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Why I Really Want A Pete Carroll Jersey

January 20, 2015
This guy, right here, needs to be League MVP.

This guy, right here, needs to be League MVP.

Okay, I’ve gone on record as kinda hating the NFL. My relationship with the game, for the last 40+ years has been, “I don’t get it,” at best. I have gone on record complaining about the callous treatment of player’s bodies, the appalling treatment of cheerleaders, the offensive fact that the NFL is a non-profit, and the hero-worship of football players that allows them to get away with all sorts of illegal behavior because we cast them as demi-gods and their will is more important than laws or the rights of others, mostly women, who they act upon.

But I live in Seattle. And it’s hard to live here and not feel “it.” Mind you, I’m stubborn as hell, I held out a long time, but…… they wore me down. And by “they,” I mean Pete Carroll.

Okay, first Richard Sherman, and I’ll admit that was largely hormone driven. He is, well, very, very pretty. (Sigh.) But pretty isn’t enough for me, never has been, never will be. I did what I always do, researched the dude. Smart as hell. Smart does it for me. Wise, well-spoken, willing to stand-up for what’s right, gives back to the community, and but for some foul language (which is something I like to think that I do with equal fucking flare) he’s a great guy. BOOM. Sherm.

Then, Marshawn Lynch. I mean….. just as smart, and ironically, just as well spoken. In that, he doesn’t feel the need to speak unless he really has something to say, or wants to. No need to put on a show. I mean, a man who knows his mind and sticks to it….. rare, and awesome.



I mean, this team is something special.

This team is the NFL being very un NFL-like. They talk about how positive Carroll is, about how supportive. There’s nothing of the histrionics of Belichick, the macho bravado verging on violent rage. There’s meditation, thoughtfulness, togetherness.

Carroll values the same things that I value as a human, as a mother, as a business owner. Community, respect, peace, safety – both emotional and physical. It’s not “win at all costs.” It’s “be the best you can be, and trust that it works.”

Oh, it works.

When he cut Percy Harvin, I pretty much fell in fake-love with Carroll. Harvin was an excellent receiver (which I know only because people keep saying so,) and an integral part of that last big win. And Harvin is not Seahawks material. Not because he doesn’t bring home wins, but because he’s not, by all reports, a good fit, personality-wise.

Stealing Warren Moon’s explanation, “One thing . . . Pete is really, really big on is chemistry and everybody feeling comfortable with one another. And I think that’s what this team has been so successful with the last three years. They’ve really had a great camaraderie, and they didn’t want to do anything to disrupt that.”

To me, that means establishing rules of community in which everyone is treated with respect, feels safe emotionally and physically, feels protected, feels like they have what they need to explore their whole potential.

That, right there, is baseline what we need as a society. Pete Carroll, in his Seahwaks, is creating the rules of a civilized society.

And it would be hard to say it isn’t working. He’s not just going for the win, he’s going for the win that comes out of a civilized society.

I live in Seattle. But specifically, in 98118, which is the most diverse zipcode in the US. I drive by a billboard almost daily in which Pete Carroll’s face is seen over a huddle of men, saying that friends don’t let friends bully.

I live in a zipcode in which there is often no common language spoken on the street corners, but people will wear Seahawks shirts and smile to each other.

I live in a city that has a hard time expressing emotion, we are as known for “The Seattle Freeze” as we are Starbucks and Microsoft. And people are talking to each other about this team. Not just this game, this team. The streets are electric.

I still can’t pretend that I know anything about the game. Not much. (More than this time last year, though, that’s for sure.) But I know what I feel around me. I feel a thaw.

And I hear people talking about Carroll. Not just Sherman, Wilson, Baldwin, Chancellor, Lynch and “who was that guy, I mean, he’s special teams…..” People are talking about Carroll.

We know that he did this. We know how he did this. And it’s changing us.

Carroll should be the league MVP. Because what he has done is fundamentally change the way the game is played. He has changed, for the better, the behavior in and perception of the NFL.

If he has his way – which he’d never ask for, he’d just lead by example and watch it spread – the NFL will change. What is acceptable behavior for an NFL player will no longer be different than what is acceptable behavior for any other human being. If his way spreads, the NFL will have to think about how their behavior, and the behavior of their player-ambassadors, impacts the world around them.

For better or worse (and I dare say, usually far worse) NFL players are role models for future generations. And sadly, it is those who start with the greatest disadvantages in life who seem to cling most to the heroic rise of these players. They model their lives and behavior after them.

Pete Carroll has brought out the best in a roster of amazing men. He, with them, has set a new standard.

He has turned a die-hard hater of the NFL into an almost-fan. Oh, who are we kidding, I’m counting down the days until the Superbowl. And I am no longer afraid to watch it with my three daughters. I’m fine with these men being set up as examples. For all of us.

Perfectly imperfect, and striving to do, and be, good. Yeah.

And yes, this normally catastrophically uptight and emotionless city is on fire. It feels awesome. I hope this fever never ends.

Re-Pete. Re-Pete. Re-Pete.

I am forever grateful, Mr. Carroll, for what you have done for Seattle. For football. For the men on your team and the people who look up to them.

And, whether you meant to or not, for the world at large. Your gentle leadership around issues that matter is a win for us all.

And I REALLY WANT A PETE CARROLL JERSEY!  I guess I’m going to have to make my own!

18 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2015 2:19 pm

    Well put, thanks for the thoughtful amusing post. And for putting words around the experience many of us from Seattle (here to before, not football fans) have had in the last couple of years. A coach and team mates we can be proud of on and off the field. More than money, franchise or fame – the honor and respect that these guys show to each other. How sporting!

