You probably don’t know this but I LOVE the Seattle Seahawks. Like really love them. I’m not the most outspoken fan out there but if only you know about my NFL.com obsession. Oh boy.
Now I’ll admit I’ve not always been a Hawks fan, not because I didn’t actually like them, it was mainly because my parents weren’t into sports. While many kids grow up going to sporting events with their dads I went gold panning in the middle of nowhere. Ya we’re weird like that. Sometime, about 9 years ago though, while I was in college, it clicked for me, a learned that football is both exciting and fun. My dad on the other hand? Well as I watched the intense NFC playoff game with the 49ers couple weeks ago he sat in the seat next to me complaining about how Washington tax payers are still paying off the Kingdome (which, FYI in case you didn’t know, was imploded 14 years ago to make way for what is now Centurylink Field). I had to ask him the to leave the room.
So I bet you can imagine my overwhelming, exuberant, enormous joy when the Hawks won the Superbowl last Sunday. My Hawks didn’t disappoint. It felt like they were considered the underdogs going into the competition, but they shut everyone up really quickly. I have to say honestly, I did expect them to win, but, I didn’t expect it to be a blow out.
That night while I was watching highlights from the game on my local news channel they announced that the victory parade would be happening on Wednesday. I just happen to have Wednesdays off, so I knew I had to go. I found a friend to go with and headed to my closest Walmart to pick up a Superbowl Champions shirt large enough to wear over a half dozen layers since the weather was supposed to be frigid.
Well, my friend ended up backing out due to sickness, and I’ll admit for a minute I considered not going, mostly based on fear. Fear of getting myself into a huge crowd alone and fear of using unfamiliar public transportation. At that point I had to give myself a pep talk. I mean, I had lived abroad and traveled on my own through foreign and much scarier cities than Seattle. This parade, for our first Superbowl win ever, is only going to happen once. I needed to go.
I left my house at 7:30 and headed down to the Auburn Sounder station. What was I thinking? It was already jam packed. Luckily my Dad works about half a mile away so I decided to park there and walk to the station. Remember that cold weather I had mentioned? Ya it delivered. It wouldn’t have been so bad if there hadn’t been any wind. It was the wind that was biting. Although the air temp was somewhere in the mid 20’s the wind made it somewhere in the low teens. Brrrrr!
I’m not exaggerating when I say everyone and their uncle was at the Auburn Sounder Station this morning. I had given myself enough time to catch the two last trains out, that way in case I didn’t make one I could get the other. I got in one of the 20 or so lines and waited my turn. Waiting. Waiting. The first train pulls up and it was jam packed. Like a sardines can, but still about 10 people from in front of me managed to get on. I knew I wasn’t going to make it, so my attention instead was drawn to a woman in the line next to me. There was absolutely no room left on the train through her door but she was fighting with someone to let her and her 3 children on. I thought fists were going to fly. Not classy lady, not classy.
By the time the train pulled away I was officially 3rd in line. I felt like my odds were good at making it on the next and final train of the morning. Fast forward 10 minutes, a woman comes onto the loud speaker and announces “Attention Seahawks fan. The last train is full. No one will be allowed to get aboard. We have arranged for buses to come and pick you up.” Commence mass mob movement from the train platform to the bus area.
I don’t know how long we waited. I think it was about an hour but it felt like 5. Finally, that glorious bus scrolling “Go Seahawks” on it’s destination board pulled up. Normally I wouldn’t refer to a bus as glorious but by this point I was borderline hypothermic so I wanted to get on the bus super badly. And just my luck, by the time I got on there was exactly one seat left. You know how on some buses there is a long back row that has 5 seats on it? Ya that’s the seat, and I was positioned right between 8 highschoolers playing hookie. Commence akward leaning forward and back so that they can talk to each other over me. Thank goodness for my iPod.
Traffic stunk, go figure, but an hour later we had finally pulled up next to Safeco field. Everyone got off and we joined the thriving mob of 700,000+ people trying to catch a glimpse of our “super” heroes (get it? Super heroes, Super Bowl, haha, I crack myself up). My original plan had been to head up to the Westlake Center area on 4th Ave. Hahaha, ya, that didn’t happen. I found the closest spot on the parade route to me and planted myself there. The corner of Washington St and 2nd become my home for the next 3 hours.
Jam packed doesn’t even begin to describe it. Insanity like my title suggests is the most accurate description. People continually moving and trying to find the best spot to view the parade made many frustrated. Rumors abounded. The word on the street was that if the surging mob of people didn’t clear a path down the street they would reroute the parade. Everyone feverishly pulled out their smartphones to see if the rumors were true only to find that there was no cell service. I had full bars, but where it normally says 4G next to the bars it only said G. I wonder what that means?
The rumors proved to be false and soon we noticed Seattle police clearing a small path through the crowd in the distance. The crowd sang along to “We are the Champions” and “Can’t Hold Us” blared from speakers on the roof of the Union Gospel Mission as we waiting for the moment for something, anything to round the corned and come our direction. Finally, at 1:30, an hour later than originally planned, 3 officers on horseback (yes in Seattle we still have officers on horseback, we’re that cool) rode through clearing the way and the first bus became noticeable in the distance. The crowd erupted. One group cheering “Sea” and the next “Hawks” back and forth back and forth.
It was at this point I’d realized I’d gotten myself in a bad spot. I was surrounded by a lot of very tall people. The situation was made even worse when those tall people (and short people too) would thrust their smart phones into the air. I found myself longing for the day when it wasn’t so easy to digitally document our daily lives. It would have made my view much nicer. But, despite all of the articles blocking my view I was still able to see everyone. All of my favorite players, immortalized on TV rolled by.
Unfortunately my pictures aren’t super great. I was literally shooting blind, with my camera thrust high into the air above my head to try to get above the aforementioned tall people with phones, but I will post them anyway.
First up was Marshawn Lynch riding by on the hood of one of our Seattle Ducks.
Then came a slew of Seattle/ Washington political figures I didn’t really care about followed closely by Pete Carroll thrusting the Lombardi trophy high into the air.
Right behind Carroll came the players separated into different National Guard vehicles based on positions.
And then last up the Legion of Boom, along with the very vocal Richard Sherman.
Then, suddenly it was over as quickly as it began. As the last group of players drove onwards the mass of people suddenly swelled forward. Onward towards the stadiums or onward home. I myself headed directly for the train. It took me a minute to find the right spot and when I did I found myself in a massive line, or should I say mob to get on. I was pretty certain I wouldn’t make the first train, but 30 minutes later, pushed entirely by the mass of bodies around me, I made it on the first train out. Hallelujah!
Exhausted, frozen and starving I made my way home. It had felt like the longest day ever but in the end it was oh so worth it.
As each day presses on it seems like the fever that surrounded our Super Bowl win lessons a little more. People have gone back to their daily lives, some have transitioned into the upcoming MLB season, while others just do what they always do. For me, I’m so thankful that I got to be home to share this victory with so many of my fellow 12’s. For years I’ve watched the football seasons from afar, simply settling for updates online, but this, this was extra special. Good job Hawks. You deserved it, now more than ever.