Portland loves the Blazers, and why wouldn’t they? They’ve been their team, in their city for more than 40 years. Portland loves the Timbers; they’re the second major sports team the city’s been waiting for seemingly since eternity. And Oregon loves their Ducks and Beavers, primarily due to alumni ties, family connections, and/or pride in something geography allows them to call their own. But in the wake of the Seahawks’ recent success, I’m left to ask the following: Why do so many Oregonians love them, and if they do, should they?
Before, during, and after last weekend’s Seahawks win over New Orleans, social media was overrun with love for a team 200 miles from here, in an adjacent state to here, and playing for a city not here. I saw motivational pictures, shout-outs, and evidence of the type of allegiance typically reserved for one’s nearest and dearest. It reminded me of the Blazers, reminded me of the Timbers, and reminded me of what I’ve come to expect from Beaver and Duck fans on game day afternoons throughout sports’ most passionate time of the year. And I’m not sure how I feel about it. I rooted for Seattle as a kid. They weren’t my team, for stemming from Los Angeles, I grew-up rooting for a Ram team tied to the area for which most of my family still lived. But they were the team from the “area” I presently resided and the one close enough to kinda, sorta call my home. I didn’t know how far Seattle was, didn’t care what its relationship to Portland was, and certainly didn’t think twice about what “they” thought about the city I actually called my own. I was 11, I just liked Dave Krieg, liked Steve Largent, and liked the fact that surrounding sentiment made me feel like they were my home team, fighting for the emotional investment I made every Sunday from September thru the New Year.
However, as I got older I began to understand that Seattle really was more than a few miles away, it really wasn’t kinda, sorta my home, and the fine people from the Emerald City don’t really want Oregonians piggy-backing their team, from their city, with the players they call their own.
We’re not really supposed to like Seattle … they’re our rival. Do you root for the Huskies? Did you root for the Sonics before they moved to Oklahoma City? And I know you don’t root for the Sounders, and they don’t root for you!
If the Trail Blazers won another NBA Championship, would you want Seattle throwing a parade? Of course not. I understand that the individual franchises sell their products as the “Northwest’s” teams, because they have a financial stake in bringing more people into the fold. But I don’t want Seattle staking a claim on our Blazers, any more than they want you planting a flag in what truly is theirs.
I’m not saying you can’t be a Seahawks fan merely because you live in Portland. People like different teams for all sorts of different reasons. You may like a specific player. You may have a connection to a particular city or state which “your” team resides. Or you may have history tied to a franchise you rooted for since you were a kid. But what I am saying is; don’t root for Seattle because their “close enough,” and don’t root for Seattle because their kinda, sorta yours, because they aren’t THAT close and they aren’t KINDA, SORTA yours, they’re Seattle’s … and they’ll let you know it any chance they get.