PHOENIX – Randi Green's life changed forever last March 22.
The mudslide that occurred four miles east of Oso, Wash., that morning claimed the lives of 43 people – including her 14-year-old son, Denver. So now grieving is part of Green's daily life.
But this weekend, the Seahawks' appearance in Super Bowl XLIX against the New England Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium in nearby Glendale is providing a needed diversion. A lifelong Seahawks fan, the 37-year-old Green will be attending the game because the National Football League has provided her with tickets after her story was featured on NBC's Nightly News as a follow up to a report by KING-TV – Seattle's NBC affiliate.
"The Seahawks have been amazing. They've given me something to focus on," Green said Friday. "Not only was Denver a fan, but I'm a huge fan. So putting my energy into the Seahawks has given me a release.
"I asked my therapist the other day, 'What am I going to do after the season?' She said, 'We'll find something for you.' "
Green was able to punctuate that statement with a laugh. And thankfully, the Seahawks extended their season – and her release – by making it to the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season.
Green, a teacher at Darrington Elementary School, also attended the joint press conference on Friday morning that featured Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and his Patriots' counterpart, Bill Belichick. She got to meet Carroll before the session, and was proud of herself for holding her emotions in check.
"I said, 'Can I get a selfie with you to show my kids back home,' " she said, referring to her fourth- and fifth-graders at Darrington Elementary. "He said, 'Absolutely. You know, coaching is probably a lot like teaching fourth grade sometimes.' "
Green also will not only attend Saturday night's "NFL Honors" awards show, but walk down the Red Carpet prior to the telecast on NBC – which also is carrying Sunday's game.
All of this is making for a surreal situation, because it has come from the tragedy of losing her son.
"I've had my moments of tears, happiness. It's just been amazing," Green said. "I broke down once yesterday. I haven't broken down yet today, which is good."
Green has gotten a major assist in making all this happen from Tony Mace, an area fire captain who volunteered in the Oso relief event. And Mace is with Green this weekend.
"Her story struck a nerve with me," said Mace, who started a drive to raise funds so Green could see the Seahawks play in the Super Bowl.
Once the NFL found out about the effort, they provided her with tickets.
Denver would have been 15 last month. Asked about his name, Green said, "He's named after his great uncle, and not the Denver Broncos."
The Seahawks, of course, played the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII last February. And that was the last Seahawks game Green got to watch with her son.
Before we let her get away, we put Green through the "Look who's coming to the game" routine:
Fan since: "My entire life. I grew up watching football with my grandpa sitting on the arm of his chair."
Favorite all-time Seahawk: "I would feel bad if I named one over all the others, because they're all amazing."
Favorite current Seahawk: "It's the same thing. It's like trying to pick your favorite child."
Favorite moment from Super Bowl XLVIII: "The first snap," she said of the snap that Broncos QB Peyton Manning wasn't expecting that became a safety. "That was amazing. I was off the couch at that time. I was like, 'I'm not sitting anymore.' "
Favorite moment in franchise history, other than Super Bowl XLVIII:"Again, there are just too many to pick only one."
Prediction for Super Bowl XLIX: "I'm a little bit superstitious. So I'm not able to make predictions, because I don't want to jinx it. But if I have to, I'll say Seahawks by 15 points. I just feel it."