Jeff Natter says that being in Key Arena for the Seattle Storm's first championship win was electric.
"As a sports fan," he said, "I've never felt anything like being there in 2004, seeing the confetti come down from the rafters and having 17,000 people all jumping for joy, crying each other's arms."
It was a powerful moment, but for a while, it seemed like the last championship the Storm would ever win. "They just seemed to be snake bit."
But then, in 2010, the Storm won again. So Natter made a big decision — he went out and got a tattoo of the Storm logo on his upper arm. And in 2018, when the Storm won a third time, he knew he wanted to add to the tattoo.
"I went to my tattoo artist and I said, put in 2004, 2010, 2018," he said. When the artist asked if he wanted to center 2018 below the logo, Natter said no. "I said, you've got to leave room for more championships."
Natter retired this year, and had some ideas of how he'd be spending his time. Travel, maybe some acting. But then the COVID pandemic hit and neither of those things came to pass. It's meant that spending part of the year watching the Storm charge towards another win has been almost therapeutic.
"Feeling that energy again," he said, "even though it wasn't with all of my friends and in the arena really just helped my mental health so well."
Natter says that watching the championship this year felt different. In previous years, he'd celebrated in Key Arena, or with groups of friends. This year, it was just Natter and his husband watching at home.
"It was in some ways less nerve wracking than being there in person," he said. "But it also made me want to be there with 17,000 of my best friends screaming with the Storm crazies."
Now that the 2020 season is over, Natter says he's already hearing Storm fans talking about what's going on for next season. Natter knows what he'd like to see. A season opener at Key Arena.
"For all of us storm fans," he said, "our greatest wish is to be there in person to watch this team play again. And seeing that championship banner get hoisted up into the rafters, it will be really special."