I’m sort of what you would call “Bad With Money”. As a single man, living in a reasonably-priced apartment, no car payment, still on a family plan for my cell phone, without much in the way of expensive hobbies or any sort of sexual allure with the ladies, I tend to have money to burn. And burn it I shall! I like eating out, going to bars with friends, going on weekend trips out of state, long walks on moonlit beaches, cuddling by the fire with a big bowl of popcorn and a romantic comedy on the TV (is this working yet? I will accept nearly any request for dates) …
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, “Bad With Money”. I spent almost all of my 20s in massive credit card debt, to the point where – after extensive road trips, moving to NYC, and an endless run of music festivals – I had to move back home for a couple years just to get my finances in order. At this point, I’ve made it my vow to stay out of debt if humanly possible. But, that doesn’t mean I’m sitting here shovelling money into my savings account or anything. Aside from my healthy 401K and retirement plan (which, Satan-willing, will allow me to retire just 10 years after I’ve died from colon cancer), I make money and I spend money. It’s a blessing and a curse, because you only live once, right? YOLO YOU MOTHERFUCKERS YOLO!!!
One part of being “Bad With Money” is being Impulsive With Money. I tend to buy a lot of shit I don’t need. It’s stupid. Just last weekend, I spent over $100 on compact discs so I can have something to listen to on my drives to and from Tacoma (where my family lives and where I visit them on occasion). $100 isn’t going to put me in the red or anything, but it’s just stupid, you know? Stupid shit like that.
I tend to get even stupider when you put me inside of a casino. I’m not much of a gambler, because I have self-diagnosed adult-onset A.D.D. It’s boring to me to just sit there slowly losing money for hours on end. Not only that, but it’s fucking stressful! I feel great if I can just leave a blackjack table with as much money as I started with; but if I start losing, I start playing shitty, making bigger and bigger bets, until I’ve lost what I came with in a matter of minutes. I can’t just sit there, roll with the ebbs & flows, and work the game until I get my money back. If I start losing, I have to get it all back RIGHT NOW, or I don’t feel comfortable. As such, I tend to avoid these games. Let my friends play them while I stand there and watch. Or, let my friends play them while I wander around looking for something else to do.
My game is roulette, but again, I don’t play roulette like others play roulette. As I said before, I can’t be bothered to sit there for hours on end, spreading my chips around. Instead, I like to make big bets, on black. And when I say “big bets”, I mean AH big bet. And when I say “big”, I mean $500. On black. I win, I walk away. I lose, I walk away. It’s the ultimate high, and it lasts about 15 seconds (just like my sex life … HI-YO!).
Just my writing about this is probably going to jinx the fuck out of my trip to Tahoe next week, but I will admit: I somehow find a way to win more than I lose. The odds are a tad under 50/50, but I think only once have I come away from a casino having lost my shirt. I tend to play it smart: carry all the cash I plan on gambling, leave the ATM card at home. Last year in Tahoe, I think I walked away up somewhere around $1,500-$2,000 richer, just by making a few big bets on roulette. I gave some of that back in drinks, and black jack, and slots, and sports gambling, but I still made it back home with more money than I left with.
I also made it back with a ticket on the Seahawks to win the Super Bowl. $100, at 7-to-1 odds. This time next week, I’m going to take that ticket to the sportsbook where I purchased it and I’m going to collect $800. And, if you couldn’t tell where this is going, I’m going to ask it again: should I let it ride on the Seahawks?
Since I’m “Bad With Money”, I’m legitimately considering this. I highly doubt I’m looking at 7-to-1 odds again, but I might get something like 4-to-1 odds. $800 with that kind of action would win me $3,200. Now, I’m not trying to make it a habit of throwing away $800, so I wouldn’t even consider it if I didn’t think I had a pretty good chance of winning. At this point, I have to ask myself: do I feel lucky?
This time last year, I was more confident than I’ve ever been in the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl. I was so confident, I honestly don’t know why I didn’t bet MORE than $100 with those 7-to-1 odds (especially considering the killing I’d made on roulette that weekend). Because at this time last year, the Seahawks were returning damn near everyone from a dominant 2012 team that had come OH SO CLOSE to the NFC Championship Game. It was a foregone conclusion. Beef up the defensive line (which we did, by signing Bennett and Avril), get some help for our receivers (which we did, by trading for Harvin), and we’d be good to go. More importantly, we didn’t lose ANYONE who was important in our 2012 run. That was key. Right down to Heath Fucking Farwell and Michael Robinson (eventually, getting him back mid-season after his mystery illness).
This year, while I still consider the Seahawks as favorites, you can’t deny that we’re missing some key guys. Golden Tate, Red Bryant, Clinton McDonald, Breno Giacomini, Walter Thurmond, Brandon Browner, Chris Clemons, Chris Maragos. These are starters and depth guys. Whereas last year, we had the best talent and the best depth in the league, now we’ve got some real question marks.
Our depth along the D-Line has been wounded to say the least. The team (probably wisely) is avoiding any major splashes for veteran free agents, instead scouring the wire looking for bargains (because we’ve got bigger fish to fry with Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman). We’re down a couple of receivers (not to mention a punt returner), unless the team brings Sidney Rice back on a small, prove-it deal. All of our depth at cornerback is thrust to the fore with Maxwell starting and Lane as our primary nickel corner. Behind them, we’ve got … nothing. And, I know we kind of like Bowie and Bailey, but are they capable starters along our O-Line?
