The Cover 4.com presents you with The Bad Kid’s My Best Friend: Being a Seahawks Fan in the Age of Richard Sherman! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @thecover4 or facebook at theCo VerFour
Growing up I had one sports idol, Edgar Martinez. I learned early on to pick sports heroes that you actually had the physical abilities to dream about being. Edgar was short, kinda fat and hit doubles. I wasn’t short, but I was fat and I hit lots of doubles. Done and done.
But the first player I wanted to be like in every other aspect of life was Gary Payton. I went to a game circa 1994 with my dad and could not take my eyes off The Glove. Sure he was an amazing player with incredible body control, the quickest hands I’ve ever seen and (eventually) a nice jump shot, but it was more than that. Payton was never just about his basketball skills. Payton mentally owned whichever player he was on the court with.
The shit talking, the chest bumping, the way he always seemed to be talking out of the side if his mouth. GP didn’t beat guys, he owned them. Being a Sonics fan at the time was like being best friends with the bad kid in school. Sure, he never stopped talking, was always challenging authority and sometimes got you sent to detention with him. But that detention was a whole hell of a lot more fun than eating lunch at the quiet table.
After the Sonics traded GP in 2003, Seattle fans went a while with no bad kids in our circle of friends. Shaun Alexander couldn’t stop smiling. Ray Allen was awesome, but ultra-focused and was a bit of a recluse off the court. Matt Hasselbeck won our hearts, but in the “I’d want my sister to marry him” kind of way. If you call Felix Hernandez anything that involved the word bad, the King’s Court will try to fight you. Those guys all worked great in different ways. Seattleites pride themselves on their polite, because they’re not dicks, reputation, so those heroes worked.
With the 154th pick in the 2011 draft, the Seahawks selected a converted wide receiver out of Stanford. And with that move, Seattle had its bad friend back.
Richard Sherman is a package made for Seattle fans. He always believes he’s the smartest guy in the room (or the best at life depending on the audience). He has never held back in saying whatever he wants. He has a sense of humor that led to him hiring the ref that called Golden Tate’s touchdown against Green Bay as the ump for his celebrity softball fundraiser. He writes articles for Sports Illustrated. He’s the loudest, most charismatic, biggest troublemaker in school. And we love being friends with him.
Seattleites embracing the bad kid seems like a bit of a contradiction. Seattle is full of the quieter, rebellious within-the-lines kind of people (you may call them hipsters). But when it comes to football, the city’s inner party animal comes out. And when the animal is loose, it wants to run with Sherman.
Being friends with the bad kid means you have to put up with defending your friend to a lot of people who do not share your view of that friend. He talks too much, he got burned in the Atlanta game at times, he’s not all he’s cracked up to be. But when the bad kid backs up all the ish he talks, oh man is it fun. Sherman tells teams he’s going to beat them. Then he beats them. Then he reminds them that he said he was going to beat them and then beat them. And we as fans get to ride at his side, cackling the whole time.
It’s been a long time since Seattle had the baddest kid in school as its friend. But we’ve been waiting for him to come back. And now that he has, we can’t stop egging him on and rejoicing in his success. Winning is always going to be the key that holds it together. But winning in detention will always be more fun than treading water at the quiet table.
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Guest Sports Activist for The Cover 4