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The Lone 12th Ranger

By S. Jones

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I’m a fan far from home.

You might have seen me wandering the BSU campus with my double lined North Face Jacket and my Seahawks beanie representing the “hawks” logo. I love my city, Seattle Washington; (I call it the) Great Northwest.

There is a sense of community in Seattle surrounding “The Hawks”, our football team, and the 12th man fever has spread across the state. For those a little lost, the 12th man is not a 3rd string running back, or a backup wide receiver, but is a name given to the loudest fans in the NFL. A rowdy bunch fitted in blue and green. Prior to the game mobs of supporters fill the streets showing true dedication for tailgating festivities. Then after the brews and the barbeque, the crowd still has the Richter scale rocking.  All the while, ‘12th Man’ flags sailing high in the over casted Seattle skies with the looks of rain to soon follow.imgres

I write this and reminisce; I miss the drops of rain splashing my face, landing on my glasses. And it has been decided, that all though paper white snow has its beauty, the Washington rain and above 30 degree temperatures are much preferred to these frosty Bemidji Winter’s.

Watching the Hawks game live in the NFC divisional championship game against the 49ers gave me chills. The emotion that I got to see and hear from the stands and on the field via the television brought me right back home. Russell Wilson managed the game and threw for 215 yards with a beautiful touchdown pass to top it off to the home grown product Washington University alum Jermaine Kearse. “Beast Mode” also known as Marshawn Lynch had an inspiring performance and finished the game with 109 yards on the ground; the latest skittle signee.

As the game went on the naysayers grew louder. My friends here in Minnesota couldn’t help but envy. The house consisted of Viking, Bear, Cowboy, and Packer fans and the truth is all those teams are sitting at home and anticipating the ensuing NFL draft. The 12th man envy was in the atmosphere, it has even reached small town Bemidji. When the Seahawks squeaked past the 49ers 17-23 I was the opposite of surprised and of course. The NFC championship was capped by a deflected pass by Richard Sherman which was then intercepted by linebacker Malcom Smith. The game couldn’t have ended on a higher note. My fans, my city and my team, we ignore the naysayers and just take care of business, Marshawn Lynch on Media day as the country builds up for Superbowl XLVIII (48) said it best, “we about that action boss.”

All of Seattle and the surrounding area are behind the Hawks as they take on the Legend Peyton Manning and the Broncos. My Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds have been taken over by the mobs of 12th men and women; showing no shame in broadcasting to the word their extreme loyalty to “The Hawks”.

Partly in thanks to David Stern who stole our NBA franchise the Super Sonics R.I.P., and the embarrassment we have for a major league baseball team; the Mariners. I can’t leave out, and my female readers won’t let me forget to mention the Seattle Storm former WNBA champions; but right now, the Seahawks is ‘all we got’, and ‘I’m all in’!

With such a surely climatic ending waiting for the Seahawks, I wish I could be there at MetLife Stadium to witness it live or better yet on the couch with pops yelling at the refs through the TV screen. My excitement for the game partially boils down to the fact I miss home, that little house on 811 Olympia Avenue, I miss family, friends, the laid back free spiritedness, the headquarters of Starbucks, I miss that place on the top left corner of the United States.

As I applaud, coach, hurrah and cheer so loud I lose my voice, I must say I will be glad to be watching the Superbowl with good company here in Bemidji, Minnesota. I’ll also be orchestrating a toast for the ‘Crib’, The Northwest West, and all the 12th men and women out there.

Finally I want to leave you all with this, Bemidji: Vikings suck! Go Hawks! Laugh out loud. It’s a joke Minnesota. Vikings hopefully we’ll run into each other next year. “12th man”, out!