Sonics Fans Chill As Seattle Arena Talk Heats Up

This is the 40-Something File!

A weekly take on the state of Seattle Sports through the lens of a guy whose four decades of Seattle fandom has earned too many scars, and seen too few celebrations.

As reports of multiple new Seattle area arena investors surface, it is inevitable that we are reminded yet again of the unsavory work of Mr. Starschmucks, Mr. Frickinfracker (See: Chesapeake Energy Corporation), and the disgustingly smarmy Mr. Weaselstern.  Their real names are not being mentioned here so as not to incite uncontrolled hurling or smashing of the device upon which you are reading these words.

Yet, in spite of by whom and how the Sonics were ripped from our city, there may be a bright side worth mentioning.  And, as painful as it still can be when you allow yourself to get lost in thought about those cozy Seattle Center, cavernous Kingdome, and body rockin’ Key Arena playoff runs of the late 70’s, early 80’s and nearly all of the 90’s, it really is worth considering the acceptable nature of the alternative we live with today.

With billionaire groups reportedly lining up to beat Hansen and his SODO Arena plan to the punch, it seems inevitable that the NBA (either before or after or alongside the NHL) will soon find it’s way back into our region’s sports landscape.  But, are we really ready to ride the Go Hawks wave deep into the NFL playoffs, all the while searching for the energy, passion, and disposable income to support our hoops heroes as well?

In spite of the angst the 12s felt from the harsh way Super Bowl XLIX ended for the Seahawks, I am not sure many were wishing the Sonics were here to ease the pain. Many, like me, were just exhausted, welcoming the built-in reprieve that not having the Sonics around affords them.  This year, especially, it was a sort of blessing not having to figure out how to reassemble broken hearts and send them right over to the Sonics via “magic carpet ride.”

Perhaps even more importantly, how many of us had a lot more time on our hands to successfully execute this year’s Valentine’s weekend than we would have were there a Green and Gold wearing, young and powerful, Shawn Kemp-like Supersonic competing in the dunk contest?  Having no Seattle NBA franchise probably paid dividends to those who would be otherwise distracted.  (Check back with me on this about nine months from now when the region’s maternity wards are churning out little 12s at a record pace).

Now, don’t get me wrong…  If the Supersonics reappeared in Seattle via Milwaukee, Atlanta, expansion, or by some miracle of redemptive miracles, Oklahoma City (!!!), I would be the first in line for SeasonTickets. There’s no denying that this talk of various investor groups racing Chris Hansen to bring the NBA back to a time-tested fanbase is exciting and promising.

Chris Hansen Faces NBA/NHL Arena Competition

But for now, maybe it’s good we can simply take a step back and enjoy this break in the Seattle sports calendar to just relax and breathe.  As hard as it is to stomach how it all came to be, this awkward, sports radio-destroying, month or so of time off from serious Seattle-centric fandom just might be serving us well.

It will only be a matter of time before we once again are faced with convincing ourselves that it’s a good idea to take our Valentine to a Sonics game, come some future February 14th. And as we print out the two nose bleed tickets we just secured online, we’ll actually say to ourselves, “c’mon, nothing’s more romantic than a Sonics game!  They’ve got Kiss Cam!!!”

But, in the few years that remain between now and then, hopefully you find value in these empty sports calendar weeks as both a great time to let your fandom recharge and to prioritize the loved ones in your life.

Now, if Zach Levine, being a hometown kid in the NBA’s All Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest, was appointment TV for you on Saturday, then I am sure these pleasant reasons to be cool with the state of the NBA in Seattle do not ring true for you. (he killed it, by the way… not that I was paying very close attention, or anything).

Oh, who am I fooling?  Whether you spent Valentines Day with Kenny, Reggie, and Charles, or you spent it a little more traditionally, no true fan can 100 percent keep down the sense of loss and hopelessness that lingers just beneath our Sonics-less surface. We all cross our fingers that this latest round of investor group hopefuls – and especially Hansen and his SODO planners – have a firm grasp on how to once and for all circumvent the boobie-trapped waters left in Starschmuck’s, FrickinFracker’s, and Weaselstern’s wake.

Yes, it is nice to have a little time to devote to ourselves and the people in our lives, rather than being completely consumed by our passion for sports each and every day of the calendar year… especially considering that Seattle’s annual break in the pro sports calendar falls right around the one holiday that sort of demands such devotion.

But let’s be honest: nothing will ever truly make a Seattle sports fan’s heart skip a beat like when it is finally time once again to “GET ON YOUR FEET” for an elongated, echoing, beat sync’d, hair raising, crowd pumping…


Wherever the arena may be.