Crazy for the Hawks
At about 6 this morning, Mama Blue (aka Patti Hammond) will have arisen from an anxious slumber, pulled down her Seattle Seahawks comforter...
Seattle Times staff reporter
At about 6 this morning, Mama Blue (aka Patti Hammond) will have arisen from an anxious slumber, pulled down her Seattle Seahawks comforter, put on her Seahawks slippers and walked across the blue-and-green shag carpet of her Shoreline living room into the kitchen for a cream-cheese bagel and coffee — poured into a Seahawks mug, of course.
The 75-year-old hairdresser then will take a shower, dry off with a Seahawks towel and begin the 90-minute process of suiting up for today's big game at Qwest Field.
She'll start by applying eyeliner, glitter shadow and fake eyelashes — all in blue and green. She'll put on a blue sweat suit that says "Seahawks Oldest Hall of Famer" on the front and "Mama Blue [Heart] U" on the back, then adorn it with Seahawks buttons she has collected over three decades of being a superfan.
She'll put on color-appropriate eyeglasses, gloves and shoes. Next come her rings and necklaces, including the lucky gold one that says "Mama Blue."
Finally, she'll put on a pair of bauble earrings that she designed to match her wacky wig — which, duh, is also blue.
Taking a cue from Mama Blue, Seahawks fans had better put on their game faces, too. It's getting serious now. The team is two wins away from an appearance in Super Bowl XL, with today's divisional playoff game kicking off at 1:30 p.m.
Web sites for and about fans
The official site of the Seattle Seahawks Booster Club
A New Jersey fan's labor of love, connecting Seahawks fans from across the U.S.
The online home of Washington's most flamboyant fans
If the Seahawks beat the Washington Redskins, they will end a 21-year drought without a playoff victory and advance to next Sunday's NFC Championship game, also in Seattle. If they win that, the Seahawks will celebrate their 30-year anniversary with their trip to the Super Bowl, which is Feb. 5 in Detroit.
If the Seahawks are going, Mama Blue is, too, along with her husband, Tricky Dick.
"We've gone through the ups and downs, the highs and lows," said Mama Blue, a former high-school cheerleader. "We've taken a lot of ribbing over the years. 'Are you crazy? Why are you still supporting the Seahawks?' But I feel like these guys are my kids — and you never give up on your own kids."
Fan on wheels
Just beyond the entrance of Qwest Field's north lot, Jerry Martinez will have parked his Seahawk Express motor home. A rolling billboard illustrated with all things Seahawks, the decorated RV definitely stands out. And with a 24-foot boat behind it and a giant blow-up doll of a Seahawks lineman above it, it's also impossible to miss.
"If somebody did, they'd need a proctologist because they would have to get their head out of their posterior," said Martinez, 56, a retired federal worker.
Martinez of Sequim drives the RV to every home and away game, having logged 130,000 miles over the past three years. When the Seahawks played at New England last year, a local police officer graciously escorted the Seahawk Express to a parking spot.
He returns the goodwill, offering his extra tickets at Qwest Field to visiting fans from opposing teams. He has given three tickets to today's game to Washington's famously flamboyant "Hogettes," whose costumes include dresses, sun hats and pig snouts.
"I have this philosophy: I root for my team but I never, ever knock the other team," Martinez said.
The faraway fan
Inside a house on the New Jersey shore, 31-year-old Seahawk Sal (aka Sal Longano) will do what he does before every Seahawks game shown on television back East.
"I lock the windows, close the doors, turn off my phone and hunker down with a 12-pack and some really good Italian pastries," he said.
His father, a diehard New York Giants fan, taught his son an important lesson early on — hate the rival New York Jets. While watching the Jets lose badly to Seattle on Monday Night Football in 1979, the son took a liking to the faraway Seahawks. His father surprised him that Christmas with a Seahawks helmet and T-shirt under the tree.
"I don't know how my father did it," Seahawk Sal said. "There was no Internet to order from back then. And there certainly was no Seahawks stuff for sale in New Jersey."
Seahawk Sal started a Web site in 1998 to help out-of-town Seahawks fans connect with one another, and he has traveled to Seattle four times in the past five years to attend a game. He'll be here next weekend if the Seahawks advance today to the conference title game.
Today, though, he will be in front of his 52-inch widescreen, which has an old-style silver helmet and a new-style blue one on top of it. A foam "Hawk Head" will be next to him at all times for good luck.
"I won't allow anyone in my house to watch the game with me," Seahawk Sal said. "I've been known to throw the remote control."
A couple, Cannonball and Kiltman
Some of the most colorful fans, known in Seahawks parlance as the 12th man on the field, will settle into their seats in the front rows of the south end zone. They include Mr. and Mrs. Seahawk, an Auburn couple married on the 50-yard line of the Kingdome before a Seahawks game against, coincidentally, Washington. There's also Cannonball — his face painted in stripes to resemble a Seahawk — who will attend the game with his son.
"By God's will, the monkey will fall over dead and finally get off our back," Cannonball said of today's game.
The fan wearing the kilt is a 34-year-old guy from Everett aptly nicknamed Kiltman (aka Neil Hart). He also is recognizable by his 2 ½-foot-high, blue-and-green spiky wig that would block the view of the person sitting behind him, except today he offered the seat to a 6-foot-5 buddy from Edmonton.
Kiltman's love of the Seahawks goes back to throwing the football around as a kid, calling out the names of Steve Largent or Paul Skansi when a particularly tough grab was made.
Like so many fans, Kiltman couldn't bear the Ken Behring years when the former owner threatened to move the team, so he found new obsessions. As fans abandoned the Seahawks during the Behring era, long waiting lists for season tickets evaporated. Kiltman signed on the dotted line as soon as new owner Paul Allen did, and has been a season-ticket holder ever since.
During the lean years, Kiltman would drive his 1972 Super Beetle, trimmed in Seahawks blue with a "GOHAWKS" license plate, and kids would make fun of him. "Seahawks suck!" they'd say. But as the Beetle has been retired, so have the catcalls.
While Kiltman prefers to accentuate the positives, make no mistake: If the Seahawks lose today, "I. Will. Not. Be. Happy."
Stuart Eskenazi: 206-464-2293 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much. But how can you not? I don't want to jinx them, but I think if we keep playing the way we can, no one can beat us. We're on a mission. This is a new team and this is a new year. God, we're kicking butt, man!"
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