Posted Aug 7, 2011

Despite the lockout and departure of some fan-favorite players, the Seahawks’ training-camp practices that are open to the public have drawn enthusiastic turnouts.

There are fair-weather fans, fans for all seasons and even fans for no apparent reason.


Kenny Burns
Age: 33
From: Federal Way
Fan since: I was about 2-years old. My dad used to watch the Seahawks and I be right there with him.
Favorite current player: WR Ben Obomanu
Favorite all-time Seahawk: RB Chris Warren
Favorite Seahawk moment: Marshawn Lynch’s run in the wild-card playoff game last season.

Jessica McKenzie
Age: 33
From: Puyallup
Fan since: I can remember. I don’t know. Years.
Favorite current player: WR Sidney Rice, now that he’s here. But I have Earl Thomas’ jersey in my backpack.
Favorite all-time Seahawk: WR Steve Largent
Favorite Seahawk moment: Going to the Super Bowl in 2005.

Ben Norris
Age: 10
From: Duvall
Fan since: I first went to a Seahawks game in 2004.
Favorite current player: C Max Unger
Favorite all-time Seahawk: QB Matt Hasselbeck
Favorite Seahawk moment: When they made it to the Super Bowl.

Ruth Rose
Age: 47
From: Renton
Fan since: We moved here, about 20 years ago.
Favorite current player: There’s a lot of new guys, so I’m not sure yet.
Favorite all-time Seahawk: QB Matt Hasselbeck
Favorite Seahawk moment: When they went to the Super Bowl.

Then there are fans like Kenny Burns. True blue, through and through. He already has attended several practices at the Seahawks’ training camp and is scheduled to hit several more.

Upset about the 136-day lockout that deprived fans of their offseason football? “I knew it would come to an end,” Burns said. “It was obvious. Too much money involved.”

Disappointed that the team didn’t re-sign longtime quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and released Pro Bowl middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu? “No, you don’t make the team feel bad for doing something like that,” Burns said. “They’re business decisions. So I went and did something a little different.”

Sensing a possible Hasselbeck backlash, Burns showed up at one of the first practices open to fans sporting a homemade Tarvaris Jackson T-shirt – the QB who was signed to replace Hasselbeck.

The team is back, and the fans have followed – despite a couple of glitches in the practice schedule as teams throughout the league have been getting used to the more restrictive format under the new CBA.

More than 6,700 fans registered to attend the first seven open practices. Six more will be open, and you can register to attend here. The practices on Aug. 13 and 14 already have 1,500 fans registered for each.

The fan-friendly environment includes viewing from the berm adjacent to the practice fields and post-practice autograph sessions. Seahawks’ gear is on sale at Sports Authority tent, and food also is available for purchase from local vendors. 

The best place to start in examining just what the 12th Man – and the home-field advantage it creates – means to the Seahawks is coach Pete Carroll. He had heard about the din generated by the 12th Man when he was hired in January of 2010. But, as it turned out, he hadn’t heard anything until he experienced it for himself.

“I really had no idea that a fan following could be this good. The fans continue to exceed my expectations,” Carroll said in the chapter that was added about the Seahawks in the just-released paperback edition of his book, “Win Forever.”

Carroll calls the 12th Man “a secret weapon,” adding, “There truly is an unusual spirit about the Seahawks fans. They’re more outgoing, more boisterous, more engaged, more genuinely supportive, and just plain crazy about their Seahawks! Their response to every game is extraordinary.”

And they aren’t too shabby when it comes to attending training-camp practices, either.