Saturday, January 06, 2007

Keep on Hawkin' on

Even tall buildings follow the Seahawks

Once again our luck with the weather changed, and the day after the glorious winter sunshine of Bowen Island, more typical conditions returned as we were blasted with heavy rain and freezing soapy sleet. The slush piled up to ankle height, so our final full day in BC was spent grimacing against the weather as we sorted out travel arrangements and sheltered in bars and pubs. Early next morning, we packed up and took the Skytrain to the main station for a bus to points south – the Greyhound to Seattle. The ride took about four hours, with the unavoidable lineup and fingerprinting at the border. But we all nipped through reasonably quickly, and soon arrived in the Emerald City.

Similarly defined by the weather, Seattle has a reputation for rain, coffee and Frasier. But the weekend we arrived, it was all about the Seahawks. The city’s NFL team was involved in a playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys, which kicked off about an hour after we arrived. Priding themselves on their support, the number 12 was everywhere (12 for the fans – the ‘12th man’). Huge ‘12’ flags flew from the tops of skyscrapers and the Space Needle, and the number was picked out in lights in one of the large office blocks on the way to the stadium. We had something to eat in a brewpub and watched the game for a bit in the busy bar.

Midway through the second half, with the Seahawks losing by a point, we decided to move on and get a change of scenery. The streets were pretty busy as the usual Saturday night crowds were swelled by football fans milling around. Some bars were charging $10 cover to get in, so we found one a few blocks away from the touristy Pioneer Square and when it was free, went in. Called ‘Cowgirls’, it looked like a normal Western-themed bar, with a large mechanical rodeo bull sitting quietly unused by the window, a long bar, and a couple of pool tables. Almost all of the crowd were men, but we just figured that was because of the game, which was on every plasma screen.

Admittedly, it was peculiar why there were dozens of bras hung on a cable behind the racks of drinks. Also there seemed to be a metal rail directly above the sturdy wooden bar, with short sections of rope dangling from it at regular intervals. Still, it was showing the game and it was free to enter, so we crunched through the peanut shells on the floor and ordered some beers. In a stunning end to the game, the Seahawks overtook the Cowboys by a point, then conceded a huge running play that gave Dallas the chance at an easy short field goal to win and knock Seattle out of the playoffs. But – in a twist that almost never happens – the Cowboys botched the field goal attempt and in a frantic scramble the ball was stopped, and the Seahawks won by that single point.

The bar erupted, people were screaming and high-fiving loudly – as American sport fans do – as the hometown team got an unlikely victory. A woman’s voice sounded out over a PA system cheering on the Seahawks, and getting the patrons to shout amusing expletives about Dallas, which everyone was happy to do – even those of us on holiday. Then, with an enthusiastically-met yelp of ”Who wants to see the Cowgirls??”, a group of young women appeared and jumped up onto the bar. Dressed, just about, in skimpy Seahawks shirts that would fail any NFL uniform inspection, they started dancing about and demonstrating what the ropes over the bar were for. I think everyone agreed they demonstrated it pretty well. We didn’t stay though, we had a gig to attend on the other side of the city, so left the ever busier Cowgirls and walked through the streets thronged with jubilant Seahawks fans spilling from the nearby stadium. Keep on Hawkin’ on!! a man shouted at me, dressed as a huge blue eagle. Indeed.

Seattle Seahawks
Cowgirls Inc. (probably NSFW)