Hawk Watch

seahawks_parade

George and me after the parade

It’s a good day to live in Seattle.

This is not breaking news, but the Seattle Seahawks have made their mark as Super Bowl champions and my hometown has erupted in frenzied ecstatic cheering.

A few weeks ago, the news of a victory parade downtown made me shudder—large crowds=stampede, death and mayhem in my mind. Perhaps I was raised by protective parents (okay, fine, I was raised by protective parents) but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing! A dear friend invited me to come with her and her family to the parade. In that moment, I knew I’d regret saying no. So, I swallowed my anxiety, strapped my baby to my chest in his Ergo, and armed his ears with earmuffs–the ones that you use for ear protection at a shooting range.

Our bus slowly crammed to maximum capacity, chock full of fans wearing green and blue on every part of their body. Every now and then someone broke into an uncontrollable whoop. It was our day. It was our victory. I once read that fans in a stadium experience something miraculous while watching

George rocking his earmuffs

George rocking his earmuffs

sports—through the function of “mirror neurons” an observer feels the adrenaline rush and thrill that s/he would feel if s/he were performing the maneuvers on the playing field. So, in a strange, psychic sense, Seattle itself had felt itself win the Super Bowl right along with the actual Seahawks. I’m not an avowed sports person, but I stuff like this makes me smile.

We inched our way to a spot in the crowd that allowed us a slivered view of the 4th, the street on which the parade would pass. Onlookers had been gathering since early in the morning, and all prime standing room was taken. I held my arms in a circle around George’s body on my best, and found myself hardly pushed at all. Either this was a nice crowd, or having a baby is like get-nice-treatment card. Either way, I liked it.

Even before the parade reached us, people were screaming. At air. They even told us they were screaming and whooping at nothing but air. When the procession of cars and vans and The Duck (an amphibious truck that gives tourist tours of Seattle over the streets and through Lake Union) finally rolled down the street, the screaming in the crowd was deafening.

“Sea!” Someone would shout. “Hawks!” The crowd belted back. “Sea!” “Hawks!” “Sea!” “Hawks!”

My friend’s younger brother had come with us, and was struggling to see over the tall heads in front of him. All of a sudden, the young man who’d been standing near us for the entire waiting period was hoisting my friend’s brother onto his shoulders, high into the freezing air where he could watch unobstructed. My friends brother is twelve years old and not small for his age. This was no small feat. And he was given this boost by a stranger.

Seattle came together as a community to celebrate a Super Bowl victory that we’ve never seen before in our city’s history. But the best part for me was the community on the street that I saw. A stranger letting a boy sit atop his shoulders so that everyone could share in witnessing a special event.

That was my Seahawks moment. That was my victory worth celebrating.

 

About Elise

Elise Stephens began her career in writing at age six, illustrating her own story books and concocting wild adventures. Stephens counts authors Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, and Margaret Atwood among her literary mentors, and has studied under Orson Scott Card. She dreams often of finding new ways to weave timeless truths into her stories. Her novels include Moonlight and Oranges (2011), Forecast (2013), and Guardian of the Gold Breathers (2015), a finalist for the INDIEFAB Book of the Year. She lives in Seattle with her family. Follow her on Twitter @elisestephens and Author Elise Stephens on Facebook.

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