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Party like it’s 1979

6 Feb
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Isn’t she beautiful?

We had the chance to be a part of something big. Something huge. Something historical.

When the Seattle Seahawks brought home their first ever Super Bowl championship, the city threw them a parade and invited every single 12th Man known to man. The Seahawks victory parade yesterday in downtown Seattle celebrated the team’s Super Bowl XLVIII victory, the city’s first championship since the SuperSonics won the NBA championship in 1979.

That’s a long time for a city to wait to celebrate. It was before my time, so when we had the opportunity to party with the Seahawks and the hundreds of thousands of other fans, my husband and a friend of ours drove right into the heart of downtown.

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CenturyLink.

Lucky for me it was a working trip, as I went up to interview the local military service members who were involved in the parade. And being the worst case scenario planner that I am, we laid out a travel and parking plan that deprived us of sleep but saved us time stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic with a million other people.

We left our house at 5:15 a.m. and after a Starbucks run, found free parking near Safeco Field. We then hoofed it ALL the way to Seattle Center where the parade was to start. We made it to the Space Needle just as the sun was rising and it made the city that more beautiful to celebrate.

We killed time and enjoyed warmth in a building near the Needle before we waited in the longest McDonald’s line (seriously waited nearly an hour) for a cheap, warm meal.

While I want to the EMP to get my interviews done with the parade participants, my husband Trevor and our pal Nick found a spot along 4th Avenue toward the start of the parade. I thought it was really neat that our neighborhood emptied out into the streets after the Super Bowl win last Sunday, but to be in a city where everyone is in a constant state of euphoria (unless you try to stand on someone’s piece of sidewalk they claimed on the parade route), you couldn’t help but smile along with them.

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Photo by Trevor Hanson

Miraculously I found Trevor and Nick along 4th Ave and squeezed my way into the crowd where we waited and waited in the frigid cold for the champions of the city to drive by.

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Sunrise at the Space Needle.

The party didn’t disappoint. From the LOB to the winning QB, the lovable guys traveled the two-mile route for the 12th Man to celebrate them one more time for their 2013 championship season.

Once the last vehicle passed us we rolled out of the crowd and hustled back to the direction of our car with the hope we could beat the mega crowd near the stadiums. Intersection after intersection were flooded with people and all you could do was stand in awe at the sheer amount of bodies standing in one location. There were people on top of buildings, watching over balconies, straining to catch any glimpse of the world champions.

We made it back to the car and back to the freeway before the parade ended and on the ride home listened to the celebration inside CenturyLink Field on the radio.

We walked miles that day and stood for hours, and even though we couldn’t feel our toes, we knew we were part of something big. We were a part of history.

Go Hawks!

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The LOB and the Vince Lombardi.

Sometimes I wear purple

16 Sep
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The season it all began, 2009.

Every football season I have to explain myself. Why would a Coug wear Husky purple?

At least one person will call me a traitor, and every time I respond with “I wear purple and gold, but I bleed crimson and gray, blah, blah, blah.”

Let me tell you why I, a Washington State University graduate, sometimes wear purple.

My story starts five football seasons ago…

My husband Trevor and I were in the blissful dating stage where we could do no wrong and were celebrating our first birthday together (we have the same birthday). Being the creative shopper I am I thought I was a genius when I ordered my Rolling Stones loving boyfriend a custom-made Stones clock made out of his favorite album. I think I spent about $30.

As we exchanged gifts he handed me a gift bag from a jewelry store. Uh oh. Inside was a beautiful diamond pendant necklace. He didn’t realize it but he had left the receipt in the bag. Doh! It was more than $30.

I knew he didn’t care about who spent what, but in my panic I told a lie.

I told him the clock was just part of his gift. Surprise! And that I also bought him Husky football season tickets, but didn’t yet have them in hand. Trevor is a lifelong University of Washington fan and in five seconds I became the world’s best girlfriend!