The Seahawks didn’t get a whole lot out of last year’s draft because they didn’t NEED to get a whole lot out of last year’s draft. This year, it’s different. This year is HUGE. This year will go a long way in determining if whether this is truly a dynasty, or just a couple/few years of dominance. This draft needs to produce future starters and key depth pieces. The time is now; we’ve got to find cheap talent as our stars start getting motherfucking PAID.
All of this is enough to give me pause. Then, I see what the other teams around us are doing. Teams in our division getting better. Teams in the NFC South getting better. The Eagles bulking up their offense. The Lions bulking up THEIR offense. The Patriots and Broncos in an arms race over in the AFC. The rich are getting richer in a way that you just don’t see very often in the NFL (the rich tend to get richer in the NBA or MLB more often), thanks to the salary cap bump for all teams.
We all know how difficult it is to repeat as champs. It almost NEVER happens. If ever there was a team that could do it, you’d think the Seahawks would be th at team, but I dunno. The NFC is STACKED. This isn’t like back in the day when the Cowboys could hack through the NFC like warm butter before beating up on the Bills in the Super Bowl. There are five or six other legitimate contenders in the NFC, with another small handful that could surprise.
That’s enough doubt to play it straight, accept my $800, and blow it some other way (I’ve always wanted to learn how to play craps).
But, then I get to thinking: why CAN’T the Seahawks win it all?
Let’s get into this. Everyone is SO FUCKING FREAKED OUT about all the guys we’re losing. But, you know what? Who have we lost, really? I’d say, we lost three guys: Tate, Bryant, and Clemons. The rest of them were backups or were beat out by better players. So, why don’t we focus on who’s still here?
Russell Wilson, for starters. With Tarvaris Jackson as his backup just in case. I’d say the depth and talent at the quarterback position is championship calibre.
Marshawn Lynch. With Turbin and Christine Michael as his backups. Lynch still has what it takes to play at a high level. And, if he gets hurt or starts to fall off, we’ve got the crazy-talent of Michael to step up to the streets.
Percy Harvin. With Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. And some other fringe roster guys to battle it out. And a whole draft full of guys who could step up and be the next Golden Tate. And who knows? Maybe Sidney Rice comes back and wins a job.
Okung, Unger, Sweezy. These three guys have been your starting left tackle, center, and right guard for the better part of the last two years. We’ve also got the aforementioned Bowie & Bailey who looked solid, as well as James Carpenter, who has a lot of starting experience. And, most importantly, we have Tom Cable. I’m not worried about right tackle or the guard spots in the least.
Zach Miller. With Luke Willson and Anthony McCoy. Maybe the Seahawks go out and get another tight end in free agency, maybe they select one high in the draft. Or, maybe we just stick with Zach Miller because he’s awesome.
Aside from Tate, we’re really not missing much of a beat on offense in 2014. Tate can be replaced. Look for Kearse to keep making an impact. And, if we sign a Jermichael Finley, then we’ve just upgraded at a position that hasn’t been known to be all that offensively-minded around these parts.
On defense, we’ve got Mebane, Bennett, Avril, McDaniel and Jordan Hill. I know Hill didn’t play much, but I would argue that’s because the guys ahead of him were lights out. Hill has talent. I have faith he’ll be around here and producing for a long time. Also, we kept Benson Mayowa around for a reason: he’s got some pass-rushing chops. With a year in our system, he could really take a big step forward in Training Camp and earn himself some playing time. AND, don’t forget Greg Scruggs. He got some snaps in as a rookie. I know he missed all of last year due to injury, but by all accounts he’s been working his ass off to get back into playing shape. I would expect he makes a big impact this year. We’ve got other depth type guys, as well as the draft, as well as any gems we’re able to pluck from free agency. I think we’ll be fine.
As for our linebackers, we will have EVERYBODY BACK. Well, everybody who matters anyway: Wagner, Wright, Smith, and Irvin. Heath Farwell will probably be a casualty, but then again, maybe not? This team values special teams like no other, and he’s the king of special teams for the Seahawks. We managed to keep him last year, I don’t see why we don’t try to keep him again.
And, in the secondary, we have a full Legion of Boom: Sherman, Thomas, Chancellor, and Maxwell. With a rock-solid Lane as our nickel corner. Nobody likes losing Maragos (who was another special teams standout and backup safety), but we’ve got Shead who had some playing time last year as a capable backup. Jeron Johnson is also a capable backup, if he can just stay healthy. Beyond that, it’s a crapshoot. Depth in the secondary is a REAL concern, especially if we’re talking about any extended injuries to our starters. That having been said, I will counter with this: these Seahawks coaches – if they know ANYTHING – know how to coach up the secondary. Where have all of these guys come from? The 4th & 5th & 6th rounds of the draft. The CFL. The scrap heap. All of them (aside from Earl Thomas, a first rounder) would be considered diamonds in the rough who have made their mark because this coaching staff has worked its magic.
So, you see what I’m talking about, right? This team is intact! This team is solid! And, as long as we don’t dick around with the kicker, we should be intact and solid from top to bottom.
I think I’m going to do it! Yeah! Well, how about this: I’ll save my $800 ticket for a rainy day. If I lose all the money I come down with in the first couple of nights, then I’ll cash the $800 and use it to have fun. But, if I have somehow managed to not jinx myself and come away somewhat even by the time Saturday night rolls around, I’m going to take that ticket, I’m going to get a picture of me with my money (as it may be the last time I see it), and I’m going to turn around and put it BACK on the Seahawks to win it all!
Maybe I can just do this ever year. Keep going to Tahoe in March, keep putting money on the Seahawks to win it all, and keep generating championship parades for the city of Seattle. All the while increasing my next year’s Tahoe bankroll by leaps and bounds!