The inaugural game in our series was scheduled for Sunday 16 December 2001. There was one minor problem: I was in my first semester of law school and had my Civil Procedure mid-year exam scheduled for the very next day. Like many first-year law students, I was scared to death that I was about to fail out of school. Until our mid-year exams, we had very little indication of how we might be doing. There were no quizzes, no mid-terms, nothing. We did at least have the mid-year exams—unlike some schools that use only one final exam in the spring to determine your entire grade. Nevertheless, after a semester of listening to some very intelligent classmates (in at least my opinion) impress my professors and other classmates, I was worried.
I later discovered that, throughout my academic career, I had always been a late-term learner, never feeling completely comfortable with the material until I walked into the exam (if then). So, obviously, the best way to prepare for my Civil Procedure exam was to skip town for the weekend and go to a Seahawks game. Who needs to study when you got football, right? Let’s just say I had my priorities in line. Or did I?
The terminally mediocre Seahawks came into the game with a 6-6 record, while the struggling Cowboys, with Quincy Carter playing quarterback, were limping along at 4-8. This game was very devoid of drama compared to our four subsequent Cowboys-Seahawks games. Seattle won 29-3. Ricky Watters ran 28 times for 104 yards and a touchdown; Shaun Alexander had seven carries for 27 yards and a touchdown; the defense had a safety and an INTD; and Rian Lindell added two field goals.
The big highlight of the game itself was seeing the excitement in the eyes of my brother, who was attending his first Cowboys game in person. It was like watching a little kid on Christmas. I knew and recognized the feeling because I had experienced the same excitement the season before when I watched the Seahawks for the first time in person. I sat in the pouring rain and watched Doug Flutie and the Bills run up and down Husky Field and trounce my Seahawks 42-23. There were no early presents for Seattle on that Christmas Eve Eve game. Curiously, in spite of the two blow-outs of our respective teams in 2000 and 2001, I’m pretty sure both of us still walked away happy, having witnessed our teams firsthand and the spectacle that is the National Football League.
However, the drama behind the first of the Oily Salmon Series was not yet complete. There was still that pesky little Civ.Pro. exam to deal with. Even making it back to San Jose proved adventurous. A certain Seahawk was in the middle of a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs and was thus unable to play against the Cowboys that day. But that didn’t stop me from meeting him.
As I was waiting to board my plane, I looked over at the line forming and seemed to see a familiar face. Only after the gate person informed him that he was attempting to board the wrong plane (he had partaken of a few too many adult beverages), did I realize that Shawn Springs was trying to follow me back to San Jose. He even wanted to see whose jersey I had wadded up in carry-on. As luck would have it, a fellow graduate of H-Town High School also happened to be on that plane and she graciously documented the meeting between Mr. Eddie Utah and Mr. Shawn Springs.
As for the exam, I won’t bore you with the details. I weighed football in one hand and my legal career in the other. I chose football. I studied on the plane and hoped for the best…and apparently I was sufficiently prepared. As TMQ might say, the football gods must have smiled upon me for making the wise decision in appropriately prioritizing my life because when all was said and done, I received the “Witkin” Award for Civil Procedure, indicating that my grade was highest in the 80-person class.
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