12th Man fandom reaches across all ages

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Danielle Parker and her first grade class pose with their handmade 12th man flag. The members of the class are Masen Albert, Chandler Albrecht-Kugan, Alexis Black, Caleb Bruland, Emerson Brule, Spencer Dimick-Janzen, Audree Dohrmann, Drew Douglass, Baylee Fry, Wyatt Garrison, Porter Harrison, Isabella Carranco-Ramberg, Addison Kersker, Maggi Kupka, Jessie LaLonde, Madison Lundgren, Aurelia Martens, Richard Miller, Annelise Moore, Karissa Otterstetter, Dekotah Parks, Hudson Royer, Samantha Schweppe and Sheldon Wilson.

There is a new fashion trend going on all over the Northwest. Take a peek around the courthouse next Friday. Stop by and see the receptionists at Montesano High School, or slip by City Hall and you will see. They all wear blue. Even the checkers at Pick Rite Thriftway show their pride in the Seattle Seahawks.

It is clear to see from every jersey worn and every flag waved that Grays Harbor County loves the Seahawks. The love has been embraced by everyone from the police officers to some fans just learning to spell the name of their favorite player.

No matter the age of the fan they all agree that if the Seahawks win on Sunday they will ready to celebrate.

Big Blue Friday

The workers at the Grays Harbor County Courthouse have all embraced the trend of wearing Seahawk gear on Friday known as “Blue Friday.” On the Friday before the NFC Championship game on Jan. 20 all of the employees who wore team colored apparel took time out of their lunch to line up for a photo. Almost every shade of blue and green was represented as 47 individuals showed off their pride with signs that side “I’M IN!” a Seahawk team slogan. Team spirit was even shown in a bright green cast worn by one of the employees.

“There were people over there that I couldn’t even believe,” Bruce Clevenger said. “Even (County Commissioner) Wes Comier was there.”

Clevenger could be picked out on the right side of photo, just a few feet from Comier, the only one with a bright green hat. For Clevenger, everyday is a blue day. When the Seahawks entered the NFL as an expansion team back in 1976, Clevenger turned his back on the Oakland Raiders, his then favorite team, and sold out completely to the new Seattle franchise.

“I wear Seahawk gear all football season, everyday to work,” Clevenger said about his attire for the picture. “I had my Seahawk socks, my Seahawk sweat pants, my Seahawk jersey, my No. 1 Dad Seahawks shirt underneath my jersey and my lime green Seahawk hat. This is my favorite year as a Seahawk fan.It is just so cool that everywhere you go. You see people in Seahawk gear and jerseys. It is completely different. It is crazy.”

After almost four decades of cheering, Clevenger isn’t exactly sure how he will react if the Seahawks win the Super Bowl. He said he may just have to sit and let the moment sink in for five or 10 minutes, but before and after that he plans on showing his support.

“I will be jumping up and down the whole time,” Clevenger said. “I get so crazy during the game even my dog leaves the room.”

Teach Your Children Well

When Danielle Parker’s first grade class at Beacon Elementary was so excited about the Seahawks that they wouldn’t stop talking about the games and what they had saw, Parker, a Seahawks fan, decided she would embrace the spirit of the 12th Man inside her class.

“I think they’ve just embraced it a lot and I thought I might as well use that to my advantage,” Parker said.

The teacher has utilized the enthusiasm of the students toward the Seahawks to teach subjects such as math and art. Last week, the children made their own 12th Man flag. The students traced their hands on white paper and then used the handprints to make a 12 on a blue background. On Monday, almost every student wore a Seahawks T-shirt or jersey as they participated in Seahawk-themed activities. Some students colored, cut and glued to make their own Seahawks helmet, while others drew random numbers and had to tell if the second number was greater or lesser than the first.

All 24 of the students say they have been Seahawks fans for their entire lives, but the 2013 edition of the team has allowed educational opportunities. Parker sat down all of the students to explain what the 12th man was.

“He is us,” Porter Harrison exclaims with a big smile beaming over his Marshawn Lynch jersey. “We’re the fans.”

Several of the students said their families have had Seahawks watching parties for past games and they will be tuned in for the big game on Sunday. If Richard Sherman, who Dekotah Parks said was her favorite player because “He’s fast like me,” makes another game winning play the entire class and their teacher said they will be yelling and jumping up and down.

To The Rescue

Some fans have put out signs or hung flags to show support, but when you pull up to the home of Montesano Police Chief Bret Vance there is no doubt a Seahawks fan lives inside. Just take a look at what is parked in his driveway. Vance is part of a group of 10 individuals who have what is known as “The 12th Man-bulance.”

Vance has been going to Seahawks games for the last eight years with Montesano Fire Chief Corey Rux and as the group of individuals who carpooled to games together grew, the two individuals figured they should get a special vehicle so they could tailgate in style.

Rux threw out the idea that they make an offer on an old ambulance that the city of Montesano was no longer using and the rest is history.

Montesano Police Lt. Jay Staten took the vehicle to his shop and painted it all white and then the transformation began. First he painted the hood and back doors bright green, then he put the team logo on the front wheel wells and added a few decals to announce the official name of the vehicle to all those tailgating along side or just driving by on the highway.

“We have a lot of people come by and take pictures with it,” Vance said. “(Tailgating) is one of the things that I look forward to every year. My wife doesn’t understand why we leave at six in the morning.”

The first year that Vance had season tickets to the Seahawks was the last year Seattle made it to the Super Bowl in the 2005 season. Watching the team earn a trip to the championship helped cement Vance’s love for the Seahawks, but for Staten he has been a die-hard fan since the groups inception.

He has owned jerseys featuring players from former Seahawks Steve Largent and Brian Bosworth to current safety Earl Thomas, but Staten’s favorite jersey he owns reads “FOR LIFE,” above a number 12.

Whether they are learning at a young age or cheering for the 37th season, the Seahawks have become a part of life for many around the county and a victory on Sunday would meet with a variety of reactions. Staten said the win will be worth the wait.

“For me, just them going to the Super Bowl caps off my season in watching them,” Staten said. “The fact of them going and all the injuries and second and third string guys coming in and allowing them to win, even sometimes when they weren’t picked to win. It would be a dream come true.”