Seahawks players like B.J. Daniels, Ricardo Lockette, and Chris Matthews are embracing the use of hands-free scooters at team headquarters.
B.J. Daniels is known for being quick – and versatile – on a football field, but lately he's been zipping around the cavernous hallways of VMAC with remarkable speed, thanks to the shiny electric scooter that's more fun to call a hoverboard under his feet.
But that's assuming Cliff Avril hasn't scooped it up, hopped on and taken off. Which he probably has.
"I think I've only ridden it once today because everybody keeps taking turns," said Daniels, who himself learned to ride on hoverboards belonging to Ricardo Lockette and Chris Matthews. "My first time wasn't easy. It's all about balancing your feet."
Sadly, this hoverboard doesn't actually hover above ground like the one Back to the Future, Part II predicted when it hit theaters in 1989. It's more like a hands-free Segway than a flying skateboard. But today – Oct. 21, 2015 – marks the destination date for the movie's time-traveling Marty McFly, so it's the perfect occasion to investigate the futuristic-looking contraptions we've been seeing around the Seahawks training facility.
Seattle's wide receiver Lockette started the trend at VMAC after first being introduced to the hoverboard in Los Angeles.
"I thought it was really cool. I'd never seen it before," Lockette said. "I brought it here, and then next thing you know, 10 other guys on the team [had them]. And then the week after I brought it here, some guy from the Mariners bought like 20 of them.
"I take pride in being the first athlete in Seattle to have it."
The hoverboard is experiencing something of a pop-culture moment, showing up in NBA and NFL locker rooms, in celebrity YouTube videos, and perhaps most infamously at Los Angeles International Airport, where the rapper Wiz Khalifa was detained for refusing to disembark from his in August.
Inside the walls of Virginia Mason Athletic Center, Daniels has already perfected the art of texting while hoverboarding – not exactly safe, perhaps, but not exactly illegal: "I don't think I can get a ticket for it."
Daniels paid a premium to get the gold-plated version from a vendor at Tukwila's Westfield Southcenter Mall – where you're not allowed to ride them, by the way.
"I just decided to be different because nobody had the gold one. Nobody's been riding [a gold one] around the facility, so I was like, you know what, I'm gonna bust it out and show it off," Daniels said. "I just one-upped everyone."
Not so, um, fast – Lockette says he's in the process of customizing his ride, which was originally white.
"I'm getting it wrapped now. They're going to change the lights … I'm not sure how they're going to customize it," he said. "You gotta be different."
With its metallic sheen and glowing blue lights – which sort of look like eyes that are mocking you for walking – the hoverboard makes for a stylish foot accessory.
And Daniels says riding one, which the Internet has called the future of walking, gives him a competitive advantage off the field. What is that, exactly?
"Being lazy and getting to meetings faster than everyone else," Daniels said. "Because this is a long hallway, and our locker room and meeting rooms are down there. So I can leave with like 30 seconds left, and I'll still be there."
As high tech as it is, the hoverboard does require charging by plugging into the wall just like a cell phone. How long does that take?
"I'm not sure," Daniels said. "I haven't really read the manual."