I lingered a little after Dillon's broadcast was done but realized that the crowd that was accumulating was significant. I decided that I had better head back to try to find my sisters, and get back to the hotel.
Each block as I headed back became more and more congested. The jovial spirits and courtesy continued, but it was getting more and more difficult to make forward progress. The intersections were the worst because there were no barricades there. My sister, Erin, had called to let me know where they were. Our conversation was yelled into the phone because the crowd noise was so great that it was the only way we could hear. Soon, people were moving single file, slowly, someone ahead of you, someone right behind you. If a larger opening presented itself, you got into it as quickly as you could. When I reached the area where my sisters were supposed to be, I couldn’t see them. I tried to call – no calls were going through. After multiple attempts, I got a text through, and told them that the better part of valor for me would be to retreat to the hotel. Even if I saw them, I likely couldn’t get to them, and if I didn’t move then, I might not be able to get back to the hotel until after the parade was over.
The last block took the longest, and was SLOW going. I was very relieved when I managed to get across 4th Street, and into the hotel. It was good that I made that I decided to return to the hotel when I did. If I had waited much longer, I would not have had any choice about where to go. I would be stuck in the crowd that was pressing forward to the street…and I really didn’t care for that feeling! I was reminded of the “huddled masses, yearning to breathe free”…Yikes! It was a mosh pit of fans out there.
(A couple of geniuses decided to take their bikes to the parade...had to carry them overhead to get through...sore arms!)
The Board ended their meeting early, and we filled up the conference rooms with wives and family who came down to take advantage of our premium location. The hotel staff told us they had many requests to rent out that room for beaucoup bucks…but, sorry, we had it! A bunch of farmers from Lynden…Lucky farmers from Lynden, that is.
Having kids there was so much fun! They were so excited, and we had such fun talking about Seahawks and favorite players, and watching all the crazy sights out the windows…People climbing on signs, policemen making them come down, unfortunate bicyclists trying to cross the street, periodic chants and cheers from the crowd…Party atmosphere! And when the players came by, many waved to us because we were up above the crowd. They probably thought we were VIP’s – and, for that day, I guess we were.
We had to have patience though, as the parade started over 1 ½ hours later than planned. We kept looking up the street for signs of movement, or a glimpse of the duck vehicles. When the parade began, there was no doubt because we began to hear noise that grew to a ROAR as it cascaded down the street ahead of the parade. They were finally here!!!
The roar continued as the dignitaries passed, but it became deafening when Marshawn Lynch appeared, standing on the deck of the Sea Gals duck, throwing Skittles to the crowd. Beast Mode!!
The parade continued slowly as the police had to keep pushing the people back to make the street wide enough for the ducks, and military dump trucks to pass. Pete Carroll’s humvee had extra security – they looked like Secret Service guys – but the government officials didn’t. I’ll say no more! The players were surrounded by police and National Guardsmen, but were very interactive with the crowd. They were appreciating the 12th man, and celebrating with enthusiasm. The Lombardi trophy was being passed from truck to truck, and the players were making sure they got their picture taken with it.
When the final vehicles passed by, so many of the people on the street just folded in behind it and walked the rest of the way to Century Link…One huge mass of humanity flowing easily, following their heroes.
It was quite the sight! One I won’t forget…
It was amazing how quickly the crowds dispersed through the city. However, that didn’t mean it was easy to get anywhere. Traffic was at a standstill in most places, and all the eateries around the area were packed. We waited a little while for the traffic to start moving, then had to have the valet walk us over to where our car was parked. There was no way they could get it back to the hotel. A sheriff had said that though traffic was bad now, it was only going to get worse when the rest of the celebration ended. The guys in our group talked over some strategies for skirting around the worst of the traffic, which involved getting to 99 and then to I-5. It was a great plan. Though we had some stop & go, soon we were out on the freeway and moving well. Others who were further south of us were not quite so lucky and had to endure a long drawn out journey home.
Though I would never have chosen to go attend this momentous occasion, I certainly enjoyed being part of it. To see 750,000 (likely more!) people in the city, all happy and cooperative, is quite a sight in itself! I realized that I would never get closer to the SeaHawks than I did that day, and was privileged to acknowledge the accomplishment of these people I admire.
Thanks Seahawks, for a great season, and a great result, and memories that will last! GO HAWKS!