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If you are not from Seattle, but are an NFL fan you may have heard of the Seattle Seahawks 12th player-the 12th man! We fly that flag proudly from our buildings, homes, cars and we even will wear it. In the NFL, a team is only allowed 11 players on the field and when defense is out, the Seattle Seahawks have a 12th man! Is it fair? If you are our opponents, you won’t like the 12th man! The 12th man is not measured by stats or yardage, but by a seismograph! The 12th man is not on the field, but all around it. In fact, the 12th man is in all places at once. 12th man is in homes, work places, roads, the stadium, walkways and wherever the game can be watched or heard. We, the fans are the 12th man! We have one of the loudest stadiums by design and it is our noise that can affect a play! We get loud, plays can’t be heard. If plays or calls can’t be heard, false starts or failed communication happens. Penalties can result and it is then the 12th man has made a game play!
As a Mom to 3 boys, the 12th man is more than just interference on plays in the stadium, it is spirit and pride. When our Seattle Seahawks won the Super Bowl and came home, millions spilled into Seattle for the homecoming parade. I took the 2 youngest out of school, hopped on a bus and we spent almost 4 hours getting to Seattle on a bus trip that would normally take 45 minutes. I was not about to drive and part of the fun was getting up early and packing a bus full of 12’s! My boys were enamored and almost overwhelmed at the crowds and sights. We got there just in time, raced up the steps of the local mall and headed to the outdoor balcony and found a spot! The crowds were amazing! Millions of people all celebrating together. No fighting, no protests (as Seattle is known for), just 12’s out on one block welcoming the team. Seattle cancelled its schools so the families can come out too. This was the place to be and you were to take the attempt to come out!
We ended up stuck after the parade because the buses were so backed up. My phone died and I was stuck in Seattle with my husband at work! Store owners gave me a phone to use and as I waited for my husband to drive down to get us, a bakery gave my son a free cupcake and a shoe shop let us check in on their phone and come in to stay warm. We met many strangers wanting to chat. We all knew why we were in those streets together and I will never forget that feeling of spirit and pride from everyone I came across with my boys that day. Imagine millions confused on bus routes, trying to get out and nothing but peace and local 12’s offering rides to help other 12’s get out of that area.
It is known that if you come to Seattle and attend a sports game-whether it be a Seattle Seahawks NFL or Sounders MLS game you will leave a fan! Every game means texting and phone calls back and forth from our oldest sons and friends. We wear the 12 proudly and love our position on the team. Our QB visits Seattle Children’s every Tuesday and you will see their spirit through photos and tags as they proudly play as 12’s. Businesses will close or walk the parades before game time as they proudly play as 12’s. The seismograph comes to the stadium to measure the ‘quake’ as the stadium fans proudly play as 12’s. And I dare you to take a leisurely drive-any time of the year- and NOT see a car or home proudly displaying their 12 flags. We are millions strong and when we come together, we are one player. As a Mom, nothing beats real life examples of community and pride!
Round two. The 12’s will be in Arizona in person and in spirit on February 1st-you will hear us! We are all 12’s-we are Seattle!
This video says it all as well!
Video by ckthigpens of Gig Harbor, Wa