Friday, February 15, 2013

SHOUP SHOTS: Twitter tells story of Seahawk's sad loss

by Nathan Shoup, Sports Editor 

    You can all stop sucking your thumbs in the fetal position now. After 77 days, Shoup Shots is back. Order is restored. 

     During a Mooring Mast break that lasted more than two months, a few things happened in the sporting world. The men’s and women’s basketball teams played the majority of their 2012-13 seasons with the exception of two games each this weekend. Manti Te’o was dating a ghost. It appears Seattle is getting the Sonics back. On Tuesday, the Mariners made Felix Hernandez the highest paid pitcher in MLB history at $175 million over seven years. And Mast Sports (@MastSports), finally got in touch with the Twitter world. 

     But the dominant sports story in the region was the Seahawks. They were a mere 30 seconds from advancing to the NFC Championship game.

Seahawks are heartbreakers

     I have never loved something or someone, while also being thoroughly disgusted, as much as I simultaneously adored and hated the Seahawks on Jan. 13. 

     In honor of the sports section finally establishing a Twitter, it is only fitting I tell this story with the aid of the social media site — all tweets are from my personal account.

     The week of the Seahawk’s NFC Divisional playoff game against Atlanta was a roller coaster. It was like sitting on the roller coaster and slowly clicking up the initial incline, looking over the entire theme park, before flying down the track. 

     Professional sports analysts said the Seahawks were the most dangerous team in football. Seattle had won eight of its last nine contests including a 24-14 come-from-behind victory in Washington D.C. the week before. The buzz the team had created was warranted.
Jan. 12 at 7:20 p.m.: “Hawks jersey is on. Depending on how the game goes tomorrow it could be on for a while too.”
     I was not the only one wearing my Seattle jersey on the eve of the game either. Making my way through campus that cold Saturday, I saw dozens of people in their Seahawk blue, green and gray. 

     You know that feeling when you are so excited for something you struggle to fall asleep? Apparently it can happen to a 21-year-old male when it comes to the NFL playoffs.
Jan. 13 at 12:40 a.m.: “It legitimately feels like Christmas Eve night when I was in grade school. I’m too excited for tomorrow. #GoHawks”
     With a 10 a.m. kickoff, Seahawks fans were forced to crawl out of bed early that Sunday J-term morning.
Jan. 13, 9:02 a.m.: “Alright I’m up. It’s game day! #GoHawks”
     Okay, 9:02 a.m. is not that early. But everything is relative. For a Sunday morning, it was early for me.
     All excitement built for the game was silenced early. The Seahawks sleepwalked through the first half and trailed 20-0. I watched the game in my off-campus residence with about 15 friends and we, like all Seattle fans, were shocked.
     There was hope, however. Seattle trailed Washington 14-0 at halftime the week before and won.
Jan. 13, 10:52 a.m.: “‘You can’t win a game in the first quarter,’ Pete Carroll. Hawks look flat early though. Again.”
Carroll — Seattle’s head coach — screamed in the locker room following the Redskins game that you can’t win a game in the first quarter. He drove home the idea that games are won in the fourth quarter. 

     With that in mind, the Seahawks rallied furiously and took a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds remaining. Seattle was going to the NFC Championship for the first time since the 2005 season, which ended with the Seahawks at the Super Bowl. Everything was going to be okay.

     My house and countless others within the region entered celebratory chaos. I ran down the street barefoot — yelling the entire way. I ran back into the house to a scene that can only be described as a hugging dog-pile — with 31 seconds left. 

     After receiving the kickoff, Atlanta returned the ball to its own 28-yard line. On its first play, Atlanta completed a pass to midfield with 19 seconds left. Everything was going to be okay. 

     Atlanta then completed a 19-yard pass to a wide-open Tony Gonzalez to the Seattle 31-yard line with 13 seconds left. Using its last timeout after the play, the Falcons had to kick the 48-yard field goal. 

     “This is a long kick with unreal amounts of pressure,” I told myself. Everything was going to be okay. 

     And for a second, everything was okay. The field-goal attempt missed wide right. Seattle had won. Unfortunately, Carroll called a timeout a second before the play began. Atlanta was given another chance and drilled the field goal. The comeback attempt — done. The Seahawks’ season — done. Everything was not okay. 

     Seattle lost the game in the first half, won it in the fourth quarter, and then lost it again with 30 seconds left. One playoff loss is hard enough to grasp. Two is heart wrenching. 
Jan. 13, 1:58 p.m.: “I’m not watching ESPN for a week. Tough end to a great season. Future looks promising. Hard to think about that right now though.”
     With one of the youngest and most talented rosters in the NFL, Seahawks fans are forced to wait until next season to watch their team make another playoff run. And while there is a lot to get excited about, the loss has not been forgotten.
Feb. 3, 12:37 a.m.: “The closer we get to kickoff [for the Super Bowl] tomorrow, the more I realize how upset I still am about the Hawks’ loss to Atlanta.”
     I loved the Seahawks the day of their loss to Atlanta for the aggressive, physical and intimidating style of play. But I despised them for putting us through that.

     See you in September, Seahawks.

Hello, Twitter

     It is like someone saying “Happy Birthday” a week late. You question why it took them so long, but at least they said it. After going far too long without a Twitter, the sports section (@MastSports) has finally entered the 21st century. 

     The purpose of the account is to provide live-game coverage while also offering insightful and witty analysis of PLU athletics throughout the week. 

     We have experimented with creating hash tags for particular athletic events so all spectators can congregate with their in-game commentary. 

     It is also a way to get input and advice from you, our readers. 

     That being said, go ahead and check out the page. If motivated, click the blue follow button as well. 

     I know more of you care about PLU athletics than the 37 followers the page already has.