By Mike Gold, a retired entrepreneur "living the dream in the Pacific Northwest."
The Mariners and the Seahawks: For some reason, professional football seems to have taken the place of professional baseball in defining part of who a city is.
For me, growing up in New York City, it was the Brooklyn Dodgers (when they were still playing at the old Ebbets Field in Brooklyn), or the New York Yankees who defined the essence of being from New York.
Kids lived or died on the daily batting averages of their heroes. Mickey Mantle was one of my childhood heroes. In the Movie “A Bronx Tale “ - written by Chazz Palminteri – who also plays the lead mobster character Sonny, he is talking to the young kid he takes under his wing. The kid, nicknamed “C” by Sonny, is talking about how great Mickey Mantle is.
Sonny tells C: “What’s so great about Mickey Mantle. He doesn’t care about you or your family. If your father lost his job, see if Mickey Mantle will write a check to your family.”
Poor C, you could see the idolatry drain out of his face as he realized that sports heroes were just well paid people who wouldn’t or couldn’t really help the ordinary working folk. But let your team get into the Super Bowl or the World Series and suddenly the entire city comes together and becomes one with the team.
From the movie “Field of Dreams:”
“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come.”
Well, time seems to have rendered that quote (spoken by James Earl Jones in the movie) inoperative. The country seems to have left Baseball in second place behind Football.
I’ve been to both a Seahawks and University of Washington football game. Frankly, the fans are equally nuts at both. Unlike their east coast brethren, however, the Pacific Northwest fans have a modicum of respect and decorum. I was not thrown up on, urinated on, nor did I nearly come to blows with any fans out here (unlike my experiences back east). So a nod to the Pacific Northwest.
Last comment about the Mariners and baseball. This team simply is not good. So I respectfully suggest that we should all find some other cause about which to rally rather than waiting for the Mariners.
I have to give this nod to New England and the Boston Red Sox. After waiting since 1918, they have won several World Series using the “system” outlined in the movie: “Moneyball.”
The best part of the first victory was the Red Sox beating the New York Yankees 4-3 after being down 0-3 in the American League Championship series in 2004. And beating them in the 7th game in Yankee Stadium. Priceless! Of course, we all knew the World Series that year (St. Louis Cardinals) was a mere formality (Red Sox won 4-0).
The Seahawks: This is a reasonably good football team. Of course, being from New England it is hard to compare the Seahawks with the Patriots (and Tom Brady).
We hosted a Super Bowl party the first time the Patriots played against the Giants in SuperBowl XLII – (2008). The Pats were ahead until late in the 4th quarter when the Giants drove down the field and scored the winning touchdown. I was crushed. It would have been the fourth ring for Brady. (He’s now looking for his 6th.)
Here I was 3,000 miles from New England and my psyche was still tied up in a stupid football game.
Then, even worse, The Giants did it again four years later. Same exact end of game Giants drive. (Four point loss vs. three point in the earlier game.) It was this experience that brought me to the same point as the character C in “A Bronx Tale.” You can’t tie yourself up in rooting for a team to the extent that it seems to control your life. (A life or death event!)
Pete Carroll is a good coach. Frankly, he did a poor job as head coach of the Patriots (and the NY Jets). It was thought at the time that he was an excellent college coach – but marginal in the NFL. Well apparently he learned from his experience at USC and is now a very good NFL coach. And like Bill Belichick at the Patriots – a very good judge of talent. He has proven excellent at finding talent overlooked by others and fitting them into his system.
Snoqualmie Falls: Sorry, no nod to the Pacific Northwest. What’s so special about gravity doing what it does to water, apples (Sir Isaac Newton), and your body.
The Northeast has Niagara Falls. Now that’s worth visiting. As are Angel Falls (Venezuela), Ramnefjells Falls (Norway), Olo'upena Falls (Hawaii), and Victoria Falls (Zambia). All these falls are at least ten times higher than Snoqualmie.
The scenery at Snoqualmie is very nice. On a sunny day you get to experience what is great about the Pacific Northwest. Only problem is you have to get on I-90 or worse, either I-405 or I-5. (Plan on going during the day on a weekday!) And what’s with putting lights on the falls at night. Sheesh, where is a young couple going to park at night?