If Seattle is the New Oakland… Seahawks Superbowl Storyline

 

Though I was dying to write something right after last week’s NFC Championship Game (actually during it, while Trish was wailing and worrying and running in and out of the living room and the storyline was about to be, “Colin Kaps year with Comeback Win”), one of the Seahawks players tipped the would-be-touchdown ball in the end zone, and the world went all blurry.  And I’ve been busy

But now, almost halfway through the thousands of pre-Superbowl commentary; rants and ridicule and thugs and interviews with third cousins of actual former NFL players, maybe cooler heads are ready to step in make a few observations.

No, not all of us Seattle Seahawks fans, self-proclaimed 12-ers, are getting anxious, revved, reveling in our underdog position. Not all of us are adding the insults and slights, real or perceived, to the chips on our shoulders.

To quote Russ, “Why not us?”

Storyline is all important; and the drama is getting written (and illustrated) on millions of screens, tweets, and instagrams sent from millions more computers and cameras to and from haters and lovers and fans.

The Storyline is that Perfect Peyton has to stand tall and safe in the pocket (protected by his angelic/huge front line- I would have said offensive line, but that might be offensive), reading the movements of the horde-like Seattle rushers and the pushy-shovey-taunting-trash-talking backfield, and throw a hundred or so laser strikes (though sometimes wobbley- oops; edit that) to the the momentarily-improperly-covered member of his anything-but-mediocre squad of world class receivers.

And those Seahawks? Oh, they are, in this Storyline, the villains, the ruffians (I no longer publicly say ‘thugs,’ preferring the non-race-specific ‘gangsters,’ though the word ‘thugs’ came from India, with few players in the NFL), the 2013/14 equivalent of the 1970s Oakland Raiders. Though Russell Wilson will never be compared to Kenny “The Snake” Stabler, even with the list of possible-but-not-yet-sticking nicknames including “DangerRuss,” Seattle has the well-earned reputation of hitting hard, adding grabbing and shoving to the five yard bump-and-run maneuver (and extending the five yards) and just being so aggressive it’s almost an insult to the gentlemanly game of American football.

Oh, and the fans… loud (selectively, and without scoreboard prompts- as in Denver), obnoxious, passionate, too many dressed up in frightening makeup and costumes (in ‘the day,’ Oakland fans dressed similarly to “Mad Max” characters, hung at ‘The Black Ball.” Not sure where or what that was; I got this trivia from someone who was there), the 12th Man is just so so willing to defend even players who weren’t drafted, who won’t play nice and/or chat politely with the media.

Yeah; it’s us, Russ; why not us?

And, storyline or not, we are the underdogs.

Does Peyton really need another Superbowl ring just because his brother has more than he does (and Seattle, so mean-spirited, shut out the other brother), and because it might be the last season for the definitely-Hall-of-Famer Manning; and he’s overcome so much?

No.

No, and this is a sports story; and in every sports story (and I buy into every one- cue the tears) the underdog wins.

So. Analysis. My father-in-law, the late W.M. Scott, used to say the powers that be wanted the Superbowl to be between teams from major media markets. In this newer world, the market is nationwide; it becomes the storyline of where each team, each player, comes from, what he has gone through to get to this point. And Seattle is still the Emerald City, far away and rain-cleaned

Maybe Seattle isn’t the new Oakland; the Seahawks are not the villains (I only say this because villains aren’t supposed to win, though Pittsburg did last time); the Underdogs have the better back story.

And us? Really, we’re just fans, some of us just a bit more rabid than others. Trish would say passionate. Yes! And maybe you are, too. Hopefully there will be more cheering than gnashing of teeth next week. Goooo Hawwwkkkkks!  

NOTE: So, I wrote this for my blog, ‘Stuff That Goes On,’  under the ‘blog’ section (header, home page) at ptleader.com  Everyone (including me) who would lower themselves to actually read a blog (at all), and my blog in particular, are put off by the fear that, once one reads several articles from the home page, someone will have a hand out.  Realsurfers.net is free. Read all you want. Please. So, because I edited my original version on the ptleader site, and that version is better, I cut-and-pasted it here.

