If you're in Seattle, you can't help but notice that many fans have been celebrating and partying since the Seahawks won the Super Bowl in February of 2014. With their amazing win over Green Bay on Sunday, that ecstatic energy continues to grow. But some of us would prefer the "old days" when the Seahawks were a backwater mediocre team.
The seemingly happy people with their Seahawks jerseys, "12" flags all over place and constant "we're number one" and "we won the Super Bowl" and "we're going to do it again" was fun for a while, but it's getting old. Then, there's the number "12" plastered on everything to designate the Seahawks fans as "the 12th Man." In that seemingly innocuous statement, I find the essence of what is destroying us as individuals and as a species.
We all want to belong. We're a tribal people. However, being in a tribe means participating, not standing on the sidelines as a spectator -- to the game and to life.
We also have to realize that in the past few decades, "our tribe" has expanded to include all life on the tiny, fragile planet my mentor and teacher Buckminster Fuller named Spaceship Earth. Bucky taught that we humans have reached a critical moment in our evolution in which it's everybody or nobody surviving and thriving on Earth. This philosophy is similar, if not identical, to the Buddha's teachings as well as the wisdom of every genuine spiritual teacher I have ever experienced.
Unity among all people has shifted from a good idea to a necessity for the people of Earth. If one person is suffering, we all suffer.
So, while Seattle fans are joyous over their "big win," Wisconsin residents are unhappy, depressed and suffering. Neither extreme is unifying or beneficial. Winning and losing are simply two sides of the same coin, and neither serves us -- especially if we are as attached to winning and losing as most avid spectator sports fans seem to be.
This is especially true when a city or state or school has a winning team. It's fun for many people (including me) to watch a game and cheer for one side or the other. However, when that game is over, it needs to be fully over for everyone -- including the spectators.
This is very relevant in our era of modern spectator sports. No longer are most people playing sports. Instead, most are watching and believing that their cheers and purchasing of team products have something to do with the outcome on the field. In reality, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Modern spectator sport is amusement and drama staged to entertain. It also produces vast revenue for a very small number of very wealthy people who have professionals creating lots of hype.
Seahawks owner Paul Allen is among the top 50 richest people in the world, and he is by far the wealthiest NFL owner. Still, lots of Seattle residents brag about "our winning team." In reality, none of those fans have anything to do with the team other than watching it on TV, perhaps paying exorbitant prices for a ticket to a game or buying jerseys, hats flags, etc. Had the Seahawks not pulled off an amazing upset win, all that noise of those fans would have stopped, and Seattle would have gone mute.
Following the win over Green Bay, people outside my Capitol Hill (Seattle) window were screaming as if they had actually accomplished something other than watch a game and get drunk. Fireworks were being shot off, car horns were honking and sirens were wailing all over as happy (often drunk) fans entered into celebrations that no doubt resulted in lots of Seattle police and ER overtime.
So, the Seattle Seahawks mania will continue for at least another two weeks as people pretend that they have something to do with the team. And they'll keep buying the merchandise, which seems to make people feel that they are part of the team. It would be great to see someone wearing a Seahawks jersey at work in a bank or a grocery store on a Friday before a game take a hit from a real Seahawks team member. That might cut down on the belief that just because you wear the jersey or the cap or fly a "12" flag from your car, you have anything to do with this team of hired mercenaries willing to destroy their bodies and minds for a large paycheck in a very violent spectator sport.
When a team is winning, people act like teenagers after high school graduation, which, in fact, is an accomplishment worth celebrating. When a team like the Seahawks loses the city goes quiet, and most people can enjoy the peaceful and calm of the Northwest.
Not so right now. More celebrating. More drunken fans driving and celebrating in the street. And more high-fives between people who don't have anything better to do with their lives celebrating "their big win."