I just might be the newest Seattle Seahawks fan.
I might have become one of the hundreds of thousands of 12th man fans out there, at least briefly. This is the Spirit of 12 Wall, in the stadium.
Well, not quite, because I am still loyal to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – the first team I was introduced to and fell in love with while switching over to the dark side from the CFL to the NFL with my fandom – but my very first Seahawks game did a good job of trying to sway me.
Friday morning I woke up and tried to get some work done in the morning before heading out for the day. I did a little bit of that and finished up a story or two before taking off for another run around Woodinville. It seems like every day Conor offers me directions on where to go, and every time I head out I try my best to follow them, and then somehow I just completely fail. I really thought I was going where I thought he had sent me this time, but not so much. The run was short, but beautiful of course.
These are the shoes I wanted but couldn’t get in my size. Sad post.
After showering and getting ready for the day, my mom and I took off for a mall in Bellevue, about halfway between Woodinville and downtown Seattle. I really wanted to get some red shoes for the trip with Team Canada and I was set to find some. We battled horrible middle-of-the-day traffic that made a 15-minute journey more than an hour, but finally made it to the shopping centre. It was a nice place, and even had a sky bridge, which is always cool, but we only found two sports stores. One had a pair of shoes that I really liked and was so happy to find, but they didn’t have my size. I guess not everyone carries a whole lot of kids’ five-and-a-half shoes. That was disappointing. So I got nothing. And that was the end of the shopping trip because walking around a mall is not on my list of favourite things to do.
The sky bridge, from one part of the mall in Bellevue to the other, or maybe to another mall. I don’t remember.
Before heading downtown, we ate at The Cheesecake Factory, again. Of course. It’s my favourite place, in case I didn’t note that in the last post about the aforementioned restaurant. I got my usual, the Crusted Chicken Romano in a white sauce, and before long we were on our way downtown.
Somehow the majority of the day had passed and we were just on time for some pre-gaming around CenturyLink Field before the pre-season matchup between the Seahawks and the San Diego Chargers. We explored a couple of local souvenir stores and then stopped to watch the Blue Thunder, an amazing drum line that apparently performs at all of the games. They were so awesome I took several videos, and here is one.
SuperBowl champs get this for the stadium, apparently.
The atmosphere outside of the stadium was incredibly exciting, and almost made me forget that I had just paid forty dollars for parking at a pre-season game, in a parking lot not really that close to the stadium. There were a ton of people around almost two hours before kickoff and everyone was wearing Seahawks gear. They were all pumped to see the SuperBowl champions back in action at home for the first time.
Everyone was really friendly, which makes sense since Conor told me that for the SuperBowl parade there were 750,000 people and zero arrests. That seems crazy, but everyone around Seattle just loves their team and that’s all that matters, I guess. The atmosphere around the outside of the stadium could not have been better. People were happy, loud, enjoying everything, and they definitely made me enjoy my time even more.
Wall of football helmets. Duh.
Once our tickets were scanned and we were technically inside the stadium, there was still plenty of exploring to do outside. It was great. There were all kinds of people, food drinks, little tiny cheerleading girls, people playing drums, maybe a little bit of a someone with a megaphone shouting out his praises, but also better stuff than that. It was really cool that the team brought the in-stadium atmosphere to outside the field. I did a lap around CenturyLink to see what was there, and they had the awesome giant SuperBowl roman numerals, a wall of different helmets from various Seattle high schools, the Spirit of 12 wall, and more. It was really cool, and there was a lot to take pictures of.
Luke Willson, native of LaSalle, Ontario, former Canadian Junior National Team baseball player, former Blue Jays farmhand, all-around awesome Canuck athlete.
Speaking of which, I made sure to get pictures of the one person in the stadium I found wearing a Luke Willson jersey. Luke is a former member of the Canadian Junior National Team, hitting cleanup behind Brett Lawrie for the summer of 2008. He actually signed with the Blue Jays and came to extended spring training for the month of May in 2012, while he was still exploring his options – before becoming a SUPERBOWL CHAMPION – and then headed back to Rice University for his senior year there and entered the NFL draft. He was taken by the Seattle Seahawks (bet you didn’t see that one coming) and quickly became a SuperBowl champ as a backup tight end in his rookie season. Luke hails from LaSalle, Ontario, in the Windsor area, and is obviously an ath-A-lete. I found someone walking around the stadium with his jersey on (No. 82) and asked them for a picture.
The young woman’s family asked me why I would want such a picture and I replied, “He’s Canadian!” That answer was satisfactory to them and they let me take my photo. The girl wearing the jersey actually seemed really pumped that I wanted to do so.
CenturyLink Field, pre-game.
When I finally made it to my seat, I took about a million – maybe actually fewer than 10 – pictures of the stadium. We had an awesome view and I loved everything about it. The stadium was huge and beautiful and people were pouring in constantly, plus I think I have missed football. I’ve been away for the first four Toronto Argonauts game this season (Canadian football) and I haven’t made it to a Hamilton Tiger Cats game in almost two seasons now, so I was a little deprived of football. It was amazing.
I might have messed up during this panoramic shot, but it’s still awesome and you get the idea.
The place was packed for kickoff. I found out later that 67,615 fans were in the house for a pre-season matchup. PRE-SEASON. The atmosphere was electric and people were loud and enthusiastic and everyone was having so much fun. It helped that the Seahawks led the entire game and dominated against the Chargers, but I couldn’t have asked for anything better. In retrospect, I would most definitely compare the game to the 2008 Grey Cup championship at Rogers Centre. For that, I sat in the second row behind the Saskatchewan Roughriders bench, and they eventually won and brought the cup right over to where I was sitting, but the Seahawks game came close.
I probably can’t stress enough how awesome the game was. I feel like with all of the words that I often use to say something that could probably said in fewer – like that – this is something that I should use more for. The game was amazing. I had kettle corn from a street vendor, I tried garlic fries at the field, because that is a big Seattle sports thing to do, I talked to the fans behind me a lot – one of whom I couldn’t take seriously because he was wearing a white jersey, which just seems like such a bad idea – and I loved every minute of it. People paid attention to what was going on, everyone cheered for every first down, I made everyone around me excited every time Luke Willson stepped onto the field, and there was nothing better. I had an aisle seat in a row of just two people, and no one sat in front of us so we utilized all of the extra space we were allotted. I keep trying to think of more things and I am sure I am forgetting something awesome, or multiple fantastic things, but just know it was great. And it was a pre-season game. PRE-SEASON, in case you didn’t get that.
I want to come back for a regular-season game, if that wasn’t obvious, so if anyone reading this wants to help make that happen, feel free to hit me up and let me know. I’m in.
And then of course it was tough to get out of the stadium and traffic was less than ideal and blah, blah, blah to that effect, but the rest of the night was amazing. You should be sure to check out a Seahawks game sometime. And take me with you.