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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

January 19, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Seahawks: Track star Ginnie Crawford on why she loves this team

By Ginnie Crawford

Ginnie Crawford, formerly Ginnie Powell, is one of the greatest female track-and-field athletes in state history. The former Rainier Beach High School star competed for USC, where she met Pete Carroll, the Seahawks coach who then coached the Trojans. She writes about her love for the Seahawks, Carroll, former and current Seahawks like Lofa Tatupu and Richard Sherman and what it’s like to go to a game at CenturyLink. She’ll be in the crowd for Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. Read her blog at www.ginniecrawford.com and a longer version of this post.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge Seattle Seahawks fan. I’m really excited about the season they’re having, and their chance to go to the Super Bowl. They play in the NFC Championship Game this Sunday, and I’m lucky enough to be able to go to the game!

I didn’t even know that much about football until I got to USC. But while I was there, I didn’t really have a choice. During that time, Trojans Football was the thing. The football team made us the it school. Everybody there watched the football team. That was the sport that everybody went crazy over.

When I first got there, people would ask, “Are you going to the game?” I was like, “Oh, no, I’ll probably just do homework. And they’d say, “Homework? This is college. In college you go to the football game.” When I finally went, it was a wow moment. The stadium is huge. Everybody is just so into it. I had no idea it was that big.

My freshman year, they went to the Orange Bowl, and the program was starting to turn around (so I heard from other people who were there before me). That next year is when we went to the Rose Bowl, and had to share the title with LSU. My junior year, we won the national championship at the Orange Bowl against Oklahoma.

That was right around the time I started paying attention to the Seahawks and the NFL, my junior year in college. At that point, there were actually people in the NFL that I knew personally from USC. These were guys I went to school with and had classes with, players that lived in the same apartment complex, and whose girlfriends I was friends with..

One of the first guys I knew that went to the pros from USC was Lofa Tatupu, and the Seahawks drafted him. Lofa was actually one of my good friends early in college. I met him my freshman year, and he lived down the hall from me in my apartment building. Once the Seahawks drafted him, I really started paying attention, and then he went to the Super Bowl his rookie year. It gives you a different feel when you watch someone you know on a personal level compete in a sporting event. You want to see them do well.

So it was great to see guys like Lawrence Jackson, Allen Bradford and Mike Williams play for the Seahawks. Mike is married to one my best friends. I never got to make a game while he was there because I have my business schedule on track, and I don’t alter my schedule to go to a game. But I would go over to their house or hang out with her, and watch them play. For those two years, it was great. We hang out down here in L.A. all the time, and then when I’d go up to Seattle, she’d be there too.

COACHING CONNECTION

I felt an even bigger connection to the Seahawks when they hired Pete Carroll. I love Pete. When I was a Trojan, he was a Trojan. He did all kinds of great things for our school. Everybody at ‘SC still claims him as their coach because of what he did for our program. Those were the best years ever for USC football. Now, it’s like he’s creating the best years of Seattle Seahawks football. That’s our coach. It’s amazing just to watch him do such great things for my home city.

Back at USC, I would see Pete and people on his staff on an almost daily basis in the weight room. I worked out with strength coaches that now work on the staff for the Seahawks. I even lifted with Pete sometimes. The weight trainer who trained me there used to get Pete in for a quick workout, so occasionally, he would come in while I was in there. Whenever I’d see him, he was always full of smiles. He was very personable, and I feel like he’s a real down-to-earth, energetic guy.

That’s probably the thing that I like most about Pete, his energy. I like that when the team scores or does something good, it’s like Pete did it himself. That’s how he was at USC too. His reaction to plays and his reactions to his guys when they come over to the sideline are so great. He just shows so much love for the sport, and for the way they’re playing. You can’t help but love that as a fan.

ENERGY AND INSPIRATION

I also find it inspiring watching the Seahawks. Football is a crazy sport because of what you have to do with your body. You’re constantly getting hit, and falling on the ground with dead weight on you. You’re running around with pads on, but guys are still out there and have all that energy for the whole game.

My favorite player on the team now is probably Richard Sherman. That’s my go-to guy. He just has this energy about the way he plays that, to me, is crazy. He’s just so aggressive, and always hyped and ready to take down everybody.

In my sport, in my event, we run for 12 seconds. That’s it. That’s all that you have to be hyped for. Football games are long. To have that kind of energy that Richard has for the entire game is impressive. I couldn’t imagine having to be like that for that long. He is so young and energetic, and that energy spreads throughout that team.

On offense, I like Russell Wilson. I think he’s everybody’s favorite. It amazes me how well he plays and how he leads the team, relative to how young he is. I like his decision making out there on the field. He seems very poised, and is very good at reading where his receivers are. The way he plays and the way he reads the game, he seems like a vet. I like when he runs the ball too. (I feel like he should run it a little more.)

I also like Golden Tate. He has that cocky confidence that some guys have where it’s kind of a mixture of both, but in a good way. He’s fast. Jermaine Kearse has been impressive this season, too. He went to UW, and he’s from the Seattle  area (Lakes High School in Lakewood).

TIMES HAVE CHANGED

I do remember going to Seahawks games when I was growing up and they played in the Kingdome. It was always fun to watch the home town team in any sport because that’s your home city. Of course, you want them to do well.

But back then, I was more of a Sonics fan than anything else. It was during that era when they went to the NBA Finals. We had Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Vin Baker, and Nate McMillan. That was the team I really paid attention to. I also played and loved basketball, so that was why I was so drawn to them.

Now that the Sonics are gone and we no longer have an NBA team, everyone’s attention has shifted to the Seahawks.

Whenever I go up to Seattle, I see so many Seahawks jerseys and Mariners stuff. Way more than I see Clippers, Lakers, Dodgers or Angels stuff down in LA. People in Seattle wear their team stuff every day — not just game day. At this point, I think everyone in Seattle is a die-hard sports fan. Whether the team is doing good or bad, they just root for the home team.

But going to a Seahawks game is an entirely different experience. CenturyLink is amazing. It feels like being at a real football stadium vs. the Kingdome when I was a kid. The energy in there is crazy. You have no choice but to be screaming right along with the rest of the fans.

When I went earlier in the year with my dad and my brother, our voices were gone and our ears were ringing by the time the game ended. But it’s so much fun. It’s like an adrenaline rush.

I’m sure it is going to be even crazier on Sunday. I can’t wait!

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at dshelton@seattletimes.com or sports@seattletimes.com. Not all submissions can be published. The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.

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