Desert escape interrupted by call of the 12s

Posted Apr 14, 2014

Monday metatarsal musings: During a majestic hike on a tranquil trail in the Coachella Valley, another mini Seahawks’ Super Bowl celebration broke out with the echoing call of SEA-Hawks!


Say what? We had just passed Sacred Rock on the tranquil trail that loops through this fabled desert canyon in the Coachella Valley that includes part of the San Andreas Fault as well as all of Palm Springs. We’d seen and heard ravens, mockingbirds and hummingbirds by the dozens, but the wild call of the 12th Man that became synonymous with the team’s success during the Seahawks’ run to the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history?

The seeing-is-believing part of what we’d heard – or at least thought we’d heard – played out a few minutes later, when we crossed paths with another couple coming in the opposite direction. They were wearing their Seahawks best. A short while later, we saw the other half of the SEA-Hawks! call when we got to Tahquitz Falls. There were four more people decked out in a rainbow of Seahawks Super Bowl Championship T-shirts.

And these chance meetings with members of the 12th Man were not a mirage; or even a one-time deal during our eight days in the desert.

Everywhere we went on our trip to Southern California the 12s were out – at the airport in Ontario, at the visitor center at Joshua Tree National Park, at the Indiana Wells Arts Festival, at the Living Desert in Palm Desert, on the trails that traverse the canyons in the valley.

There was a young boy in a blue No. 3 Russell Wilson jersey. There was a father in a No. 25 Richard Sherman Super Bowl T-shirt/jersey. There was the older man in a Seahawks Super Bowl Champion hat. There were young girls. There were mothers. There were women old enough to be the mothers of the mothers. And they were all wearing Seahawks Super Bowl memorabilia.

With one obvious exception, that is. Waiting at the Ontario airport for our flight back to Seattle, there was a woman in a blue T-Shirt that simply said Seattle Seahawks. When I mentioned that she needed to upgrade her 12 wardrobe to include something Super Bowl, she explained, “I’ve got plenty. It’s just that they’re all dirty and this is the only Seahawks shirt that was clean.”

Suddenly, it’s fashionable to not only be a Seahawks fans, but to flaunt your 12-ness. And it’s a bit startling to be that far from home but feeling right at home, because there have been too many seasons in franchise history where wearing anything with a Seahawks logo on it also required the prerequisite thick skin.

But then having the Seahawks win the Super Bowl for the first time in their 38-year history will do that to an ever-expanding fan base which had become ravenous for the feast of fulfilled fantasies that was the 43-8 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.

And hearing that call of SEA-Hawks! in a Southern California canyon was just the latest reminder that the team I’ve covered for 35 seasons did indeed accomplish so much last season.