Sunday, January 29, 2006


Seahawks win! The Seattle Seahawks are going to the Superbowl!

Part I: Getting In

When I’m feeling bold I sometimes force my girlfriend to call me “Captain Fearless.” On January 22nd I earned that ridiculous moniker when I snuck into the largest sporting event to ever be held in the City of Seattle. After years of toiling in a fecund sea of mediocrity, the Seattle Seahawks had their best season ever and had home field advantage for the NFC Championship Game. I wanted to see that game more than anything, but tickets were unavailable.

A few months earlier I got a job with the Seattle Supersonics. It was a simple catering gig that allowed me to watch every Sonics home basketball game, and it provided me with some really official looking ID. The catering company also handled gourmet service for the Seattle Seahawks. My manager Michelle asked me if I could work the big game.

“No,” I said without explaining. I’m a huge fan; I can’t be bothered with work.

“We’ll all be working there,” she said in a room full of managers who all knew me well. Shit! I thought to myself. This isn’t going to be easy. I’m going to need a disguise.

The morning of the game I arrived at Qwest Field dressed in black pants, a black zipper fleece jacket, bowtie, tux shirt, and in my hand I brandished my most powerful prop: an apron. No one messes with a guy with an apron. I took long purposeful strides towards the back entry, where security and parking were controlling the passage of limousine and huge media vans. The first checkpoint was a breeze. Quickly I flashed my ID and strolled past the first level of security.

The walk down that back alleyway was excruciatingly long. It was nothing but security, police, media, security, police, and more security stretching into eternity. My heart was racing and I had thoughts of turning back, but that would be even more conspicuous. I panicked and bolted for the first door I saw.

“Follow him,” I heard security say behind me.

The door was locked.

I could feel someone coming up behind me, so I turned and faced the cop.

“Where’s the employee entrance?” I asked in the friendliest of tones.

“Right there,” he said pointing. “Can’t miss it.”

“Thanks,” I said with a nod of my head and walked on.

The security guard at the entrance was a slacker who didn’t even look at me. I entered the hallway. There were long tables with security officials with official looking lists for signing in employees.

“It’s me again,” I said, brandishing my apron and huffing like I had to go back to work.

“Go on in,” they said, and I was in the stadium. There was another level of check-in the first room I encountered. I bypassed it without resistance. No one questions a man who walks swiftly and looks like he knows where he’s going. I had circumvented levels 2-4 with relative ease but now I was lost in the catacombs of Seahawks Stadium. Walking past another dozen cops and anxious to get out of the hallway, I ducked down the first entrance I came across.

Unfortunately, it led straight to the field.

“Where ya headed?” Security asked me.

“Oh, I’m actually looking for the elevator” I replied breezily.

“Just head back that way,” he said “the freight elevator is just down the hall to the right.”

“Thanks,” I said turning around. Blam! A row of cops were standing between me and the elevator. I walked straight through them like Shawn Alexander at the line of scrimmage, only I used my apron as a blocker. “Excuse me gentlemen.” I said, and I made my way to the elevator.
A woman with a cart full of catering and banquet supplies was waiting there for the elevator.

“Are you headed to the club level?” I asked.


“Cool, I’m following you then.”

I knew from my Qwest Field contacts on the inside that there was a restaurant called the Stagecoach on the club level. My friend Janna the Dancing Bartender was already in the building, working some V.I.P. event in the suites.

On the elevator I zipped up my fleece jacket so if I ran into some managers they wouldn’t immediately rope me into working. Still, I knew this would be the most dangerous passage with a high possibility of being recognized. I got off the elevator and walked into the kitchen. No one said anything, I had an apron.

I saw a group of waiters at the end of the kitchen. They were grouped in the standard gossip circle. I recognized a few, but they were too busy bitching about the guests to notice me. Then I saw the coffee, and where there’s coffee there’s a door. I saw the entry way with “In Only” on the door. I entered.

Two hundred people started screaming.

