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February 3, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Seahawk fan: Why the 12th Man was one of many Super Bowl MVPs

By Clinton Pawlick

Clinton Pawlick of North Seattle and wife Jen went to Super Bowl, and he wrote about their experiences over the past week. This is his final blog post.

Clinton Pawlick and wife Jen from their seats at the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.

Clinton Pawlick and wife Jen from their seats at the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.

If you only read headlines, you’ll miss the story.  Peyton Manning.

Russell Wilson.  Richard Sherman.  All are individuals.  Some are part of a great team.  Malcolm Smith was named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLVIII.  Was there really just one?  I’ll argue there were many more.  At each snap, the Seahawks had 11 players, rotating in from an active roster.  There were the coaches, head and assistant.  People on the field.  Trainers, cheerleaders, Seattle media.

And, of course, the 12th man.  Whether you cheered from the stands, a couch in the basement, or while foraging in the kitchen, our collective desire rose like smoke from a fire.  It spiraled upward and collected in the air until everyone could sense its presence.

Hope.

We wanted this game, this season.  Fame is elusive.  Stardom ephemeral.

But there are times when spirits unite into moments of beauty.  When brightness shines like the flicker of fireflies on the night.  There for a moment, and then. …

That’s the wonder of it all.  Moments turn to memories.  And these we can hold forever.  Captured as they were, and, unlike us, incapable of decline.

We were there, my wife and I.  But so were you.  For us, the memory will include the brothers who sat next to us high above the field in seats with wonderful sight lines to each play.  We had met their mom a few weeks ago at CenturyLink Field in Seattle when picking up our tickets.  And in front of us, a winsome family from Westchester took in the game.  Their one son, the kid who sat directly in front of me, gave up the Jets for a Sunday and embraced the Legion of Boom.  He wore a T-shirt over his coat, proclaiming this new allegiance and “high-fived” with sparkling enthusiasm when we heard (even from this perch) Kam Chancellor’s first hit.

Today, one day, after the game, strangers offer their interpretations of what transpired.  A gentleman in Starbucks, who saw us in jerseys, guessed correctly that we had attended the game.

“Peyton Manning didn’t show up,” he said.  “It would have been different if he had.”

He misses the point.  If you think in singular dimensions, you’ll get singular results.  And the Seahawks chose to think big.

I listened to Pete Carroll talk about an experiment.  Of investing in the players.  Be who you are, he told the team, and do it well.  And with this guiding theme, the unique talents and abilities of several coalesced into one.

Who wouldn’t want someone to believe in him?

Outside my hotel room window, the snow everyone feared for the game comes down in a slant across the roof of the Eugene O’Neill Theatre.

Jen and I were here a year ago November.  In this very room.  She and I commented on it this week when, at arrival, we pulled the access card from the slot and pushed the door inward.

It’s here that I learned of my grandfather’s passing.  One year ago, plus a few months.  It was his mother who came through Ellis Island.

And it was his belief in me that fills me with inspiration.

Something special happened once, and it won’t happen quite the same way again.  But I’ll carry it with me.  Delicately, with practiced compassion and dear gratitude.

Simply, thanks.

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