What Goes, and What Stays

March 5, 2015

By Pat Detmer

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When you drive over the hill toward 405 and see the VMAC, do you still feel blue blue about the Seahawks? Fear not.

There was another “Boom” in Seattle before the “Legion of.” It was the “Sonic Boom,” and I signed up for for a decade of fanaticism. I’d moved to Seattle in ’72 from small-town Illinois, where basketball was king, where winters were so harsh and bleak that the best option for entertainment was to be packed into frigid cinder-block gyms in the dead of January to watch sons of farmers play the game. I transferred my basketball fan punchcard to Seattle and started listening to Bob Blackburn on the radio, and daily scanned the sports pages for stories about the SuperSonics in all three newspapers. Yes. Three.


I was ecstatic when they began to win and make the playoffs, and I committed myself completely to the journey. In my saved box of Sonic history are newspaper clippings, a poem of mine that had been published (“Goodbye, Marvin; No Hard Feelings!”) and a front-page picture of myself and friends holding up a banner during the Denver playoff series (“We Got ‘em by the Nuggets!”).

I had absolutely no business spending my hard-earned money on season tickets, but I did it anyway, investing in them with my best friend, a school teacher who somehow managed to convince Sonic management that she was a professional photographer, so I would hang with her courtside pre-game, and be admitted to downtown building roofs open only to the press, perfect vantage points for the post-season parades. I still have the 8-by-10 black-and-white glossies from those.

I was employed in a highly seasonal industry at the time, and days off during busy times were verboten unless somebody in your immediate family died. I was a prototypical German Catholic uber-worker, but in spite of that, when the Sonic siren called out to me, I couldn’t resist. I marched into the general manager’s office and said, “Fire me if you have to, but I’m going to the parade.”

Later there were more connections to the team: My sister briefly dated Jack Sikma, and I helped P.I. sports reporter Blaine Johnson write a book about the Bill Russell years called “What’s Happenin'”.

Besides the newspaper clips, there’s a gold “World Champs” T-shirt, a hardbound NBA Sonics Yearbook and a vinyl LP featuring “exciting play-by-play highlights, interviews, Sonic songs and the post-season celebration!”… historical artifacts that I’ve faithfully retained, and like my memories, easy to access. Except for the “Sonic songs.” I don’t remember those at all.

So if you believe you’ll never get over the Super Bowl, think again. Consider my Sonics experience. Today I recall only the fun, the highs, the shared insanity, the car horns honking in the night, waiting in the rain for playoff tickets with other zealots, all the good stuff; and I remember absolutely nothing of the losses, none of the lows, the disappointments, not even the pain of losing the Sonics altogether.

And just think: The Seahawks have only begun.

You can reach Pat Detmer — who may fire up the phonograph to hear those Sonic songs — at patdetmer@aol.com.

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One Response to “What Goes, and What Stays”

  1. Dave Blackburn on April 10th, 2015 5:14 pm

    As my father would say, “it’s just nice to be remembered.”

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