The Seahawks are considering the setup; cold, snowy, lumpy, with hard-hitting sections. So hard to break free, into the open, a heaviness always ready to knock a player in the head, cut him off at the knees, tumble him down and over- hard. Oh, but, up on the bluff, there’s an audience, spread out, waiting. Take a breath. Now…

 

 
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Kirk Aeder and Real Surfers Shane Dorian and Chris O’Rourke

IN APPRECIATION of those who have been so very helpful in the first year of realsurfers.net I am reposting (edited slightly because I can’t help it) my story on several run-ins with legendary La Jolla Surfer Chris O’Rourke. His friend and biographer, Kirk Lee Aeder, had, I discovered, only recently published a book, “Child of the Storm,” about Chris, with a forward by Drew Kampion, the first editor (other than John Severson) at “Surfer.” Kampion is another person I’ve had a sort of brushed-against connection with. I’ll write about that another time.
For now, the following is from a string of back-and-forths, an email from Kirk.
Please check out the next piece down, the edited version on Chris O’Rourke, and, yeah, buy the book.
Erwin, Some text:

“In 1969 while on a family vacation I visited the Big island for the first time as a ten
year old kid. I was immediately captivated by what I saw, wide-eyed,
and very much hoping to return to live here some day, which I finally did in 1993.
A little bit of irony accompanied my arrival. Soon I started shooting photos
of a surfer, who in many ways, very much reminded me of my old pal Chris
O’Rourke in La Jolla. Shane Dorian, a quickly emerging pro surfer with an Irish
background and also a regular foot, immediately became my primary focus of
attention, and for good reason. Shane’s high caliber of surfing was just so similar to
Chris. I was stoked this occurrence took place, almost as if this had happened for
a reason,and through this I felt a strong connection to my past.
Going from La Jolla, with it’s strong
surfing history, to a place like the Big Island, where surfing was more or less born,
is very special to me and I truly feel blessed. Looking back on it all I wouldn’t change
a thing.” Much mahalo, Kirk
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Photo of Shane Dorian at Banyons, Big Island, Hawaii by Kirk Aeder, IMOCO Media

Windansea, Chris O’Rourke, and the Neanderthal

“Neanderthal,” the Kid said with the deepest voice he could manage.

The first time I decided to surf the famous Windansea, a foggy, glassy, afterwork afternoon, December of 1971, there were, maybe, eight or ten surfers clumped around the peak. Trish was waiting in the car. I must have promised to take her somewhere.

Newly married (very, November 20), we lived in Pacific Beach, across the street and just up from Tourmaline Canyon. PB, but practically La Jolla; right where Mission turns to La Jolla Boulevard. So, why not Windansea?

When I got out of the water at dark, after something less than an hour, my bride asked me why I, notorious wave hog, hadn’t caught more waves.

“I was lucky to get three or four.” The waves I did get were insiders or those waves the various members of the local crew were a little too far outside for. And, competing for the scraps on the inside with me was this Kid. It was Chris O’Rourke, before he became famous, notorious even, before he got cancer. He would have been twelve or thirteen, and was begging the older surfers for waves.

“Can I go? Can I have it? Can I go?”

It worked. For him. I didn’t try. Wouldn’t. Ever. Though I’d also seen several of the surfers out that evening in PB, they were either also being denied waves or were part of the pack, defending their home peak.

The main feature of the rights is, and always was, the steep drop. Bottom turn, hit the shoulder, cut back, bounce a bit, hope to have enough speed when the inside section jumps up. The lefts offered a longer ride, but, no, I wanted the rights. Always.

Sitting on my board away from and on the side of the peak that would favor going left, but hoping for a sneak-through right, I exchanged a glance in the waning light with the Kid. Not quite a nod. He turned to the group, and, in a stage whisper, with a nod to make sure they knew who he was speaking of; said, “Neanderthal.” Then, louder, maybe, “Ne-an-der-thal.” Everyone looked. Most chuckled.