Lucky for me it was easy to buy season tickets in 2009. It was coach Sarkisian’s first season and the Huskies were coming off their 0-12 season (he, he). I bought our first season tickets in the open air bleacher section and then I had to go shopping.

After I bought my first purple my Facebook friends/WSU classmates didn’t hold back their feelings about a Coug wearing the enemy’s colors. During our first season I acted as if I was working in a press box. There was no cheering. I was neutral.

And then we were at our first Apple Cup together. And the Cougs lost. And then they lost again in 2011. But you better believe I was wearing my crimson among the purple party.

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A painful loss.

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The long ride home.

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I seem pretty happy. Must be before the loss, 2011.

Little did I know, my 2009 lie has followed me every football season since then. When our birthday rolled around in 2010 it was kind of expected we would renew our tickets as our gift to each other Trevor. And so the cycle repeated itself year after year after year.

We were there to see Erik Folk kick the game-winning field goal against No. 3 USC in 2009. We won field passes and watched the Huskies beat Oregon State in double overtime from the field. As we rushed the field my husband ran into Jake Locker, shook his hand and gave him a half-hug. We have seen games from the “old” Husky Stadium, CenturyLink and now the “new” Husky Stadium.

It wasn’t until a couple years later I confessed the truth. I had lied in the moment, but I think it turned out OK. Our season tickets have guaranteed us date nights during a busy season of our lives. While I now cheer at UW games, I will not be pro-purple at this year’s Apple Cup at Husky Stadium. This girl will be all crimson and gray.

Oh, and that Rolling Stones record turned clock? It’s also still a part of our lives as a decoration in our bathroom.

Networking with the M’s

12 Jun
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Post-networking event and ready for the game!

My BFF Melissa and I both have degrees in communication and while I took the journalism route and she took the marketing route, we both share a love of sports — and the possibility of someday working for a professional sports organization. So when Melissa asked me if I wanted to go to the Seattle Mariners’ Teammate Networking event June 11 I was all about it.

Dressed in business attire dresses and with wind-blown hair (thank you, Seattle!) we checked in for the event at Safeco Field’s Ellis Pavilion at 6 p.m. A panel of executives from the Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders, Seattle Storm and other local sports organizations introduced themselves in front of the attendees. Once introductions were over the executives spread out and the sharks (us) swarmed around them peppering them with questions and offering out business cards.

Melissa is the marketing director of a local mall and had the Mariners VP of marketing on her radar, as did many other sharks people. It’s extremely intimidating to walk right up to someone cold and talk about how awesome you are and ask if they’re hiring. Melissa was patient and eventually made it front and center to talk with the VP (success!).

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Melissa surrounded by other marketing peeps.

While Melissa was chatting up the marketing VP I spoke with someone who does digital media for the Seahawks and Sounders. I asked him how he gets into a position like that and asked him how it has evolved in the last few years. I went on to speak with the director of sport partnerships at Northeastern University, who has an amazing resume. She wanted to be a baseball coach so got the education and coached a pro team at the independent level and since then has pitched for BP for eight MLB teams (wow!). I then spoke with someone representing the Special Olympics of Washington because I had recently written a story about SOWA’s Summer Games.

About an hour later we left the event and picked up our garlic fries and climbed the many stairs to our seats in the 300 level. We enjoyed a 4-0 Mariners win over the Houston Astros and a much needed girls date.

Melissa and I followed up with emails this morning in hopes that someday we’ll both work for professional sports organizations. Preferably with the same team. Maybe?

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Our view while we ate garlic fries.

What are your tips for networking?

A Cardinals Family

11 Oct

I have written before about Army spouse Teresa Maggart. I first met her last year for a story assignment. It had been a year since her husband Sgt. Brandon Maggart was killed in Iraq, and she had become a member of the local running group, wear blue: run to remember.

