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Niners have 'The Catch,' we now have 'The Tip' | Phelps
I remember playing football in the street in front of my house with my best friend when I was young.
I would pretend to be Steve Largent while he threw Hail Mary passes to me. It is a cliché but it is a great memory. It is what most little kids who are sports fans do when they are young. But growing up a Seattle sports fan has always come with a bit of a price — eternal disappointment. Largent never played in a Super Bowl, Griffey never even won an American League Pennant and Gary Payton got his ring — in Miami.
I have friends who have moved away and disassociated themselves from Seattle teams. I have friends who have lived here their entire lives and decided to adopt other teams out of impatience or just frustration. To make memories with someone else’s team. Sometimes I don’t blame them. But that is not me.
While San Francisco 49er fans have great memories of “The Catch” against the Cowboys in an NFC title game and Lombardi trophies with Joe Montana and Steve Young, we got Rick Mirer fumbles and promises that Dan McGwire, of all people, would be the next big thing. I am old enough to remember watching the Hawks lose to the Raiders in the AFC title game and then get angry as Ken Behring tried to move the team to Los Angeles.
But it is not just the Hawks.
I am not old enough to have the memories of the Sonics winning the NBA championship. For fans my age, who are diehard Seattle sports addicts, it is a commitment like no other.
We had hope that the Sonics would dethrone the Jordan-led Bulls, just to watch them give their all and lose in six games. We have nightmares of the Mariners winning 116 games and never even making it to the World Series. We all died a little inside when we saw Kevin Durant in a Thunder uniform for the first time.
In 2006, it seemed like it was our year to finally make a World Championship memory. We had Holmgren and Hasselbeck, and we were on a roll. But then came the nightmare, a referee from Pittsburgh, phantom penalties and “win one for the Bus.”
And yes, it was difficult to be a Red Sox fan for nearly a century. But fans in Boston also had the Bruins and Celtics to fall back on. And yes there are the Cubs. But fans in Chicago had the Bulls, Blackhawks and the Bears.
Other teams and cities have broken their losing ways. I have memories of when the Tampa Bay Bucks, New England Patriots, Devil Rays and Clippers were all the laughingstocks of their respective leagues.
But something is different this year with this team. The game against San Francisco was epic, memorable. We had rallies for the team in nearly every outlying city in the Puget Sound area. We have Blue Friday. A “12” lit up in two skyscrapers in downtown Seattle. We have the loudest stadium in the world.
But all the national media outlets talked about after the game was Richard Sherman’s emotional adrenaline-fueled rant. And they will remember that. But it was not the rant that people will remember around here in 10 or 20 years. It will be us beating our old division rival the Denver Broncos and the memory of “The Tip” that got us there.
Matt Phelps is the editor of the Kirkland Reporter and Bothell/Kenmore Reporter.