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Published: 2014/01/28
by David Steinberg

Featured Column: Worlds Colliding

For me it started nearly two decades ago. The Mariners were the team that ruled Seattle and they had a catcher named Dan Wilson. I wrote the team a letter telling them about A Live One and how they could play “Wilson” every time he came up to bat. It received the expected response; it was completely ignored. I filed it under “I tried” and moved on.

When the Seahawks first drafted a quarterback named Russell Wilson in the 3rd round last year, I thought little of it. I was mainly focused on Matt “The Mighty” Flynn and didn’t think much about his backup. When they made him the starter I was intrigued but also concerned. Then we started winning games and it became more than that. We had one of those fascinating players, the type where even non-fans might turn it on to see if he could make one of his plays. He was young, exciting, and actually was on my team. Moreover the combination of the name “Wilson” with the number “3” (for Trey) made it the perfect Phish jersey to wear. I couldn’t resist getting one.

I figured it would end there as a little joke for the few fans of both Phish and the Seahawks. Instead it escalated. At a solo show in Seattle, Trey asked us to do the “Wilson” chant for Russell. “Guaranteed Super Bowl,” he promised. He later repeated the request at the Gorge wearing a fan-made Russell Wilson jersey. It was pretty cool to see Trey talking about a team that usually toils in obscurity here in South Alaska, but again, it figured to end there.

It didn’t. The Seahawks actually listened and started playing the “Wilson” riff at the stadium. The fans slowly caught on over the course of the season. By the NFC Championship Game, both the riff and the accompanying chant were quite loud in the television mix. From the perspective of a long time [1] Seattle sports fan that has been seeing Phish for a quarter century, this is quite surreal. To then have Trey’s prediction come true and the Seahawks actually make the Super Bowl is even more so. Pessimism is the very air that we breathe here in Emerald City, but maybe – just maybe – this is what is needed to break the curse we’re living under.

If both Phish and the Seahawks need to combine their powers to give their first major championship from the 70s, there are all sorts of omens in their favor. For the first time ever, I placed a small bet on the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl. I did so in Stateline, NV on the date of the Tahoe “Tweezer.” That jam changed the way 2013 Phish is thought about; a Super Bowl championship would do the same for this Seahawks team. Sure, the Broncos might have one of the best offenses in the history of the game with an incredible quarterback, but our Gamehendge connection is happening within spitting distance of the Rhombus. The proximity to the birthplace of Gamehendge is worth a few touchdowns right there. If that isn’t enough, just think about where the stadium is located. It’s in East Rutherford, NJ. There’s a Gamehendge connection right in the town name! [2]

This is being written a week out from the game. By the time you get around to reading this column, the final score might already be known. I will look like a prophet or this would be yet another Seattle dream destroyed. Regardless of the final outcome, this season will be one that I will never be able to forget for as long as I live. The 4th and 7 conversion, the Sherman deflector, all of these will be etched in my memory forever. An exciting team made it to the championship game and Phish – PHISH! – ended up being the soundtrack for the run. I love Denver as a city and have nothing against Manning, but Wilson, Duke of Lizards, I beg it all scores for you!

[1] Not life long though. I know that it’s considered wrong to ever change fan loyalties but when I moved here and fell in love with the city it just kind of happened. I’ve been a Seattle fan for 19 years now, which is the equivalent of about 100 for a city that actually has occasional success.

[2] Some will point out that Rutherford the Brave was a foe of Wilson, but the way I see it, this is like meeting up decades later with a person that you had a few political battles in college. Sure you had some crucial differences at the time, but now you’re more likely to bond over the people you knew and the quirks of the campus. Wilson would probably ruffle Rutherford’s head and call him, “Ol’ Ruffy” or something…. Well if he hadn’t been murdered by The Sloth.

*****

David Steinberg got his Masters Degree in mathematics from New Mexico State University in 1994. He first discovered the power of live music at the Capital Centre in 1988 and never has been the same. His Phish stats website is at http://www.ihoz.com/PhishStats.html and he’s on the board of directors for The Mockingbird Foundation. He occasionally posts at the Phish.net blog and has a daily update on the Phish Stats Facebook page

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