Another reason we went to Seattle though was to see my favorite football team, the Arizona Cardinals, play the Seattle Seahawks in the last game of the season. I used to watch the Cardinals when I was a kid in St. Louis, and although my interest in following them faded when they moved to Pheonix, I still was attached to them deep down. When Kurt Warner (whom I had come to love when he played for the Rams) became their quarterback in 2008, my fandom was re-kindled in the Cardinals, and I have followed them ever since, even now that Kurt is long gone (and in the HOF!). In any case, I was exited to see them play their divisional rival Seahawks in their own stadium, where the Cardinals have had a lot of good fortune of late.
I have to admit though, the boisterous reputation of Seattle fans at CenturyLink field was known to me, and I was a bit intimidated at the thought of wearing my Red and White in the midst of a sea of Green - their vaunted 12th man. The fact that Seattle actually had chance to make the playoffs and a loss to the Cardinals would put them out of the running only served to heighten my nervousness. Visions of fans screaming - "there's a Cardinals fan! Get him!!" floated through my head as my wife and I walked up to the stadium. It was then, as I was walking through a throng of neon green jerseys, hats, coats and other apparel wearing my Cardinals red jacket and black and red cardinals hat, that I noticed something. Something peculiar, and wonderful. Other Cardinals fans! Granted, they were few in number in comparison to the green throng, but they were there...and they were vocal! With out exception, every Cardinals fan that walked by me either shouted "Yeah! Go Cardinals!!", or let out a loud "Woooooooo!" and pointed to Diane and I, or high-fived us as we walked past. It was totally unprepared for this support, this feeling of camaraderie and worth!
The situation reminded me of the story Elisha and his servant when they were surrounded by enemies (2nd Kings chapter 6), and Elisha's servant asked him in panic what they were to do. Elisha answered his servant saying, "there are more with us than there are with them" - and he asked God to open the eyes of his servant so he could see the army of angels that were surrounding the enemy! Ok, so I'm not saying the Seahawks fans were enemies per se, or that I had an army of "angelic" Cardinals fans on my side, but I am saying that seeing the random Cardinals fans and being encouraged by them made me feel like I had an army of angels around me. Suddenly I didn't feel isolated and vulnerable or intimidated. I was free to cheer my team on to the fullest of my ability, which I did. As a matter of record, 99% of the Seahawks fans were very nice and respectful of my right to cheer for the other team. Yes, there were a few that jeered at me or made derogatory comments - mostly in jest but a couple were the heartfelt kind. However, the impact of these few moments was completely insignificant compared to the boost I got from my fellow Cardinals fans.
I wanted to share this story with you guys not because it had anything to do with windows, but because it did have something to do with "views". Our outlook has a lot to do with how we handle situations in life. Mine was a bit myopic - I was only thinking about how a few rude/obnoxious Seahawks could really ruin my experience of the game, and was not even looking for the supportive boost I would get from the Cardinals fans in my midst! In fact, the Cardinals fans were almost always supportive and positive, pulling for our team in "enemy" territory, whereas the Seahawks fans were almost never negative towards me being at their stadium and rooting for my team. My view was limited and so my outlook was jaded. I also learned the power of encouragement, even by one person in the midst of a crowd of nay sayers. One person can provide the courage and backbone someone needs to say something important, or to do something that needs to get done, or provide peace so someone can relax and enjoy their football game! Go now, and notice voices and smiles of those who are really for you in your life, and not just the voices that oppose. While your at it, look to walk with someone who is feeling alone in what seems to be a scary but important path in their life...maybe even give them high five!