The Seahawks Won the Super Bowl, So I Guess It Won’t Be Long Before Dogs and Cats Are Living Together
Even as I type this, the Seahawks Parade is going on in downtown Seattle. As I understand it, the players are riding in duck boats so they’ll be high enough up off the ground that fans can’t touch them. Despite the fact that the Seahawks are constantly telling the press that their fans are the best fans in the league, you know they kind of hate them. Fans have somehow convinced themselves that they’re part of the team and as responsible for the team’s success as the actual guys out on the field. That fans call themselves “the 12th man” was already embarrassing, but today some sports reporter said, “the first touchdown came TWELVE seconds into the game. There was also a touchdown FORTY-THREE minutes into the game, and FOUR times THREE is TWELVE.” Oh well, I’m convinced then. We don’t even need players. As long as the fans cheer hard enough, we’ll win every game!
For some reason, Seattleites love giving themselves and things in the city nicknames, whether anyone else wants goes along with it or not. Our football stadium is CenturyLink Field, which news people and fans insist on calling The Clink, even though everyone else refuses. The baseball stadium (and don’t even get me started on why we have two separate stadiums right next to each other and basketball fans clamoring for a new arena a few blocks away when we don’t even have an NBA team) is Safeco Field and just as The Clink isn’t happening, neither is The Safe. Not that that stops people from trying to make them happen. In this way, we’re a lot like George Costanza, trying to convince his coworkers to call him T-Bone.
Although there are probably earlier examples, the first self-established nickname I can recall is when we decided to call ourselves “The Emerald City.” So stupid. This happened in 1982, when the Tourism Bureau decided that the reason New York city had more tourists than Seattle is because it was known as The Big Apple. Yes, Tourism Bureau, that was the reason. It had nothing to with the fact that there are a lot of interesting things to see and do in Manhattan and that the only things for tourists to do in Seattle are to go see the first Starbucks or look towards the south while a local says, “and when it’s not cloudy you can see Mount Rainier right over there!” At any rate, there was a contest, and Emerald City won, ostensibly on the basis that it captures how green we are (in the sense of having a lot of trees, not in the eco-friendly sense), but even that’s not accurate. We’re far more gray than green, although I could see where the local tourist industry might not really love being called the The Dingy Lead Colored City.
My personal least favorite nickname is SoDo, for the neighborhood south of where the Kingdome used to be located (South of the Dome, hence SoDo). Again this was an attempt to deliberately echo New York city’s SoHo, because, as a municipality, we are nothing without our massive inferiority complex. New York’s SoHo contains a lot of art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants; Seattle’s SoDo has a Sears, a Big O Tires, and a KFC and Taco Bell in the same building. So, you know, totally just as good. What makes it extra stupid is that the SoDo nickname didn’t catch on (by which I mean, people didn’t capitulate to the constant repetition of the name and finally agree to use it just to make the Chamber of Commerce shut up) until the 2000s, after the Kingdome had been demolished to make room for CenturyLink and Safeco Fields and their attendant possibilities for being called T-Bone, making “SoDo” inapt and meaningless. Some claim that it now stands for South of Downtown, except it’s not south of downtown, it’s southwest of downtown. South of downtown is Chinatown, which is called the International District by people who never go there.