“AAAhhhhhhh!” What had I done, I thought. I saw the big screen TV and the Pittsburgh Steelers had just scored a touchdown. Just then I saw my manager Michelle headed toward me. Quickly I darted into the crowd before she could see me. I made my way to the bar. I was now in the Stagecoach restaurant, an expensive club level restaurant. People pay well over $300 to eat and watch the game from this vantage point on the south end of the stadium.

“Where’s the men’s room,” I asked a lady with a Shawn Alexander jersey. She pointed to the back of the restaurant. I maneuvered to the restroom without being seen.

I slammed into the corner handicapped stall and sat down. So far so good. I took off my bowtie and put on my disguise: A black Seahawks snow cap worn low and a 12th Man button provided by the delicious *David Swidler*, as well as a pair of blue sunglasses provided by the amazing *John Osebold*. I’ve now gone from employee to super-fan! I text my best buddy *Ryan Dobosh,* and let him and my L.A. fans know that I’m in.

Before leaving the bathroom, I enjoyed the delicious brownies I had hidden in my apron, and I took a swig of the vodka that was posing as Aquafina. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to screaming for professional sports, I need a whole lot of intoxicants to get rowdy about men in tight pants. I kissed my apron for good luck and stashed it out of sight.

Part II: Don't Get Caught

Back in the restaurant, I saddled up next to a table by the window. The place was extremely crowded and I still had two hours to go before game time. I managed to get a table right next to the window, but I felt a little awkward standing all alone. Then a guy approached and asked, “Hey, can I share this table with you?”

“Absolutely,” I said, relieved that I can now share a table.

The man introduced himself as Fred. Fred is a driver for a fancy transport service; he’s about 40-years-old with white hair. He claimed he was given free tickets by the V.I.P.s he drove in. Fred was really uneasy and I didn’t believe his story. It’s unclear why he’s here, and he doesn’t know a single thing about football. He didn’t know what a running back was. He started stacking all his work stuff on the table. Jesus, this guy’s an amateur. We chat it up with a bunch of people and I get my picture taken with my disguise.

I had some time to kill and there were some clean plates on our table. I asked Fred to save my spot, and I helped myself to the $300 buffet. After stacking my plate with prime rib, crab, and a side of filet mignon, I headed back to the table. Fred’s eyes grew moist at the sight of my food.

“How did you get all that food?”

“It came with my ticket,” I answered confidently.

“Really,” he asked. “Do you think I could get some?”

I tried to tell him it wasn’t a good idea, without tipping my hand, but he went to the buffet anyway. When he came back, I ordered a Sprite and headed to the bathroom telling Fred to save my spot. In the bathroom I mixed the my vodka with the Sprite and finished the stash of brownies.

When I left the restroom I saw my manager Michelle only five feet away from me! I ducked my head and tried to hide in the crowd. It didn’t work.

“Excuse me,” I heard a female voice say in my direction. “Excuse me!” Shit, looks like Michelle saw me.

Not so, it’s a security guard, but Michelle was still right behind me.

“Excuse me sir you can’t have glass in this section.”

“What?” I said, “I didn’t know, I’ll just go back,” and I attempted to walk away.

“No!” she nearly yelled. “You need to stop right there.”

I froze, busted.

“Here’s a plastic cup.”

“Oh, thanks,” I said, pouring my mix into the plastic cup, and handing her the glass. I walked swiftly back to my table, the commotion had not caught Michelle’s attention.

When I reached the table, the area was nearly empty, though when I had left there were a least a dozen dudes around the table. Fred was there eating. Fred what did you do?

“What happened to everybody Fred?”

“Oh they just left,” he said looking guilty. “They were asking how I got the table, and how I got the food, and they got upset about something.”

Fred what did you say!

“That’s weird,” I said going back to my remaining prime rib. Fred was making me nervous.

Just then an angry floor manager with a walkie-talkie and a check pad rushed our table. She was a short haughty looking brunette who immediately went up to Fred, “Excuse me sir, there seems to be some sort of discrepancy about your bill, there has been a complaint from the guests.”


