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February 1, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Seahawk fans at Super Bowl: 12s cleared for takeoff

Clinton and Jen on the Seahawk Express on Thursday.

Clinton and Jen on the Seahawk Express on Thursday.

By Clinton Pawlick

Clinton Pawlick, 44, and his wife, Jen, live in North Seattle. They love the Hawks, good friends, Washington reds, and their two cats, Malcolm and Ink Pot Pie.  This is his third essay about being a Seahawk fan, this one written from the Super Bowl scene.

I’m up Thursday morning at 3:25 Pacific and don’t mean to be.  I’d hoped for more sleep, but I am one of those people, who, if I set an alarm, will wake repeatedly throughout the night to check on it.  My vigilance is acute.  I’m convinced I’ll oversleep, or that I have PM set instead of AM, or that I somehow managed to push the alarm switch into that purgatory between “Off” and “On.”  It has happened before.

Could happen again.  And I want nothing to interfere with our trip to the Super Bowl.

I get up, and the cats sense my excitement.  Ink Pot Pie follows me into the kitchen.  She’s either prescient or optimistic, but this time she’s right.  I am giving her and Malcolm a little wet cat food treat.

It’s the guilt.  Jen’s a much more responsible pet owner.  I operate on emotion and am prone to feline manipulation.  They’ll be without us for a few days, and even though we have a cat-sitter coming to entertain them, I figure the extra food will lessen the sting of our departure.

As I spoon it into the bowls, Inky goes manic, throwing herself against the cabinets and grabbing the tops with her extended claws.  She leans back like a kid on a playground merry-go-round.  The weight of her enthusiasm pulls the doors open, and when she releases, they slam closed again with a bang.  When I set the bowls on the ground, she’s face-first before Malcolm has even licked his chops.  Seconds later, she’s consumed hers and is muscling her brother away from his.

I look at Jen, who is observing the chaos.  “Residual anger,” I say with a nod toward Inky.  “That’s what’s causing the behavior.  She wanted the Carolina Panthers to make it.  Just look at what she’s wearing.”  Inky’s sleek black fur makes her the diminutive image of Carolina’s mascot.

We all must wear our colors.  It’s part of the game.  Today, I’m in Hauschka.  Gray.  Away jersey.  I’ve contemplated this.  Earl Thomas is my game day wear, and I won’t change this now.  Routine and superstition float in my blood like cholesterol, the good kind.  Jen’s in a Seahawks’ T-shirt.  She reserves Zach Miller for Blue Fridays, and it’s always Red Bryant for the game.

At the airport, we ascend to the ticketing level by escalator, and while riding I spot a few fellow pilgrims.  A woman and her husband wear Russell Wilson and Golden Tate, respectively, and they know that I know where we are all going.  When we reach the top, I see balloons.

Bunches of them.  Bright greens and dark blues attached to ticketing kiosks, luggage carts, and desks.  Some, impressively, are festooned into a gigantic “12.”  Airline personnel, travelers, and shop vendors are all geared up.  On board, it’s even better.  A carnival of color.

The attendants wear beads (no Skittles yet, and I think to myself that I should ring my call button to offer the suggestion).  There’s a guy in a camouflage Hawks hat.  His wife has painted her nails a neon green.  The woman at the window in front of us has on one fingernail a little white “12” against a blue background.  I see Largent jerseys, trucker hats, and “Bust the Broncos” shirts.  Hawks couture today features everything from vintage to the brand new.

“Good morning, everyone,” the flight attendant says, “and welcome aboard today’s flight, the Seahawk Express, with non-stop service to Newark.”  A groggy din of appreciation rises in the cabin.  This is the happiest group of early morning travelers I’ve seen.  Out of the 164 seats on the plane, I calculate that 137 people are going to the Super Bowl.  My small statistical analysis is based upon our row and all the people I see in Hawks colors in economy class.

We’re lucky today.  The pilot has made the air-traffic control communication available on Channel 9.  I’ve traveled a good bit throughout my career, and I always enjoy hearing the chatter between the flight deck and the tower.  They say things so fast and in a lingo.

There’s a lot of Whiskey and Bravo, and as our wheels leave the ground, the tower bids us adieu.

“Contact departure.  G’day,” says the tower.

Our pilot responds.  “G’day.  Go, Hawks!”

And that’s what we’re doing.  All 137 12’s.  We’re going.  Hawks!

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