(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
By Trevor Williams, Sports Radio KJR
On Sunday, Richard Sherman hosted a celebrity softball tournament at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, WA which attracted quite the crowd.
7,000 plus fans crammed into the stands at Cheney for a sunny afternoon of softball, fun, and fundraising to end their Fourth of July weekend.
The attention Seattle’s sports fans paid to this particular event exposed a few things about the current state of sports in the Northwest.
First off, Seattle’s fans are hungry for something to latch onto and feel good about. A 4-2 road trip for the Mariners isn’t quite enough. These fans want a team to really trust in and follow into the playoffs and beyond.
Secondly, it shows the power of one local team that is rising above the rest. The Seahawks have put together a roster that has connected with local fans and is capable of entertaining a city that needs it, on and off the field.
As we near the MLB All Star Break and a classic dead period for Seattle sports, it’s refreshing to realize there is a lot of hype in our own backyard surrounding a team with phenomenally big expectations.
However, Jason Puckett posed an important question today on the Furness Show. Should Seahawk fans fear the hype that is starting to surround Seattle?
The answer is complicated and arguable, however, it seems like most sports fans have come to an agreement. If the Seahawks are really going to be what we want them to be (champions), they are going to have to embrace the hype!
Now with players like Richard Sherman, don’t expect this to be a problem. He, for one, obviously isn’t bashful!
In fact, many of the Seahawks display a type of swagger on and off the field. It’s not necessarily cockiness, but rather confidence. This, unfortunately, can be scary for a sports city that hasn’t had much to be confident about. The last teams in Seattle that really held big preseason expectations were probably the 1991 Washington Huskies (football) and 1994 Seattle Sonics. It’s safe to say, Seattle is usually cautiously pessimistic when it comes to sports (minus whatever happens to the city during spring training when sports fans believe the Mariners will finally be better! After all, next year is always the year for the Mariners!).
What Puckett and his producer, Curtis Crabtree, said today went against all these fears. It’s time to believe in a Seahawks team who has earned success. Our city knows that this team was built in a very strong front office and has been coached to play as a high energy, excitable, and successful bunch.
Seattle needs to embrace being in the spotlight for once. If the Seahawks are going to make the run local football fans dream about at night, they have to be able to be the best on and off the field. Teams that reached the championship-level play Seattle hopes for, like the Yankees, Patriots, and Heat embraced the media attention and played their game.
So, let the Seahawks play their game. For now, it means going out and connecting with the city and relaxing until camp begins on July 25th. These Seahawks (not just the ones who competed in the home run derby on Sunday) are ready to turn this season into a home run. Players talk about expectations and they know they are good. Seattle rightfully is in full countdown mode leading up to camp. Not because the city’s expectations and hype are too much, but rather because it is new and unusual for this sports community. In fact, it’s more than unusual. It’s uncharted and exciting territory for fans that haven’t had much to be thrilled about since the Hawks final playoff game, last season (minus the last 35 seconds).
Time should soon show sports fans two things. First, it will show Seattle if the Hawks hype is justified and then, (if it is) it will show Seattle what it feels like to be confident about a team and see them on a national stage, daily. The latter should leave the emerald city drooling. After July 25th it would be a great change of pace for local sports fans to feel genuinely excited about a team when they wake up.
Keep hyping it up Hawks fans. Training camp is just around the corner. If the first few weeks of the season go well, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility, the Seahawks could very well put Seattle on the verge of pandemonium.
The hype is real until such time it is no longer warranted. Embrace it.