I did surf Windansea again, without the freeze-out, but only on those days when most other nearby spots were closed-out. Oh, there were some spots along Sunset Cliffs that would hold a bigger swell. After getting brutally washed against those cliffs once, having my board end up in a cave the next time, finding myself in the biggest tube of my life another time, the choices being- make it or end up against the cliff; I ventured back.

Oh, I made the Sunset Cliffs tube, figured I’d beaten the odds, looked for a way in.

On my first bigger wave session at Windansea I lost my board on two of my first three waves- nailed by the lip on the drop on the first, not having the speed for the inside section on the other. Swatted. On my second swim-in, someone had, nicely, pulled my board from between two of those big, soft-looking rocks, and set it on top of one. Tourist, no doubt.

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A COUPLE OF YEARS LATER, competing in a Western Surfing Association contest, I was in a heat at Luscombs (sp?) at Sunset Cliffs for second place finishers in previous heats. Only the winner would be advancing. Lined up for the wave of the day, there was that Kid again.

“You going?” He must have been in the contest, but, at this moment, I was the surfer wearing the jersey.

“Oh, yeah.”

I went right; pretty sure he took the left, probably aceing-out some other competitor. Even if he didn’t, the right was better; and I won the heat; probably my sweetest victory in a brief WSA career.  

I can’t say I witnessed Chris O’Rourke break any rules of proper surf etiquette. All these year later, a thousand miles plus away from Windansea, if I run into someone with a connection to La Jolla (and I have), his name is part of a list of La Jolla surf alumni. Folks from there know their local surf history surprisingly well.

“Neanderthal? He called you a Neanderthal?”

“Oh, yeah.”

I can never help but say that with a bit of pride.

If You Look Closely

If You Look Closely

Here’s a peek into the very manic-depressive swell ‘window’ on the north shore of the contiguous United States. This is the last of a swell that missed most of the Straits of Juan de Fuca, somehow caught on the last possible corner.
If you look closely, you can see several people chatting, parking lot surfing. Some of the crowd that came and went in this particular parking lot had been out, couldn’t go out because of inconveniently-timed illness, or were just waiting to see. Meanwhile, chat about waves caught and waves missed. Others had come and gone, several surfing until the tide got too high, took naps in their cars, checked it again, drove away.
My friend, Archie “Atsushi” Endo took the photo, with me, mostly suited-up, beside him. Tim Nolan had just gotten out of the water, having been in it since the tide dropped enough to allow the waves to clear the rocky beach.
And now, the swell, reported by local surfer Keith Darrock (I’m going to say I called him- knowing he’d know) at half past dawn as “three to four feet. I’d give it an A minus.” “I should come up.”
Others did. What was unusual is that Dave, way-formerly of PB, had come here from PA. That wouldn’t normally be a sound bet. Tugboat Bill had turned right instead of going straight. New kids (there are always new surfers in PT; most move on eventually) had found the spot, hit it or missed it, or, for one reason or another, passed.
Well, no; I hadn’t gone up early. No. I put it off, had to, just had to finish some work. Archie and I had gone west on Friday evening, sure our favorite low tide right would be working. It was, at about one to one and a half; but, yeah, we went out.
And we caught a lot of waves, long, perfect, glassy, fin-draggers; in a pouring rain.
Meanwhile, on that same Friday, the corner was catching the long period, but kind of southish swell. All day.
Supposedly. And everyone I spoke with seemed to have hit it.
I checked this spot on Saturday. There’s something so alluring about an offshore wind holding up a three foot wave. See the last place in the photo, where the point hits the water? Now imagine a long line curling onto it, top blowing back. But the tide was high; too high, and, though I did some parking lot surfing with Jesse Joshua Watson, local artist, soon to have some work featured on this site (Yeah, I’m always pimping realsurfers), I couldn’t wait to see if the swell would hold as the tide dropped. The Seahawks were about to play.
In retrospect… it’s always in retrospect; I could have come here on Friday; I could have surfed first, worked later. I could have…
Well, I got five or six long lefts, had to bail once as a bigass rock unsubmerged in my path as the tide and the swell dropped in unison. Worth it.
Now, I’m totally considering deleting this post in a few days. I don’t want to further antagonize the PT locals; but, let me say this: This is the first swell that really caught here since late September.
Meanwhile, Archie is going to Japan to work for three months or so in the prime season, such as it is, for America’s bi-polar north shore. Good luck Atsushi; hope you do some surfing.

