Rev. Rich Lang
Celebrating the 12th Man in their Super Bowl victory, the Seahawks remind us we are on the same team
Wow! What an outpouring of love, adoration and sheer giddiness last week at the Seahawks parade. The entire city was aglow over a football team.
Some might wonder why. After all, football is a gruesomely violent sport that pulverizes the bodies of its participants. Every player risks brain damage, certainly long-term pain and hours upon hours undergoing medical care for various ailments, bruises and bone breaks. The sport as a professional media event is most certainly capitalism’s version of bread and circus that distract the masses from the injustice of everyday life. And, as the opening image of those Apache attack helicopters flying over the field before the kickoff demonstrates, football flows seamlessly into the supportive militarism of American Empire.
But this year, this game of millionaires playing with pigskins transcended all that. The players themselves understood that there are cultural and spiritual bonds that form between entertainers and the audience, between leaders and followers, between celebrities and the masses. This year there was a sharing of the stage as the mythical 12th Man, the audience, the followers, the mass, were all invited to be part of the stage, part of the game plan, part of the team. Such invitation was what was shared at the parade and what was celebrated in the victory. The willingness of the Seahawks to return adoration to their fans enhanced our own identity with the team. The resulting burst of civic pride, the ecstatic outflowing of “we are in this together” has been a special moment. The Seahawks can win five more Lombardi trophies, but this year, this moment will never be repeated. And for this moment, this happiness, this merging of player and audience, we can all be thankful.
We can be thankful because this moment reveals something about life. It’s like the curtain has been pulled back showing us a truth largely repressed. The truth is that, as a city, we are one body, one people. Housed and homeless, wealthy and poor, male and female, gay and straight, red, yellow, black and white, all of us precious in the sight of simply being one body. Imagine what we could do if we kept living that truth.
One small example happened in United Methodist churches. Seattle Methodists challenged Denver Methodists to a “Souper Bowl” competition. The result was the raising of close to 160,000 donations of food items and money to local food banks, soup kitchens and meal programs. It didn’t save the world, but it did show the power of small bands of people uniting for a higher purpose.
That, too, is part of the Seahawks’ victory. That, too, is a moment of greatness. And that, too, is part of this special time in the life of our city. May this time of benevolence and solidarity increase and multiply. Together, as one body, let us reveal the goodness of life.