  2. Scott Dodson permalink
    January 21, 2015 12:21 am

    Make two? Second one a men’s large, please 😉

  3. Donna permalink
    January 23, 2015 6:04 am

    I totally get it!

  4. blondestermom permalink
    January 23, 2015 6:09 am

    I have one! 00…. had it made for me for christmas.
    love my Petie Pie

  5. Cameron permalink
    January 23, 2015 7:42 am

    Nailed it.

  6. Alyssa Royse permalink
    January 23, 2015 7:55 am

    I’m definitely making one before the super bowl.

  7. D. Evans permalink
    January 23, 2015 4:45 pm

    I totally agree, and Please make mine a 2XL – Thank you!!

  8. January 24, 2015 6:50 am

    Thank you! –really well articulated and thoughtful. I was delighted to share on my FB! Go Hawks!

  9. Anne H permalink
    January 25, 2015 4:09 am

    Honorable. He is honorable in a world that has revered people who are aggressive and ruthless. I read about how one of this season’s draft picks failed his physical because they discovered he had a rare heart defect. They signed him, and then released him, so he could get his signing bonus!

  10. heartwriter permalink
    January 25, 2015 1:15 pm

    Perfectly said. Beautiful, heartfelt, relatable post.

  11. January 25, 2015 10:30 pm

    I loved reading your take on Pete Carroll and the Seahawks. It means even more coming from a woman and a mother. I value your opinion and I am now a fan of your blog… Thank you for sharing.

  12. June B permalink
    January 26, 2015 1:06 pm

    Sorry to rain on your feel-good parade – but if you really care about Pete as he cares about his beloved team members, which third (as the NFL is finally admitting) of your beloved players will you choose to develop long-term catastrophic neurological impairment?

  13. Alyssa Royse permalink
    January 26, 2015 8:12 pm

    First off, let’s dispense with the notion that you are “sorry” to rain on my parade. Issuing a preemptive apology for doing something that it is fully within your capability to not do is a self-serving fallacy. And, there is no need to apologize for expressing an opinion, so there’s also that. Secondly, My entire first paragraph is dedicated to the many reasons – including a callous disregard for the players’ bodies – that I am no fan of the NFL. That, in fact, that has been my strongest feeling about the NFL for all of my adult life. So, ya, I’m pretty well aware of the damage done to both brain and body. I lead with that.

    I also did not canonize dear Pete. I did not suggest that he was perfect. I implied (in rather crushy language, to be sure,) that I see him as a change agent. Not a perfect idol, but a mere mortal who is doing things differently. Someone whose behavior is, by in large, better than that around him. And that by virtue of OBVIOUSLY winning games (which remains the number one goal of the any team, and the NFL because that’s how they make money as part of a system that puts way too much glory on the shoulders of athletes and celebrities,) his methods have the power to create change in said, fucked up, system. I see him as a change agent. Both on the streets of Seattle, and in the NFL at large.

    And I’m from Seattle, I’m fine with rain. I rather like it, actually.

  14. June B permalink
    January 26, 2015 11:48 pm

    Rain on your parade … it’s a turn of phrase, the irony it expresses is not an apology, at all. That said, my point is the change you dream about, the civilized society where everyone feels emotionally and physically protected, this fire you hope never ends, is itself being forged in the brains of the players you claim to love. I hope it’s worth it.

  15. Alyssa Royse permalink
    January 27, 2015 6:24 am

    And it will continue to be unless change-agents on the inside are in a position to do something about it. Every major organization – and every human – that I know of has some problems. Some worse than others. When signs of improvement are shown, it’s worth celebrating them, and encouraging them. Change happens from the inside. We have a good man on the inside. I’ve given the NFL no free passes here. They need to fix themselves in myriad ways. I think Pete Carroll will help to do that. If you want football cancelled outright, you’re delusional.

  16. Sarah C. permalink
    January 28, 2015 6:29 am

    I’m sorry but I have no understanding of the craze around the Seahawks. I do love Pete Carroll (though his involvement in the NCAA rules violations scandal hurt his image as a do-gooder a bit for me)…but Marshawn Lynch…c’mon! He doesn’t need to speak unless he has something to say??? What makes you conclude that rather than concluding that (just like similar pro athletes who refuse to talk to the media) he is just a self-righteous prick? If he really wants to do something, how about using all his airtime to promote a charity…it would still accomplish his goal of not talking about football but it would use his press conference for something other than a circus show that huge amounts of money get thrown at. There’s nothing wrong with being a Seahawks fan…I am a fan of several NFL teams with many more despicable players on them…but I don’t understand all these people acting like the Seahawks are somehow the cinderella story of the NFL.

  17. Alyssa Royse permalink
    January 28, 2015 1:51 pm

    Well, I’m in sort of the opposite boat – I am NOT a fan of the NFL, or even really of football. Nor could I possibly be a fan of teams who celebrate “despicable” players. So clearly we’re coming from very different perspectives. I’m a fan of these people, and collectively of the team they make when they work together in ways that, essentially, defy the NFL. I’m a fan of their subversive protest against systems that I happen to think are more than a little fucked up. THAT is why I like them. And, maybe you didn’t watch Marshawn’s AWESOME “Yeah” press conference all the way through, because you already decided how you felt about him. But, if you had, the ONLY thing he talked about was his charity. But in a world of complete and total blow-hards, you bet, I LOVE a man who doesn’t speak unless he actually has something to say. I tend to believe that someone who eschews fame for the sake of fame, and isn’t a complete media-hound is, well, not a totally vain and shallow douchebag who just wants to be famous. Yup, give me the strong, silent man of substance any day, over the flashy attention seeker who just wants to be noticed.


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