Many a Spokane lunch hour was sacrificed on the final Blue Friday of the season, as hundreds turned out to form a “12” in honor of the Seattle Seahawks at a snow-packed Avista Stadium.
“I’m hoping for a shutout,” said Cat Stapleton, knocking off for an hour to join her two Seahawk-crazed sisters to pay tribute to Seattle’s famed “12th Man.” She said of Sunday’s matchup with the Denver Broncos, “We’re going to destroy their offense. They’re going down.”
That opinion was popular among the blue-and-green-clad crowd filing into the Spokane Indians’ home stadium, mascot Otto slapping high-fives with revelers young and old. Among the crowd mingling and breaking into spontaneous cheers before making their way to centerfield were Phil and Sue Robinson, former Seattleites who said they were on hand for the first Seahawks game at the Kingdome in 1976.
“We were young marrieds then,” Sue Robinson said. “We had time and money to burn.”
Phil Robinson remembered Jim Zorn tossing passes to Steve Largent in that abysmal season, which only saw wins over the woeful Atlanta Falcons and winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The mood was much different Friday, the Shadle High School graduates said.
As the hour drew closer to 12:12 p.m., the set time for a photographer in a helicopter to capture the scene taking shape below, friends Paula Thorlacius and Maria Carnovale trudged through the snow to join an outfield already filled with fans.
The pair wore makeshift ponchos sewn by Thorlacius, who said it took her four days to piece them together. Their blue-and-green, full-length coverings sported patches with the jersey numbers of players Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch. The running back’s nickname and penchant for Skittles inspired the catchphrase running diagonally down their garb: “Taste the ‘Beast Mode.’ ”
Avista Stadium staff handed bags of the candy to participants as they left the stadium following the photo. The Indians also offered visitors a discount on team apparel and is selling pairs of tickets to the baseball team’s home opener June 13 for $12, with a dollar from each ticket sale going to the Rypien Foundation for Child Cancer Research.
The rotor roar of the helicopter above the press box competed with the shouts of friends Jeremy Dylan, Justin Clare and Teashia West as they held banners emblazoned with “12” and “L.O.B.,” which stands for “Legion of Boom.” The trio formed the base of the “1” in “12.”
Dylan said the three went to several games in Seattle this year, carrying signs reading “509 Hawks” or “509 12s” to represent fans on the east side of the state.
The picture taken and the final chants bellowed, fans walked back through the gate, looking forward to their Sunday afternoon plans and predicting a Seahawks victory.
Curtis Miller, who wore an autographed Warren Moon jersey, was planning his Monday.
“We’re going to have a retirement party for (Broncos quarterback) Peyton Manning,” Miller said with a smile.