Monday, January 30, 2006

Monday Morning Thoughts

A little bit of this and a little bit of that:

1. Friday night we had our monthly wine tasting get together in Seattle. Did we wear green and blue to celebrate the Seahawks? No, the word spread amongst all of our members, most of whom are University profs and scientists, to wear red in honor of the Chinese New Year and to welcome the "Year of the Dog". No one in this group is Asian but it doesn't matter--Chinese New Year is a big deal in Seattle. But on the way home, I saw one car decorated with Seahawks flags. One car on a Friday night on the main freeway into Seattle was it.

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Picture in the paper today by Greg Gilbert, Seattle Times (note the rain)

2. Two of our friends in the wine group grew up in Detroit. Both of them expressed concern about Seattle fans in Detroit. They said the city has deteriorated and has some very rough sections unlike anything we have here. Certainly, we have areas where the average income level is less and areas of drug use and some gang activity and many many homeless people. But you can be confident if you take the wrong exit in Seattle into a depressed area, you don't need to worry about your safety. Also, if you just drive a few blocks toward water or mountains, you'll end up in a place where the incomes are higher. Sometimes it is hard to tell what kind of neighborhood you are in because after all of this rain, everybody needs a new paint job.

The view from Detroit in the Seattle PI today:

And a quote:

"When I heard Seattle was coming [to Detroit], I was like, 'Yeah! We're going to have sophisticated people in this city!'
"I love Seattle. I've spent time there. When people say it has the highest suicide rate because of the rain, I tell them it's just a drizzle, a mist.
"I love the Asian influence -- the arts, the shops, the culture. Every neighborhood I was in, you could walk to something, a bead store, a restaurant, a theater.
"Aesthetically, Detroit is just not beautiful like Seattle is. It's so contemporary. So cosmopolitan."

3. Speaking of rain---last night was stormy and we had over two inches of rain and it was not just a drizzle. Avalanches have closed I-90 for the second time and four new mudlsides happened overnight to stop the train below our house. As of this moment, I do not know exactly where the mudslides are but a utility truck just drove by. I expect the helicopters any time now. We have one window that leaks under extreme conditions right here in the den where the computer is. I have had no less than four different guys here including window experts, deck builders, repair people and gutter people. All of them have charged us a hefty sum to fix it without success. Mother Nature wins! So I am thinking of sunnier days to cheer myself. But don't worry, I am not suicidal.

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Feb. 2003, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, the kids and me.

4. And some Seahawk Super Bowl statistics that I found fascinating: I love it when I find statistics that support my gut cultural feelings and observations.

And some quotes:

Despite the "12th Man" flag planted atop the Space Needle, just 14 percent of people in Seattle identify themselves as strong NFL fans, according to Scarborough Research, a New York-based firm that conducts detailed surveys of consumer behavior.

The fan base is double that — 28 percent — in South King County. On the Eastside and in Pierce County, 21 percent follow the NFL and Seahawks. In Snohomish County, 16 percent. The data, based on surveys done before the Seahawks' playoff run, undoubtedly lag behind the current frenzy.

[My county, Snohomish, the fan base is only 16 percent which does not include my family. But we are what they call "Bandwagoners" because we have been fans through the play offs and into the Super Bowl but not on a regular basis. Hey, I have to spend my time looking for orcas.]

Why is that? Is Seattle too snooty for football?

For that, we have no firm data, but there are theories.

"Basically, a lot of the people living in the city right now are the latté group," said Jerry Martinez of Sequim, a lifelong Seahawks fan on his way to Detroit in his impossible-to-ignore motor home, the Seahawk Express....

But there is a lot to do in Seattle, a city known for its book-reading, filmgoing population. Most of the time, people are focused on other things....

"Pittsburgh as a city is defined much more by the Steelers and its sports teams. Seattle is defined by Starbucks and Boeing and rain and the Space Needle."

In fact, the market-research data from Scarborough last year ranked the Pittsburgh area as the No. 2 market in the country in percentage of football fans, with 41 percent of the people there identifying as strong fans. The Seattle-Tacoma region ranked 65th, with about 20 percent of the population.

Evidently, Pittsburgh like Detroit is a more depressed city economically than Seattle and folks have fewer things to focus on or to do so they latch on to football. Who knows? But 14% or even our highest of 28% still pales compared to 41 %. The article fails to mention or recognize that a huge part of the Seahawks fan base is even further away than the Seattle suburbs. All of Eastern Washington which includes Spokane and on into Idaho and Montana where Seattle is the nearest city with any professional sports teams has a huge percentage of football fans.

And right now, they are rooting for the Seahawks. And so am I. Will I put 12th man flags on my car? No.

(I might but for me it would be to rub Texas A&M's face in it because they are suing Seattle for using the term "12th Man" which they claim as theirs alone. Boo!)