members show videos of their recent Junior National qualifier races. Several attendees went home with pairs of master racer Kent Murdoch’s skis, while two lucky ducks won $500 gift certificates to Winthrop Mountain Sports, donated by Diane and Rita. Hello, shopping spree!
At the end of the evening the crowd cleared out and many skiers went home to rest up for their 30-kilometer skate race the next day. But Margo Aspholm, who had been on her feet in the kitchen since 8 a.m. preparing the dinner, took to the stage and with the accompaniment of the jazz band treated the clean-up crew to sultry renditions of “Autumn Leaves” and a few other classics.
For non-football fans, this whole 12th Man business is a little bewildering. There’s a lot of energy (not to mention money) going into blue-and-green clothes, Seahawks-inspired make-up and haircuts, and creatively outrageous displays of team loyalty. Meanwhile, 50,000 gallons of oil just spilled into the Yellowstone River. Boko Haram is destroying Nigeria. And right here at home there are people who rely on the food bank to help feed their families. In light of all that, who cares about football scores? Millions of people, that’s who.
What I’m realizing is the reason that many people care so much — why the Seahawks winning or losing really matters to them — is that in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter at all. Whether or not the Hawks win has a minuscule, if any, impact on the quality of most of our lives. All those other things — religious extremist violence, environmental pollution, civil rights, generational poverty — those things really matter. But we all must have a certain capacity for caring about the things that really count, and beyond that we have a need to care a lot about things that are of little consequence, and upon whose outcome we have absolutely no influence. Hence, the Seahawks (or to be fair, any other NFL team) mania.
For some of us, our pointless caring is wondering whether Frank Underwood will ever make it to the Oval Office (some of us are still a few episodes behind); for others it’s a burning curiosity about the Duchess of Cambridge’s latest couture maternity dress (see, even I know that she’s pregnant). But this is the week of all weeks to care about football, so to all you 12th men and women out there I say “Go ’Hawks.”