Everyone loves a comeback

Sometimes, you just need to see with your own eyes and feel the impossible win.

The life-changing magic of never giving up…

I can’t believe it’s playoff time again.

I can’t believe I care...

(See what I did there?)

If I’m watching a sport, one of my kids is playing. Or it’s the last 5 minutes of a college basketball game… But I’m talking about football (can you believe it, Dad?). Hang with me though, if you’re a hater. There’s a point.

Up here in Washington, they get a little excited about their Seahawks. And it’s a little contagious. Okay, a lot contagious. And not just because I live with some serious fans.

There are friendships forged in the hardest of times. When we’re together, our conversations are often about the nearest and dearest to our hearts — our families, our faith, our prayers. Football doesn’t fit.

But last January, we talked about the game.

Over tea. Over coffee. Over lunch…

And we might have gotten a little teary about 3:52 and 19 to 7.

If you’re a Seattle Seahawks fan, you know what I mean.

On January 18, 2015, chances are, if you live in Seattle, you listened to the conference playoff game on the radio because your power was out. If you were lucky enough to have TV, you kind of wished you didn’t. Because it was bad. Too many turnovers. Too painful to watch.

Chances are you reminded yourself we’re a second half team and then you got giddy because the guy who’s supposed to hold the ball for the kicker threw it instead to a guy you’d never seen before — a trick play like kids do in pickup games on playgrounds — and it worked. (This is what it sounded like on Seattle radio.) You dared to believe…and then…another interception.

The clock ticked away. Fail after fail.

Chances are, you turned off the radio once Steve Raible began to sound hopeless. Or you changed the TV channel. Or you left the stadium…

win probability 2
graph cred: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/201501180sea.htm

With 5 minutes left in the game, the Seahawks had a .1% chance of winning.

Point One Percent.

The odds were decidedly NOT in their favor.

The Seahawks got the ball again with 3:52 left to play in the game. And they had to get two touchdowns in order to win.

No way.

It seemed impossible. And it was. (see graph for statistical proof)

But when the Seahawks got the ball again, with 3:52 left in the game and the score was 19  to 7, something changed.

Marshawn Lynch moved up the field 14 yards in those golden shoes and suddenly, it was on. And Kam Chancellor was running down the sidelines yelling to Russell Wilson that Doug is open! Throw it to Doug! like he’s 14 years old. And you saw the team light up with him. And then Russell Wilson ran in for the touchdown with 2:13 left in the game.

And the strangely sad, silent crowd — normally infamous for their volume — rallied, too. Even while the commentators were claiming the victory for the Packers. How awesome is it that even though we’re going to lose this game, they’re not giving up? We said to ourselves. What a great example for the children.

And then, my goodness. A rookie gets the ball back in an onside kick. And now you dared to hope, not breathing at all. And holy cow, when those gold-soled feet ran 24 yards to score ANOTHER touchdown with just 95 seconds left in the game and you could hear the whole neighborhood cheer because what is even happening??

And then, a desperation pass as Wilson ran out of time and threw the ball up on his way down but the other Willson miraculously caught it and put the Seahawks ahead by 3 points.

Are you kidding me? (that’s my Steve Raible impression, right there)

But wait. Nope. Way too much time left… funny how that happens…and the Packers wanted it so bad. And now the game is tied and going into overtime and you just. want. it. to. be. over. Because good grief, you DIDN’T EVEN CARE. And now you do. And the tension of overtime is way too much…

But Seattle’s so awake now in overtime. Wilson to Lynch. Wilson to Baldwin. Wilson to Lynch. Wilson to Baldwin. And then a beautiful thing…

Every time Russell Wilson threw to Jermaine Kearse in that game it failed. Every. Time. All four interceptions were intended for Kearse. But both Wilson and Kearse have the guts to try again.

Chances are, if you’re  a Seahawks fan, you maybe cried just a bit when the guy who’d played the worst game of life up til a few minutes before hit his knees and gave God the glory. Because you know he must have prayed that ball into Kearse’s hands for the win. And maybe you cried a little more when he said he wished his dad had been there to see it.

Chances are, when the shock wore off and the win sank in, you realized that you just saw something happen in real life that only happens in the movies.

And you started thinking about the things you think only have a fraction of a percent of turning out well.

About the hard things. The times you’ve failed and can’t bear to try again. The times you’ve wanted to give up on that kid, that man because chances are the chances are impossible and the odds are against.

I wonder as I write this, What sparked that unbelievable Seattle comeback? What fueled it? Was it the 12th Man? Was it their roar of encouragement at the slightest hint of turning things around? Was it the injured superstar players who refused to leave the game? Was it Pete Carroll, good old positive Pete who didn’t give up on Russell Wilson and pull him out of the game?Was it Russell Wilson who just kept at it over and over until he got it right?

Everyone loves a comeback, but not everyone has the guts to believe it can happen and see it through to the end.

Sometimes, you just need to see with your own eyes and feel the impossible.

That’s what we said over tea. Over coffee. Over lunch. Even if it’s football. Because it’s not really about the game at all.

It’s about hope. About how it’s never over til it’s over. About how the impossible CAN happen in real life. About how encouragement may come from the most unlikely places. About how even the strongest fall and have to pick themselves up and keep on fighting. About how what you believe about yourself affects your actions. It’s about throwing the ball one more time to a guy who’s missed over and over and that one more time is the most important time of all but you’re giving him another chance.

It’s about never leaving the game early.

Never give up. Never. Ever. Ever. Not on yourself. Not on that friend. And mama, don’t ever give up on your kid.

