Shedding tears for a great season | Skager

Seahawks fans are at a loss after a tough, season-ending defeat. - Frank Shires/cartoonist
Seahawks fans are at a loss after a tough, season-ending defeat.
— image credit: Frank Shires/cartoonist

Last Sunday was an emotional day in the Skager household.

For the last six months our Sunday routine has revolved around our beloved Seahawks. Now the ride that was the team's 12-6 run – including a magnificent 24-14 come-from-behind playoff win on the road against the Redskins and an almost as glorious comeback at Atlanta that fell just short with a 30-28 loss – was over.

After the loss my 14-year-old son and fervent 12th man Conner, was devastated. As I consoled him by pointing out how blessed we were to cheer on our home team as they BeastModed (hey, I'm a professional writer ... I can verb a word if I want) their way through a slew of unsuspecting victims, slaying powerhouses like the 49ers, the Packers and the Patriots, the tears begin to flow from his eyes.

I must confess that at first I was a little taken aback by the outpouring of emotion. I'm not typically opposed to an outpouring of emotion, it's just that I've never invested that much in a team or sporting event. And trust me, growing up as a Broncos fan in the late '70s and '80s, I had plenty of opportunities to ball (five Super Bowl trips, five losses. C'mon! In fact, if there was ever a time I came close to crying it was in 1998 when Denver finally won the Super Bowl).

I realized at that moment, watching Conner tear up over the fate of his team, that I just never had that passion when it came to sports. I just never let it all go, poured all my emotion into a team like Conner had this season with the Seahawks. Perhaps it's what makes me a good sportswriter, the ability to step away from the emotion of the game, to observe in a detached way and report on the emotion I witness.

Trojans' mighty run

This season the Seahawks were not the only surprising football team I had the pleasure of watching. As I watched Conner cry I thought back to a day not so long ago in the Tacoma Dome, when the Auburn Trojan football team gathered on the turf after losing their 4A semifinal match 21-19 to Bellarmine Prep. There were tears then as well.

"It hurts because of how much time you put into it," Trojans coach Gordon Elliott told his team.

Just a year removed from a 4-6 season, the warriors of Troy, much like the Seahawks, surprised everybody by making it further than anyone would have expected before the first game of the season. And although there is no denying that athletic talent and good coaching played a vital role in both teams' seasons, it was the passion, the buy-in of the players who made the crucial difference.

Next year Conner begins his second season as lineman in the Stadium High School football program. And although I know there may be rough times ahead for him, playing for a team that does not have a strong tradition of success on the gridiron, I'm excited about what lies ahead for him.

Who knows, maybe the passion that he displays for the game, a passion shared with the players he admires like Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch, or even high school athletes like Auburn's Harold Lee and Kevin Shelton, might be enough to help him put together the season he'll remember for a lifetime.

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