The Maggart family is originally from Missouri, but Teresa and her 5-year-old son Blake remained in Washington. Teresa and Blake flew home to their homestate in August for Blake’s birthday. Big Mizzou and Cardinals fans, Blake threw the first pitch out at a St. Louis game during their visit. His father was honored at the game.

Blake in the big leagues!

When I found out a couple months ago that former St. Louis manager Tony La Russa was visiting Joint Base Lewis-McChord for a book signing I immediately contacted Teresa. La Russa’s book signing was on Oct. 3, and wow, what a class act. He was humbled by the number of service members waiting in line to meet him, pose for photos and ask for autographs. La Russa’s signing was only supposed to last two hours, but the three-time world series championship skipper stayed for 4 1/2 hours to make sure everyone in line got through.

I told the marketing people in charge of the signing about the Maggart family who was waiting in line and a little bit about their story. They told La Russa. When it was Blake’s turn La Russa picked him up and stood him on top of the signing table. He put two of his World Series rings on Blake’s hands and posed for photos. I had been there for 2 1/2 hours and La Russa hadn’t done that with ANY other child. It was such a cool experience for Blake and I was so impressed by La Russa’s compassion and character.

Meeting Mr. La Russa

Blake was distracted by the World Series rings.

I tell Teresa what an inspiration she is to me, and I know she is such an inspiration to many others.

Read about La Russa’s visit here.

Strong Family

10 Sep

The Jackson three.

I am fascinated by people’s stories. There are often times I will point someone out to my husband and say, “I wonder what their story is…”

The beauty of my job is that I am able to walk up to strangers and ask them nosy questions about their life, in a tactful and respectful way of course.

A few months ago I covered a bench press competition at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. I knew the event organizer was a retired world champion powerlifter. These days she’s a personal trainer and an assistant manager at one of the fitness centers on base. At the event I learned her ex-husband and two of their daughters also used to compete in powerlifting.

It’s not every day you meet a former world champion powerlifter, let alone an entire family of them. I caught up with the family last week to write a story about their family genes. Turns out one of the daughters is now looking to turn professional in boxing while the other daughter is excelling on the track.

Read my story here.

Lifting at 6 years old.

The family has had multiple stories written about them. Someone in Europe also contacted them to interview them for a documentary on strong families.

This story allowed me the opportunity to connect more with a source I work with quite often, but don’t really know. It was fun to talk with the girls who don’t think anything of their talents. To them it’s normal to lift big weight and have 300-pound weightlifters cheer them on.

Ready for some football!

4 Sep

I am so grateful for the three-day Labor Day weekend! I spent the time off reading, cleaning and completing three fantasy football drafts.

The month of September means hooded sweatshirts, Pumpkin Spice Lattes and football season!

Team 1: Since I first met Trevor he has organized a fantasy team every year. I joined in 2009 and after two decent years I had a very rough year last year. My team is Panang Curry, named after my favorite Thai food dish and after my favorite NCAA basketball player, Stephen Curry of Davidson.

Team 2: The last few years my dad and brother organize a family league named The Breeze League. In this league my name is the East Dillon Lions after one of my favorite teams on one of my favorite shows, “Friday Night Lights.”

Team 3: My co-worker and her husband asked us to join a league they started. Aside from my friends I don’t know anyone in this league. But again, team name is Panang Curry.

Trevor getting ready for draft No. 1.

Strategy

Trevor hooked up a computer to our TV downstairs while I worked in the dining room on my laptop. Trevor is hardcore about his football, especially during draft time. In an effort to avoid annoying him by asking him what he thought about certain players, I would look at his draft rankings on the big screen to see where a player I was interested in ranked on his board. He didn’t know I was doing this (and he will never know unless he reads my blog. Hmmm, this might be a good test).

After so many drafts I honestly can’t even remember a quarter of my players. I think I managed to get RGIII as my backup QB on all three teams though…

Games kickoff Wednesday and I will soon learn if my strategy worked!