It may take perseverance. It may take a miracle. But comebacks do happen and they are beautiful.

Dave and me as farmers
Me and my comeback guy.

P.S. GO ‘HAWKS!

(12th Man Flag from Seattle Seahawks http://www.seahawks.com/wallpaper)

12 great things you learn when you skip school to go to a Super Bowl parade

I get why school wasn’t cancelled for the Seattle Seahawks victory parade. People had to work, I appreciate that. But for my family, it was worth dropping everything to go — and they even learned a few things:

 

Russell Wilson

Excused or unexcused – my kids were going to the Seahawks parade.

I was 8 when the Broncos had their first Super Bowl sendoff parade through downtown Denver. And I remember the insane adoration my family, my street (Bronco Road), school, entire city had for that team. The similarities to this Seahawk season are crazy: a notorious nicknamed defense, the loudest stadium and most fervent fans, a Friday unwritten dress code at school, edging out their Bay Area rival at home for the AFC championship . . . my Washington-raised kids have been reliving my childhood.

My dad had to work that day, so my mom took us downtown to celebrate. I remember running up to the convertibles with my brothers to get players’ autographs: Haven Moses, Lyle Alzado, Randy Gradishar . . . I went looking to see if schools were officially let out for the 1978 “Orange Crush Day” and never got the facts, but I found this:

“Denver should have gotten the Nobel Peace Prize that year,” Haven Moses says. “There was more done that year to bring people together than I’ve ever seen in my life. It transformed the attitudes of this city.”

Just like Seattle, 36 years later. . . only this time, the hometown heroes won it all.

I get why school wasn’t cancelled for the Seattle Seahawks victory parade. People had to work, I appreciate that. But for my family, it was worth dropping everything to go — and they even learned a few things:

  1. What it means to peacefully assemble. Mass gatherings on the news and in movies always seem to end in destruction or violence. But Seattle proved you don’t have to fear of the worst, you don’t have to destroy things to celebrate, and that policemen not only ensure safety and enforce boundaries, but they will also give you “how much longer” updates when all the smart phones fail.
  2. That patience pays off. Standing in the freezing cold for six hours is a long time when you have nothing to do but carve out your space on the sidewalk. But the long wait eventually became a fantastic front row seat – #worthit. (Here, my Washington native husband adds, “We waited 39 years!” Also, friends make time go by faster and you whine less.)
  3. Plan ahead, go early, dress warm, bring snacks, and take a pen – better yet, just trust your parents. My husband is the king of prepared, so we endured the groggy grumbles and took a ferry to Seattle at dawn. And let’s just say the children who listened to me about layers were happier than the one who refused to wear sweats under his jeans. On the other hand, they were right about the pen – “It’s not the 70’s mom, you can’t just run up to cars.”
  4. What pot smells like, and more importantly, that mom and dad know what pot smells like. (speaking of the 70’s)
  5. What a hero’s welcome is. It’s in literature, in history, in movies, but we don’t get to see this level of mass unrestrained, joyful enthusiasm often in real life.
  6. What a “mass of humanity” means. When you live in a town of 9,000 people, your physical concept of population is limited. When the kids hear “hundreds of thousands of people” were affected by a natural disaster, or famine, or war, they’re going to have some context for it.
  7. That you can be kind but firm even in the midst of chaos. For every rude line cutter, there was a gracious grandma like the one next to us. “We’ve gotta remember it’s for the kids,” she’d say nice and loud to shovers. “You ain’t standing in front of them.”
  8. That generosity generates loyalty. Here’s my shout out to the staff of Bartell’s on the corner of 4th and Madison who welcomed a whole lot of people into their store who just to wanted to get warm and use their bathroom. Thank you! After an hour in that line, my youngest knows not only what kind of dental care items we need — but where we will buy them.
  9. That even superstars are human – and it’s beautiful when they’re humble. Anyone close enough to see their faces knows the Seahawks were as delighted by the crowd as we were by them. And Warren Moon – hanging out the window of the Duck with all the childish delight you hear on the radio . . . I had tears.
  10. What total unity and community feels like. For a historic moment in time, nearly a million people had one happy heart and purpose. Oh yeah, everybody was feeling the love.
  11. That it’s possible to survive without a cell phone. Our batteries died, we split up to get to the ferry home (#WSF #ftw), split up again to find the one who went to the bathroom and got lost in the sea of people in the terminal, and somehow managed to make it home together.
  12. That parents are still in charge of their kids. Sometimes, it feels like everyone has authority over our kids but us. Every now and then the kids need to know dad and mom are still the boss of them, and if they want to take them out of school for a moment of history, it’s going to happen.

My family moved away from Denver in the summer of 1978 and we never moved back. But that magical season has stayed with me the way I know this one will with my boys. We won’t sit down with this list like it’s homework. (I can hear them now . . . “Mom! Stop! You’re ruining it!”) But if anyone happens to be assigned an essay about the value of the parade — just the sort of joy-sucking assignment I may have given once upon a time — I figured I’d save them the pain of dissecting a beautiful day. Just print this out and give it to your teacher.

IMG_20140205_110913_272Warren Moon

Defensive Line

Running Backs

Pete Carrol

Wide Receivers

Wide receivers 2

BeastmodeIMG_20140205_155155_431

Marshawn Lynch hit Calvin with this Skittle…And everyone’s phone died before we could get pictures of Richard Sherman, but his smile wins — well, after Calvin’s.

Addendum: my mom read this post, and she says we skipped school back in ’78, too.