Monday Night Lights & Snowball Fights

I woke yesterday morning knowing I had a mountain of work to do. In my pre-dawn, crusty-eyed, already-stressed-out haze I told Kristin to try and sell the tickets to the Seahawks game. But she should bring warm clothing just in case I changed my mind. I called her back around 10am and told her not to sell them, as I really didn't want to miss the game. But I was too late, she already sold them.

"Go downstairs and tell that lady your husband is an idiot and changed his mind and wants the tickets back. Tell her we'll buy her a hat or something as an apology."

In the time Kristin took to drum up the courage to ask for the tickets back, I got some interesting news regarding work. And by interesting I mean soul-crushing. My workload suddenly got a lot bigger. My stress levels were rising. I hung up the phone with my editor and called Kristin back. "Don't buy them back from her, I can't go afterall." Too late. She already got them back. Well, as my occasional riding buddy Ross says, "there'll be plenty of time to work when you're dead". Guess I'm going to the game, after all.

The snow started falling by my house around 1pm, but according to Kristin it was blue skies in Seattle. What a difference 30 miles and 1000 feet of elevation makes! Armed with wool hiking socks, gloves, hat, a fleece pullover and a winter coat (and my Marcus Trufant jersey, naturally) I set off for the city at 2pm for the 5:30 game. I made good time and picked Kristin (already wearing her Lofa Tatupu jersey) up from work by 2:45. The sports talk radio station we listen to was broadcasting live from a bar near the stadium so we headed over there to fortify against the cold. A hefeweizen for the lady and a double Dewars on the rocks for me. From there, it was on to the awesome BBQ place we eat at before every game.

We left the restaurant at about 4:50 and while we were making the 1/2 mile walk to the stadium we saw the first snowflake. Then another. And another. And within a matter of seconds the patchy blue sky was replaced by an ominous blanket of clouds and the snow was coming down in buckets. There has never been a pro football game played in Seattle in the snow. Partly due to the existence of the Kingdome but most because, it's bloody Seattle! It doesn't snow here! In the mountains? Yes. In the city, rarely ever.

And wouldn't it figure that we were playing the Green Bay Packers? If we're going to have unfamilliar weather conditions, can't we at least have San Diego or Miami coming to town?

And the fears were founded. At least for the first half, in which our amazing kicker Josh Brown kept us in the game in spite of Matt Hasselback's four turnovers. Not to totally fault Matt, as you can't blame him for being tentative when playing his first game back in the snow after taking a month off cause of a knee injury. But man were some of those passes ugly. But that's okay, because we also have recently gotten Shaun Alexander back from injury too and he ended up rushing for 201 yards last night on 40 carries!

But despite the at-times sloppy play, watching the game live in the snow was surreal. It was fun to watch the groundscrew rush onto the field during commercial breaks and shovel the snow off the yardage lines. Eyes were fixed on the Sea Gals cheerleaders even more than usual as they impressively came out for the first quarter in skirts despite the weather -- and then later did splits in the snow once in their fleece pants outfit. And, of course, there were the idiots with no shirts on. But the game was exciting, with lots of turnovers, some exciting special teams play, plenty of good running, and in the second half some awesome receiving too. And the better team won. As we knew the Seahawks would.

And then came the drive home...

What we didn't realize while sitting at the game is that the snow was really piling up outside of the city, in the foothills, and places further to the south and north. When we left the stadium at 8:45, we immediately got in the car and drove back to Kristin's office where our other vehicle awaited. I told her to drive my Element since it had snow tires and all-wheel drive, and I would take her Hybrid Civic home, being that I had more experience driving in the snow.

Getting out of the city was a piece of cake, but by the time we got across the lake and hit Bellevue, the snow was back again in full force and really starting to pile up on the Interstate. I flipped to the am news station and caught wind that I-90 was closed near Exit 17 in Issaquah just as I was nearing Exit 15. I called Kristin who was already between the two exits and stuck in a parking lot. She was going to have to wait it out. I, however, did make it off the freeway and was able to inch my way through the snow-covered streets of Issaquah to the on-ramp for Exit 17. Only the exit was closed. There was a cop there helping give directions on how to get around the closure. Now, for those of you who live in the area, this is going to shock you. It took me over an hour from the time I turned left off Gillman to head to the entry ramp, turned around and made it back over to the intersection with Gillman. That's only about 150 yards of distance, roundtrip. And it took over an hour.

I eventually made my way back onto the highway at Exit 18 and crawled up into the foothills at about 25mph. The snow was coming down too fast to plow and based on the radio callers I was listening to, there were hundreds of accidents all throughout the region, with many drivers stuck in traffic for upwards of 4 or 5 hours. In one case, a professor from the UW took over 4.5 hours to go 6 miles. Making matters worse were people getting fed up and abandoning their cars on the roadway. Reports of jackknifed double-length articulated buses were rampant, as were cars sliding backwards down hills or sideways on ramps and side-streets. It was a mess. I had never in my life seen traffic that could possibly have compared to what I saw last night. And I'm sure having 70,000 people enter the roads all at once with no idea what they were in for didn't help matters.

I eventually made it home just before midnight and thankfully I-90 opened back up not long after I sneaked around the closure and Kristin made it home about 40 minutes after me. But it could have been worse. One of the members of the BBTC was in Seattle for club elections last night and left the downtown REI at 8:45 (about the same time we exited the game) and he didn't get home until 2:15 in the morning.

And if you're wondering, no Kristin isn't driving into work today.

No comments: