MUNICH—It's only Thursday, but the 12s are already out in force for the first regular-season NFL game in Germany.
A quick disclaimer before we go any further, I don't sleep well on planes, which means what you're reading now are the dispatches of a man who has slept maybe a couple of hours in the last 30 hours or so. So yeah, if the following seems a little nonsensical, my apologies.
Anyway, the Seahawks' week of preparation began in Seattle, with practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, then after a long flight, continued into a very energetic Techno Thursday. It was a day that Seahawks coach Pete Carroll jokingly called Wednesday and Thursday "the longest day ever," and long or not, the schedule of having players practice immediately after arriving did serve the purpose of keeping everyone awake until a more normal bedtime.
After returning to the team hotel, players went on a team outing at a local bowling alley, and event that also served as a birthday celebration for quarterback Drew Lock.
Yours truly, meanwhile, finished up some work before heading out to check out Augustiner Stammhaus, which for the week is doubling as Seahawks Haus. Thanks to the time difference, a late night out meant getting to see Michael Bumpus and Dave Wyman host an on-location version of their radio show on Seattle Sports 710 AM.
And while the game is still a few days away, Augustiner Stammhaus was still full of 12s from all over Germany, the U.S. and elsewhere, hopefully a sign of things to come on Sunday. Already the "12s Everywhere" world map was full of pins from across the United States and Europe, a map that will only fill up as the week goes on. While there, I was fortunate enough to reconnect with former German Seahawkers president Maximilian Länge, who I first met in London four years ago, as well as current president Lukas Spiess. And really, moments like these, making friends out of strangers, with whom the only common bond is a football team in Seattle, is one of the best parts about these overseas games.
For the Seahawks, this week is almost all business, but for those of us fortunate to tag along in a work capacity while also being totally nonessential when it comes to the outcome of the game, it's great to be able to get out and see just how much this franchise means to people all over the world.
Lastly, a big shout out to athletic trainers Mackenzie Marques and Jose Guzman, who perhaps foolishly decided a nice two-mile walk sounded better than a cab ride home. I'm sure the Englische Garten is even better in daylight, but it was quite lovely for a nighttime walk as well.