The Seattle Seahawks are known for taking their fans on wild rides, but last week’s game against the LA Rams brought it to a whole new level of madness. It had all the elements: a clunky start, freakish athleticism- from Tyler Lockett’s super catch to Tedric Thompson’s ridiculous interception- on both sides of the ball, unfortunate penalties, momentum shifts, Russell Wilson mojo, blown opportunities and a missed field goal in the final seconds, compliments of Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein, to give the Hawks the win, 30-29.
I was dizzy throughout most of the game, catapulted across a tumult of emotions. My heart rate was still elevated the next morning. I was happy but exhausted. But as thrilled as I was for the victory, I started to wonder if watching Seahawks football is potentially hazardous for my health. It occurs to me that other fans may have the same concerns. In the spirit of service to my community, I’ve come up with a few health tips for my fellow Seahawks fans.
- Watching a Seahawks game is ultimately an anaerobic activity. As such, it’s important to be in the best cardio shape possible. Conditioning is key. If you don’t have one already, start a workout routine. Hit the gym. Sign up for a boot camp class. Crush it on the elliptical. At the very least, go for brisk walks that gets your heart rate up. Take the route with steep hills. Make your chest pound. Sweat. Get ready.
- Hyperventilation is a given. It’s bound to happen at some point during the game. Keep a paper bag on hand. Breathe into it as needed. The last thing you want to do is pass out and miss a critical play.
- Stress is a biggie, both in the moment of the game and as a by-product of a challenging season. To prepare, take up a centering practice such as mindfulness meditation or deep breathing exercises. Use these tools to calm yourself when the play action gets intense. If you’re disinclined towards these proactive measures, keep a stress ball around. When the game gets to be too much, squeeze baby squeeze. Face-planting in a plate of nachos is also an option, although the self-loathing afterward may negate any benefits.
- Yelling maniacally, either at players in the stadium or at the TV in your living room, is righteous, natural and essential. It also trashes your voice, leaving you hoarse for a few post-game days. While there’s a slightly sexy allure to a raspy voice, it’s not particularly good to shred it every Sunday. In the interest of protecting your vocal chords, learn to yell from your diaphragm. That’s what it’s there for! Of course, proper technique is critical. For more on this, go here. (If you’re watching solely for the entertainment value, fast forward to 4:01.)
- During any given game, you’ll be flailing around and jumping up and down a lot, risking a potential injury. Take care of yourself. Do some pre-kickoff stretching. Even better, practice yoga. It will help your body stay limber and flexible. It will also help you manage the barrage of strong emotions that a Seahawks game elicits. It’s impossible to hate on Germaine Ifedi when your heart is open and spacious.
- Keep hot beverages out-of-reach, as in across the room. Better yet, don’t drink them at all during a game.
- For some fans, teeth grinding and jaw clenching are real problems. Consider getting a mouth guard. You can purchase one at any drugstore. You can even get creative and customize it, ala D.K. Metcalf.
- Anxiety is the twin sibling of stress. It just shows up a little differently. It rolls around the body freestyle, creating a host of uncomfortable sensations, from a deep lurch in the gut to an overbearing sense of dread and everything in-between. It can come on long before the pre-game shows and, depending on the outcome, linger long after the post-game analysis. This can be an indicator that you’re in deep; that your overall sense of well-being is contingent on how the Hawks are doing. There is potential to nip this in the bud with some of the aforementioned centering exercises. But if you’re too far in, you might need to explore other remedial options. Some folks swear by CBD. There may be a support group of some sort. Of course, therapy is always an option.
Just for perspective, it’s not like we fans are tearing ACL’s, pulling hamstrings or hanging out in concussion protocol (although on that last point, maybe some of us should be). We can suck it up. And at the end of the day, my truth is this: Seahawks football is actually core to my wellness and vital to my spirit, regardless of what it sometimes does to my body. With eleven games to go still and, hopefully, the playoffs ahead, I’m ready for wherever the wild ride takes us and for whatever bumps, bruises and states of derangement that come with it.