Monday, February 2, 2015

My Husband's Mutombo Moment

So at the end of the season in 1994, the Seattle Supersonics had the best record in the NBA. Their record was 63 wins to 19 losses, George Karl was their coach, Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton, Michael Cage and Nate McMillan, Sam Perkins and Detlef Schrempf were town HEROES. And I mean HEROES.

Much like the Seattle Seahawks this year.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

You probably don't remember 1994, or at least the NBA post-season that year, but I'll tell you what, if you followed the Sonics at all, you KNEW they were headed for the NBA Finals. No question. They were just that good. But wait. Do you remember the Sonics playing in the Finals that year?

Nope, you don't, because they lost before they got there. Not only that, they lost in the first round, to the number 8 seed Denver Nuggets.They won the first 2 games in the best 3 out of 5 series, and they LOST - the first time ever a number 1 seed lost to the number 8 seed. 

I was there for game 5. I may never recover.

Cut my heart out. Just do it.
For those of us who were fans of the Sonics that year (and for years before that, and for years after until some a$$hole from Oklahoma stole them), the image of Dikembe Motumbo rolling around the court at the end of game 5 was the final nail in the coffin of our dreams, made worse by the fact that all his jubilation took place on the floor of Key Arena. See the Sonics green on the floor? It was our HOME COURT.

Jeebus. Twenty-one years later, it still twists something in my gut.

As I said earlier, I attended that game. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I had plans afterwards with my then-boyfriend, a tall, lanky musician who could tell the difference between a football and a basketball, but didn't pay much more attention to sports than that. I think I canceled our post-game date. I was just too upset to go out.

Despite that, he still married me, and a few years ago, a funny thing happened. Our son, who was then in 2nd grade, announced he wanted to play football with his best friend. And, like any rational, caring parent, I said,


I mean, come on. 2nd grade? No way. I said NO when he asked again in 3rd grade, but by the time he got to 4th grade, I'd made as much peace with the idea as I ever will, and signed the permission slips. I figured he'd take a couple solid hits that first season, and decide swim team had more to offer. (Hello?! Girls in swimsuits!) He's a high school freshman now, and just finished his first season  of high school football. Apparently the idea of delivering solid hits to other boys outweighs the inevitable punishment involved.

Another funny thing happened. During my son's years in club football, my husband became a HUGE fan of the sport. My son's participation in the sport paralleled the Seahawks rise from perennial cellar-dwellers, and though my husband's enthusiasm started with the Lake City Braves, it has since generalized to include our local professional team.

Now, unlike almost EVERYONE ELSE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, I had to work night shift this weekend, which meant I watched most of the Super Bowl alone in the comfort of my bed. My husband had a slate of parties to hit, and a brand new Pearl Jam Seahawks teeshirt to wear. 
He's still a musician, after all.

I didn't watch most of the 4th quarter, because I was on my way to work, but followed along with my phone, so I saw the final score. And I was...bummed.

You know. 

My team lost the Super Bowl. 

But later, when I talked to my husband, he used a stronger word to describe his reaction. He called the end of the game "devastating". He sounded all hollow when he said it, too, like he couldn't quite believe what had happened. And I knew exactly how he felt. 

He was having a Motumbo Moment.

In all the years I've known my husband, this is the first time he's been passionately excited about a professional sports team, and last night was by far the biggest loss the team has suffered since he started following them. The team wasn't the only one suffering. While I was all, "Hey, I'd rather lose in the Super Bowl than not play in the game," he was alternating between shock and depression.

Poor guy.

I seriously don't think any pro sports gave will ever effect me the way that Sonics-Denver game did. After my Motumbo Moment, I simply don't get that excited about any team. Probably the only thing that would come close is if the Garfield High School Bulldogs lose in the State championship game. They made the playoffs this year, but were no where near the championship, so I think I'm safe. 

But anything is possible.

Anywhoodle, at the risk of sounding completely cynical, I do know the cure for a Motumbo Moment.

Next season.

It'll help to listen to the sportscasters post-game analysis and see the memes as they pop up on Facebook, but really, the best way to put last night behind us will happen next September. I mean, Pete Carroll has the biggest balls in football, and Russell Wilson's the BEST young quarterback out there. The Seahawks - and the city of Seattle - have a few more years before this ride is over.

What about you? Have you ever had a Motumbo Moment? Share it here!
Peace out...


  1. As a NY JET fan, we have more heartbreak than not - for decades….

    But we feel your pain - here's a typical JET lose against those damn Pats - our division rival and a victim of their cheating - just this past December 21st:

    Six years of frustration played out in one afternoon at MetLife Stadium, where the Jets endured their 12th loss of the season, 17-16. They were in position to pull off a major upset, but they self-destructed in a span of 52 seconds in the fourth quarter -- a small window into the core of their problems. Inexplicably, Geno Smith took a third-down sack, followed by a Ryan-Marty Mornhinweg disagreement on the sideline, followed by a wasted timeout, followed by a partially blocked field-goal attempt from 52 yards.

    We've had too many many Mutombo Moment's to count :)

  2. I think I mighta started throwing stuff at the television if I'd been watching that game. Jeebus!

  3. I think I mighta started throwing stuff at the television if I'd been watching that game. Jeebus!

  4. I don't know that I've ever had a Mutumbo Moment (I was playing a softball game during that playoff series, BTW, and one of the parents in the stands was keeping us updated with the score). I've seen a couple of other people's, though. The one I remember the most vividly was Chris Webber, then-forward of the Michigan Wolverines, calling a time out the team didn't have in the Final Four. THE FINAL FOUR. That technical cost them the game. Or the look on Adam Morrison's face when the Zags lost to UCLA in the Sweet 16. Honestly? That was probably the most heartbreaking one of all. Google it. You'll feel for him.

    Or what about the '95 Mariners? Their miracle season ending with a loss to the Indians...the year after the Sonics lost to the Nuggets.

  5. OMG Amanda, you're bringing up some bad memories here. I believe I was watching both basketball games you mention, and they were amazingly awful. I don't feel the same way about the '95 Mariners, because they'd already exceeded my expectations by so much...and because if they'd kept winning, I was gonna have to set up a big-screen TV in the middle of my wedding reception.

  6. I'm pretty ambivalent in regards to sports, so I suppose I've never had such a moment. However, in the days of my youth, I'd always be disappointed when a favorite band would water down their sound in the hopes of greater commercial appeal. Although, the experiences probably aren't that similar ;)

  7. There's a shock value that comes with a last-second loss, Mike, that I don't think is duplicated. On the other hand, you have to hear a disappointing song again and again and there's that...