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Clare Farnsworth: Thanks for the memories
How do you say goodbye after 36 seasons?
For those of you who have read what I’ve written at Seahawks.com the past six seasons – or for 30 seasons before that at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Bellevue Journal-American and Fournier Newspapers – you’re well aware that I’m never at a loss for words.
But this different.
Writing the story is one thing. Becoming the story is something that’s completely conflicting. Not to mention difficult.
My final day at Seahawks.com will be this Friday, March 27. I was planning to retire on April 1, because only a fool would walk away from “the greatest job in the world.” But 3.27 also has a special meaning. The sum of those three digits is – Blue Thunder drumroll, please – 12.
This decision has been in the works for a while. But now that the time to announce it has come, well, I’ve been left to ponder, and wrestle with: How do you say goodbye after 36 seasons?
My friend Steve Kelley did it so eloquently in 2013 while announcing his retirement as a columnist for the Seattle Times. And there were a number of heartfelt farewells written by my colleagues in the sports department when the P-I stopped publishing in March 2009.
But in trying to capture a job that has been more a labor of love since 1979, it has felt like being set adrift in a kayak without the paddle.
What to say? Where to begin? Who to include?
I could list my favorite players, games and moments. But I fear that for everyone I would mention I’d surely be forgetting others that deserve to be included.
And maybe that’s the point that needs to be stressed: Just how fortunate I’ve been to cover this team for so many seasons. As I’ve been saying for years, “I’ve made it this far in my life without ever having a real job.”
I’ve covered all of the coaches, and most of the players, games and events that comprise the fabric of this franchise because I’ve been allowed to hang around so long – my first three seasons with the Fournier Newspapers (1979-81), the next five at the Journal-American (1982-86), the next 22 at the P-I (1987-2008) and the last six at Seahawks.com.
As for the non-players, the list starts with Gary Wright, John Nordstrom, Pete Gross and Randy Mueller, but also includes Chuck Allen, Mike McCormack, John Schneider, Tom Flores, Dennis Erickson, Mickey Loomis, John Becker, Gus Bradley, Tom Catlin, Tom Cable, Ralph Hawkins, Bruce DeHaven, Gil Haskell, Chick Harris, Jim Johnson, Will Lewis, Tag Ribary, Paul Moyer, Steve Raible, Howard Mudd, Fritz Shurmur, Rusty Tillman and Joe Vitt, as well as Knox, Holmgren and Carroll.
There, I’ve done it – listed a lot of names, only to regret not including others. But I’ve learned so much from so many of the players, coaches and front-office execs that I’ve had the privilege to work with over the past 36 seasons and, better yet, developed friendships and relationships with so many of them.
Let’s just say I’ve covered the men of character (they know who they are) and those who were characters (we all know who they were).
And, of course, my first Seahawks game – a preseason overtime victory against the Minnesota Vikings at the Kingdome on Aug. 2, 1979.
As Carroll would ask: What’s next?
Atop my retirement bucket list is being a better husband to Renee; a better father to Jessica, Erica and Nathan; and a better Papa Clare to Satya, our granddaughter. They’re the ones who have endured me being gone for so many birthdays and holidays while I was off chasing this team – and my dream.
So it is with some trepidation – and yes, a few tears – that I say thanks for the memories as I enter the final week of what has been a 36-season joy ride. Read