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Guest Post/Review: Super Bowl - Tess Thompson


In the clearing stands a boxer,
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame,
"I am leaving, I am leaving."
But the fighter still remains
~Paul Simon, The Boxer

In Seattle, we call ourselves the 12thMan – the fans. Or, as my editor, Jennifer D. Munroe named herself, the 12thMom.

We won the Super Bowl for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Our town went crazy. 700,000 people showed up in frigid weather to welcome our team of coaches and players back to town.

Why were we so excited? A woman from California (it may have been after we beat their 49er’s in the playoff game) said something like, “Well, the Seahawks are the only thing they have up there in Seattle.” I won’t defend our beautiful city because this is not an essay about my beloved home, but suffice it to say, those of us who live here are proud for many reasons, one of which is that there was not 1 arrest during the day of the parade. Not 1.

We talk a lot about numbers in our culture. Everything’s a competition. Even writers are worried over numbers – Amazon rankings, for example, have kept many an author up in the middle of the night.

Numbers are cold. Numbers are facts. But in the case of my Seahawks, numbers can give us insight into something intangible.

Here are a few facts (numbers) on both our head coach and quarterback from our friends over at Wikipedia

Peter Clay "Pete" Carroll is the head coach and executive vice president of the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He is a former head coach of the New York Jets, New England Patriots, and the USC Trojans. Carroll is one of only three football coaches who have won both a Super Bowl and a college football national championship.

Russell Carrington Wilson signed a four-year, $2.99 million contract with the Seattle Seahawks on May 7, 2012 and was named the team's starting quarterback on August 26, 2012. In 2012, Wilson led the Seahawks to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs and was voted the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year.[8][9] Following the 2013 season, Wilson led the Seahawks to their first Super Bowl win in the team's 38-year history.

These are the facts of their successes. But there are many low points in their careers as well.

In summary, Mr. Carroll spent his youth working his way to the top of the coaching world. In 1994 he was hired as head coach of the Jets, only to be fired one year later. In 1999 he was fired from the head coach position for the Patriots. In 2000 he was USC’s 4th choice– yes, 4th choice – for the their head coach position. His hiring was met with scathing criticism from both the press and fans.

Mr. Wilson was the 12th pick in the 3rd round draft pick - 75th overall. How about those numbers?

12th, 3rd. 75th.

Not 1st or 2nd or even 4th.

As both men graciously accepted their Super Bowl win, I couldn’t help but reflect on the ups and downs of their careers and of their attitudes towards both. Instead of choosing bitterness or jealousy or resentment against their doubters, they rose above it, always choosing to fight another day than remain in defeat. As a 12thMom, and like all mothers, I look for the lessons that might matter to my children. There is much to learn from these men for our children the deepest are which are their words and attitudes after defeat.

“I don’t know what happened tonight but I do know what has to happen from here,” Carroll told his players in the locker room. “We have to go back to work and get this started again. This game doesn’t mean a thing now, because we can’t do anything about it. But we can bounce back. Have we lost a game before? Yeah, of course we have. But do we come back and win? Yeah, and we’ve won a lot.”

And from Mr. Wilson on being a third draft pick?

GP Picture

So, for all of us not chosen first or even fourth, or not at all - for all of us down instead of up - for all of us crying on the bathroom floor after defeat or loss- for all of us starting over - remember it’s the bouncing back that matters. It’s the trying again. It’s staying tough while the blood and sweat still sting your eyes. It’s saying to yourself and those suffering along with you – “Tomorrow, we’ll fight again. Tomorrow we will win.”

Thank you, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Carroll, for the inspiration. I needed it. I’m starting over again, you see. And I know the game I’ve lost doesn’t matter as much as getting back out there.

I’ll leave you with Paul Simon’s words. “But the fighter still remains.”

Fight on, my friends.

About the Author:

tess thompsonTess Thompson is a novelist and playwright with a BFA in Drama from the University of Southern California. In 2011, she released her first novel, Riversong, which subsequently became a bestseller.

Like the characters in Tea and Primroses, Tess is from a small town in Oregon. She currently lives in a suburb of Seattle, Washington with her two young daughters, Emerson and Ella, where she is inspired daily by the view of the Cascade Mountains from her home office window.

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I am completely used to reading stories that have you feeling sadness and heartache for the characters. This story had so much emotion packed within the pages, I felt like they were people I knew and felt so much for them it brought me to tears. Tears. I am not a crier. This alone shows how well Ms. Thompson can spin a tale.

I'm going to admit that I read a few reviews before starting this book and I wasn't sure how I was going to like the idea of a book within a book. But you know what ended up happening? It elevated the story up to another level. We also got to know more of Sutton's mother who was killed in the beginning of the book. It's not often where we are shown the life of the person that was lost in a book. We get to see how her past has come to mold what was the current Constance before she was killed. It was a very refreshing addition to the tale.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Sutton and Declan better. Previous best childhood friends, they found themselves head over heals in love with one another. Then some decisions changed all that and the two found themselves apart from each other for six years until Constance's untimely death. I, myself, was rooting for the pair because you can tell how strong a bond they have that time and distance will never break. This is also a theme of the book. Time and distance won't change a heart's desire. There wasn't a thing about this book that I would change. I'm so glad I was able to read this refreshing story!