“Awkward Guy” cover illustration? Progress

So, I did some old school ‘cut and paste,’ hopefully not too evident.
Franco wanted a different lettering style for the title,
AND he wanted the subtitle and author acknowledgement to flow.
SO, now it’s, probably, at least maybe, a bit ‘busy.’
SOLUTION? More business, some subtle color.
This is a temporary posting. I’d also like to see it.
And then…? Then we’ll see.

Frank Crippen and North by Northwest Surf Shop

Something About Surf Shop Owners

You already know that anyone who works in a surf shop is automatically a good surfer, one, and automatically cool, two. Too. What’s apparent to me is they’re sort of automatically, and sometimes cruelly, honest.

Really, is being honest cruel?

I’ve been going into Frank Crippen’s Port Angeles store, North by Northwest Surf Shop since I got back more fervently into surfing nine or ten years ago. Yes, he automatically thought I was a Kook. And he was right. My skills hadn’t instantly come back after years of neglect. My wave knowledge was still there, but muscle memory…

Of course, I did drop a few local PA names. “Hey, you know Darryl Wood?”

“Of course. He came in here this morning on his way to…”

“His way where?”

I think Frank actually rolled his eyes. He wasn’t going to tell me, fifty-something formerly (and only self-professed) real surfer.

Fine. “Cold water wax.”

“Only kind I carry. Sex?”

“What?”

Sexwax. Oh, yeah. Now, what I do appreciate about Frank is his website, nxnwsurf.com

I can access the available cameras (nothing on the Straits), get a forecast, get the actual buoy readings. I check it at least daily, sometimes multiple times.

By cruising through his shop occasionally through these years, my surfing progressing so very slowly, and by seeing him on several surf checks in the area, and by always giving him a report on where I surfed and how much better it could have been, and complaining about all those Seattle surfers who read the same forecasts… somewhere Frank has gotten a little friendlier.

Oh, not discernibly friendlier. I have, being honest myself in my assessments, said Frank lacks people skills.

This doesn’t mean he can’t make a sale. I witnessed him sell about three hundred bucks worth of wetsuit and gear, some for skiing in the nearby Olympics, in about one minute. The brother of the guy trying on the wetsuit broke out his card. Maybe it’s all because he seems difficult to impress.

“And a beanie?”

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So, okay, here’s the Frank Crippen Quote:

No, first, I have to say that I told Frank that Al Perlee, owner of The Surf Shop in Westport, when I told him I wanted a smaller (than my 9’4” piggie model) board, had told me, “No; you won’t be happy. You’re too old, too fat, and you don’t surf enough.”

Brutal.

Okay, now Frank’s Line: “It’s easier to get a bigger board than to get in shape.”

So, even you Seattle surfers: check out and support your local Straits surf shop. Maybe you can impress Frank; I’m still working on it.

Mostly I want him to link realsurfers.net to nxnwsurf

Archie took this photo after I bought some new gloves. Yeah, the ones in the photo. “They’re thinner, but they keep you warmer.” “How long do they last?” “No gloves last forever.” We were on our way back from surfing at… somewhere on the Straits. Ask Frank; let me know if he tells you. Let me know if he rolls his eyes.

Hey, I forgot to ‘tag’ Al Perlee. When you’re down in Westport, tell him I have mentioned him several times on realsurfers.net Now, Al is actually about my age; not sure how big a board he rides. And, he was right; I’ve gone bigger; it was either go big or go home.

