The Catharsis of Fandom or The Team We Are Stuck With

The thing about a reckoning is that it is, or is supposed to be, cathartic.

In these moments of reckoning, we calculate — conceive — a trajectory, and watch it chart its own course through nebulous zeniths and nadirs, transforming and undulating until, at its end, it concludes in a great becoming. We do not prize reckoning for any certainty it brings, for certainty is improbable. Or for judgment, which is premature, but for the greatest victory of catharsis: peace.

Unfortunately, there will be no reckoning for us sad fans of the Seahawks today. Nor will there be one tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, or, probably, for a long measure of time. Fandom is not, and never has been, cathartic. We do not cheer and scream and invent memes and become videographers because of peace. No. Instead, we are evoked by the siren whispering of a fiery enthusiasm; a hidden love of conflict and chaos; a revelation in the unknowable.

But this is exhausting, and what we all of us need is a reckoning, a moment of peace before fandom reasserts itself later this year, demanding more of our attention than the other loves of our lives would wish to give it.

There are, broadly speaking, two narratives that will compete for the conviction of our certainty over the course of the next several months. The first is that Brian Schottenheimer, a beneficiary of nepotism, possesses sufficient fatal flaws, of which the Seahawks last game of the season was a dimly-lit, horrific, and telling example. As an OC, he lacks the talent or the will, or the something else, in whatever combination, needed to overcome a deficit of greater than 10 yards. As a DC, all you need to do is scheme an offensive holding play, and the drive is over.

And yet, what is Schotty if not a creation of Peter Clay Carroll? He is, after all, implementing precisely the kind of offense that Carroll adores; that Carroll is philosophically rooted into believing most closely correlates with victory, in spite of increasing evidence that that belief is not true. The entire offense, from Schotty and Carroll to Wilson et al., have coalesced around the notion that the way in which they’ve played all season long is the best and brightest, and there is nothing that any of us can do to persuade them otherwise. Like Luke Skywalker trying to use the Force to arise his X-Wing from the Degoban muck, they believe that certain efforts are impossible, and are thus doomed to fail.

This team we love is the one we are stuck with.

But there is a competing narrative: that Schotty and Carroll, along with Norton, coached a team that is sorely lacking in talent. Aside from Russell Wilson, Duane Brown, Tyler Lockett, Frank Clark, Bobby Wagner, Jarran Reed, and Dickson (not the TE, duh) are there any top-10 players on this team at their respective position group? Schottenheimer undoubtedly helped RW with his footwork, and clearly tried to help him with some bad habits that developed as a result of dealing with phantom pressure from the two and a half prior years of Tom Cable Thanos; a visionary who believed that Wilson was only good when running, and so happy to oblige him. Schotty, Carroll, and Solari turned what was a historically bad rushing attack into something league-average, and, though the outcome was closer to mediocre, the progress was enormous. The Seahawks often scored (!) many points (!!), frequently in the first half of their games (!!!), and many of their victories occurred only after the offense carried the defense (!!!!), and it was mostly fun (!!!!!).

William of Ockham never wrote about razors, never even referenced razors, and so it’s weird that we still call that logical formulation most attributed to him by that name. But so let’s Occam’s Razor that shit: don’t multiply narratives without necessity. Or take it back to Aristotle: the best narrative is the one derives from fewer postulates, and what is most likely to be true is symmetrical to itself.

The reckoning is this: there are grains of truth in both or all narratives, and the truest one doesn’t hierarchize them, or make one more true than another, or assign greater importance, or priority, or supremacy. It can all be true, and if you find yourself a partisan of one more or less strongly than another, it says more about you than it does about them. For they are unchanging.

My reckoning, for now, is done. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Here’s to hoping that when you turn that razor on your own takes, it leads to catharsis. Maybe take a nap for two months. Rediscover a hobby. Stand in the rain and cry. Whatever: the Seahawks, and fandom, will be there when you get back.

Until then, know that peace will be yours, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.