Mark Washburn

Hey Seattle! We’re cool, too! Sort of.

Somebody in this town needs to step up. Somebody needs to get us pumped up about football. Somebody needs to ignore the fact that beating Arizona was like mugging an old lady in a wheelchair. Somebody needs to talk trash about Seattle. I am that somebody.

And I am doomed.

Have you ever tried to make fun of Seattle? It’s the coolest, cleanest, cutest town you’ve ever met. They sit up there surrounded by purple mountains’ majesty atop the Lower 48 making software, espresso and airliners while the rest of us dwell down here in red Piedmont mud, farming hogs or building office towers.

There are exactly two things outsiders can make fun of up there.

No. 1, it rains all the time, at least in everyone’s imagination. Fact is, Seattle’s air is just wet. Drizzle is a nice day up there. We have ozone, they have mist. We have Carolina blue, they have Seattle gray.

Want to make fun? You’d better avoid facts. Seattle averages 37 inches of precipitation a year. Charlotte gets 42. Sometimes theirs falls in frozen form and they just shrug it off. Strange folk.

No. 2, it has that goofy Space Needle. It opened in 1962, which as anybody knows probably makes it, like, 50 years old or something. Can you imagine Charlotte allowing something to stand that long?

It would have been torn down at least twice here, and replaced by an attractive steel-and-glass cube that would stand in harmony with the other steel-and-glass cubes nearby, meaning it would be reasonably invisible.

For whatever reason – (they may be secretly poor, so don’t judge them) – Seattle likes to keep its old stuff around. They still have a 1960s monorail, which is an absolute Transposaurus Rex compared with our new spiffy modern streetcar, except maybe for the fact that their antique train:

•  Zips along quickly, quietly and efficiently because its tracks are not dug into the pavement where it has to sit in traffic like a much-cheaper sooty old bus, and,



•  Actually travels somewhere that people want to go.



They’ve got Puget Sound. We’ve got Little Sugar Creek. So that’s a toss-up.

Otherwise, they’ve got nothing.

No, wait. They sleep in each morning three hours longer than we do, and still somehow manage to get their work done.

And they’ve also got a football team that, not to put too fine a point on it, is going to beat us like a rented pickup truck.

I mean no offense to those of you who have conveniently forgotten how picking a champion for the NFC South involved counting who’d lost the fewest games. And you needed both hands to count the losses of any team in the division.

So the Panthers may be losers, but they’re our losers and we love them. Like the teenager who suddenly inhabits your child’s body, they drive us nuts and disappoint us for a time, but in the end, everything works out.

They had a good finish. They earned a trophy. They showed us some moves. They gave us some thrills and sealed the season with smiles and high-fives for the front row.

Cam walked away from a rollover. Ron and family walked away from an attic fire. Everybody’s good.

So it’s been a magical season after all. If it ends – and it will – in Seattle on Saturday, we can close the book and be satisfied.

We weren’t altogether terrible. We rose in the end. We’re kind of cool, too.

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