Fred immediately started pointing at me, “Well this guy told me it that it was OK to eat” That wasn’t true! I thought of defending myself at this point, but those two were going at it heatedly now. I just kept eating those crab cakes and staring out the window. The argument dies down a bit, apparently Fred is here under some extraordinary circumstances, but he doesn’t get a ticket or food for that matter. Fred was blaming me, and I’m ignoring these two trying to look cool as a cucumber as I gaze out the window at field goal practice. I was trying to decide if it was time to bolt or not, and I could feel my heart beating in my neck.

“Look,” she said in a concluding tone “No matter how cool this guy is,” She gestured to me, “he doesn’t work here,” actually funny story-- “You need to consult with us if you want to get anything. OK?!” She gave me a long glance and walked away. I needed to get out of here; that was way too close; I still had an outstanding bill and another Sprite on the way.

Suddenly, the Stagecoach restaurant was thinning out rapidly and the crowds I had hoped would hide my trespassing were vanishing. I was exposed bare with the awkward Fred flanking me at the table. The employees, having handled the rush were crowding towards the windows, to catch the first part of the game. My catering manager Michelle was now at the table directly behind me. I was fucked. I just kept staring out the window.

My soda arrived and I paid the lady with a big tip. I mixed up the drinks put them in a plastic cup and made a break for it. I took a long semicircular exit route, making sure to keep my back to Michelle.

In the hallway I encountered more security. “Where ya headed young man?”

“I need the elevator to the main concourse.”

“You’re leaving us just as the games starting? How did you get up here?” she asks.

“Oh I had tickets for the buffet too.”

“OK,” she said looking really perplexed, “the elevators are right there, go Seahawks!”

“Go Seahawks indeed!”

On the elevator was another security guy, this was now my 10th incident with security, would it never stop?

“Why are you going to the concourse?” he asked.

“I’m just meeting some friends,” I say.

“Cool,” we get off the elevator. I go to the entrance where from the windows above I had spotted some empty seats. The crowd is screaming and the game is about to begin. At the entrance an usher stops me.

“Can I see your ticket,” the usher asks.

“GO SEAHAWKS,” I replied and gave her a big Hi-5! Smack! I used this momentum to propel me out into the seating area, which is a madhouse already and it's full of smoke and fireworks. I rushed up to the row I had seen and I take the middle of five seats. Except I don’t sit down. No one sits down apparently.

Part III: The Game

I watched the whole game from that vantage point in the 20th row behind the end zone. The 12th Man was deafening. No one ever contested the five empty seats I had found. When I finally caught my breath and realized that I had made it, I also noticed that I was seriously blitzed. I hadn't been this fucked up since that time I fell in a bathtub full of jello meth. At half time I met my work buddy, Janna the Dancing Bartender, so I had someone to watch the game with. My conversations with Janna were really awkward. I was blasted, blazed, AND experiencing football euphoria, since we were already crushing the Panthers. She was only slightly interested in football and completely sober.
I screamed for four straight hours and only sat down twice. Once at half time and once to catch my breath. The crowd yelled all the way through 4-minute-long TV timeouts. When Tatupu got that interception I blew out my vocal chords and eardrums simultaneously. It was amazing to experience a celebration of that size and magnitude. The whole city was exploding with joy, and that stadium was literally rocking the foundation of the earth beneath our feet. I wished I could clutch every joyous moment and freeze it. The harrowing journey to make it in made it all the more precious. It was the pinnacle Seattle sports moment in my young life. Woo! Woo, I say woo! We’re going to the Superbowl baby! Woo, I tell you, woo! Woo!

So that’s how I saw the big game. Go Seahawks.

Now a fan's chronology:

LOS ANGELES-- Jan. 7, 2004

Luke and I watch in horror as the Seahawks get beat on the last play to the Green Bay Packers.

LOS ANGELES-- Jan. 8, 2005

Seahawks lose on the last play of the game against the St. Louis Rams. Photo courtesy the Ryduffalo Pinyon.

CHICAGO-- Jan. 15, 2006

Dave and I watch the Seahawks defeat the Washington Redskins!

SEATTLE-- Jan 22, 2006

Seattle finally makes it to the Superbowl after crushing the Carolina Panthers.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

December 2005