Winter At Sea- final? drawing

Winter At Sea- final? drawing

Okay, so some of us can’t leave well enough alone. First I published the drawing with some notes as emailed to me by the artist, my sister, Melissa Lynch. Then she wrote back to say she wasn’t comfortable with my mentioning how she didn’t want to draw attention to any possible, unmeant religious implications of the drawing.
Then I wrote the story to go with the drawing; but, not totally pleased with the version, I went back in, edited it “in the cloud,” inserting Melissa’s drawing. Of course, I deleted the original posting of the drawing, so no one who didn’t see that post even knew there is no intended religious meaning to the drawing.
Then Melissa sent me another, final drawing. Thanks. So, I totally slowed my computer down trying to insert the new drawing into the text I didn’t want to further change… yet.
The drawing was too small, so, screw with the editing, several times, give up, and, and this is the result. Please read the story. Go back and forth if you have to.
Next time you drop in… well, we’ll all see.

Ragged Edge- Prologue

I’ve let go. I’ve given up… on the struggling.

Still, I hold my breath, as best I can. Have to let some out; in spurts, like crying… sobbing really; that kind you can’t control, can’t stop.

Prrrt, prrt, prrrt.

Still, I’m reaching, reaching… up.

Blackness. I try to open my eyes. The water is filled with sand, pulled up from the bottom, I guess, by the storm.

And my eyes burn. The blood had reached them before he gunned the… what? Motor? Engine? And he turned so fast, so sharp, sharply.

My hands were on my forehead, my eyes on him. Wicked smile.

“So; it’s swim,” he said, puckering his lips; like a kiss. Wicked kiss.

But then he realized… he dropped the… I don’t know what it was, something from his boat. He reached for the pearls. His mother’s, he’d said. Too late.

I could only barely see his hand, reaching.

Maybe my smile was as wicked. And I just fell backward, like, like…

Like sleep. Sinking, deeper; don’t know how deep.

And now my second best dress wraps around me, like seaweed. Tangled. The pearls, the necklace, twisted in my hair. And, and it’s like… like I can’t kick hard enough.

I close my eyes.

Mistakes. Who to trust, who to…

Let it go.

Other eyes; sad smile, sad recognition. I saw him, they designed the restaurant that way; in the kitchen. Cooking. And me; what was I doing?

And he looked down, holding onto some bit of pride.

And I looked down, no pride left.

This was just for a second. I put the smile back on, for my host. Maybe that was the moment he realized I was… was I? Acting.

Wicked.

Was this the easy way?

Is this the easy way? Do I let go; surrender?

The panic is gone. There’s peace. No. Not yet. There’s…wait. I’ve been… rising… released.

<Plllll-uuuuu-rrrrrrrrrr!

Breath! No! Half foam. Choke, cough… breathe.

There’s a moment here, moments; and then the water that had pushed me up pushes me onward. Oh, I can swim; I know how; but I’m swirling, still swirling… but, but, but I see lights. Sky. Morning. It’s…

Another wave. Another. Breath, hold it, move with the waves.

Moments, moments, still moving. Closer to the shore.

Stand up. Stand. And…knocked down, but forward. I rise. I rise, again. And…

The original story, “Ragged Edge,” was published on this site in August of 2013, with another wonderful illustration by my sister, Melissa Lynch. She drew the original illustration here, entitled “Winter At Sea,” for, well, me, and for the gallery she belongs to in Illinois. Because it also fits so well, I felt I should go back, address “Ragged Edge” from a different angle. Ironically, I had always wanted to expand “Ragged Edge” just far enough more to include telltale blood trickling down the forehead of the woman rescued from the stormy surf, now safe, if only temporarily, in the truck of the man who found her on the beach. The victim would share another look of recognition, this time with her attacker.
Maybe she’d touch his mother’s pearls. And then? Released.
Maybe it’s not ironic. Maybe it’s how it was illustrated in my mind. Thanks, Melissa, for making something only imagined real.