Celebrating the 12th Man

My ears are still thundering from last week’s Seahawks VICTORY crowd!

It was a week ago today that I woke up in anticipation of Seahawks Day in Seattle. I donned my many layers of clothing to keep warm (complete with my #12 fan jersey, of course) and headed out to greet the sunshine. I met my first few 12s at the bus stop. As we stood shivering together, we made small talk about the exciting journey that led us here. It was my first realization that our city really was all in this together. We had watched the games. We had cheered our heads off. We decked out in gear. I knew it would be a wonderful day!

The bus filled so quickly that we hit our maximum capacity within a handful of stops. Our troop chuckled as we cruised by hundreds of people waiting further south, some who had been waiting for hours to catch a ride downtown. It was surreal. I streamed parade news live and laughed as we once again passed a stop in the U District where the crowd yelled and threw Hawks paraphernalia at the bus. We continued on our merry way and arrived downtown with time to spare.

I emerged among thousands of 12s singing, “We are the Champions.” I floated through a sea of appropriately blue, green and grey. The crowd surged like a beast. There were few openings, but I found a group who wanted to press on and followed as best I could. The leader of my pack was a large man who would have made Marshawn proud – he got our little group of strangers through the crowd and left only one woman crying. More than once I traveled with my feet off the ground.

Once I was free of the crazy throng of onlookers, I sought refuge in a more peaceful place to view the coming parade. I wandered the streets in the sunshine, finding joy at every turn. Men, women and children were huddling together in excitement as more and more participants arrived. The cold was forgotten in the thick crowd.

I made my way to a hotel balcony for the show. The crowd became friendlier as their team grew near; room was made where there hadn’t been before, people smiled, and the cheering echoed through the city. A 12th man flag flew over the Puget Sound. Skittles were everywhere. Fans held all kinds of signs, from, “I’m In,” to, “You mad, bro?” to “Beast Mode!”

The parade itself was surreal. People cheered, the team cheered back. They were thankful, they were cocky, they were loud, they were proud. We, the 12s, felt like we were a part of the greatness. The end of the parade became a following. It was unbelievable.

I finally backed away from the ledge as the crowd dispersed and smiled to myself. Seattle, we finally did it. We won the Super Bowl!



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