The first trio of episodes of the second season of The Sound maintained a heavy focus on introducing Seattle’s 2023 rookie class, from the draft process, to the players getting to know each other through team-building activities. Episode 4 gets a look at offseason for the veterans - as well as a look into the second-annual Champions of Change Celebrity Game created by a few Seahawks Legends.
Episode 4 kicks off with an integral member of the Seahawks family - renowned photographer Rod Mar. In over two decades as a professional, Mar has captured every sports star you can think of from behind the lens. He opens the episode by sharing his excitement about running back Kenneth Walker III coming to him for shooting tips - while also sharing the story of piquing Seahawks Legend Marshawn Lynch's interest in cameras.
"The first time a Seahawks player asked me about a camera, I will never forget this," said Mar. "We were on a road trip to Chicago, we signed a new player. The new player was really interested in my camera. He was like 'Let me see your camera, can I use your camera?' We were at a walkthrough at some high school or small college stadium outside of Chicago, and at the end he goes, 'Can I buy this camera?' I go, 'When?' And he goes, 'I want to buy it right now.' And I said, 'No I need this camera to photograph you playing in the football game tomorrow.' And he was like 'No, I think you should sell it to me right now.' And that's how I met Marshawn Lynch."
But the focus (no pun intended) is on Seattle's second-year running back, fresh off the second 1,000-yard season by a rookie running back in franchise history. When Walker isn't preparing for his sophomore season, he's using his downtime to sharpen his skills with his recently-acquired Canon EOS R6 camera and learn from the tips of the trade to landscape photography with Mar. Arriving in Seattle even before Coach Pete Carroll, Mar has been capturing live shots of Seattle's greatest stars and moments for 15 years. But after Walker asked for some advice on shooting the outdoors, Mar didn't hesitate despite it not being his field of expertise. Even still, we get a glimpse at the duo hitting the beautiful terrain of the Pacific Northwest as they look to work on creating great shots.
"I made it clear to him I'm a professional photographer," said Mar. "But I am not an expert in landscape. Not what I do, but I will help you with camera settings. I really wanted him to learn how to see in different ways, so that was really fun. We had a great afternoon. He is full-in deep-dive, I want to be a photographer. Done it my whole life, any of us who has done something our whole life, sometimes it gets routine. So seeing photography and passion through someone else's eyes is really inspiring for me. He was not afraid to stand on a rock, or get down real low or use the back screen of his camera to shoot up into the trees in the sky. I thought that was really cool in that he was really interested in how to see and use his camera."
As the two trek through a trail in search of great shots, Mar breaks down his passion for photography and the human connections he's built via his camera.
"I have the best job in the world," said Mar. "People say, 'It seems like you have great relationships with players.' And I like to remind them, my only job is to make players look really, really cool. And it's led to some great things, like photographing players' weddings, doing their family photos, holiday photos, it's nice to have that connection. Because we're always looking for human connections and friendship, we're here to just make you look great. And if we can extend that off the field into the other parts of your life, then that's really special too."
Episode 4 further emphasizes the family culture surrounding Seattle's franchise, as viewers are introduced to figures like Mar who represent the Seahawks brand off-the-field. The community aspect is the focal point of the episode, as viewers are taken behind the scenes of the second-annual Champions of Change Celebrity Basketball Game.
Seahawks Legends Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett and Doug Baldwin each left a lasting impact on the Pacific Northwest during their playing days, but what they have done through their Champions of Change Foundation is the gift that keeps giving. With the recent opening of Baldwin's Family First Community Center in Renton, Bennett reflects on the character of his former teammate and the importance of leadership.
"I respect anybody that has a philosophy and principles," said Bennett. "Thinking about Doug in our time in the league and being a teammate of his, is that he always led with principle. Didn't matter the situation, it was always about principle. It's easy for us to come together, I think the thing that connects us all is that we understand the importance of our position in this universe. Especially as black men, the importance of having a sense of vulnerability. Having a sense of connection to and not forgetting where we come from. The importance of being a role model, I think a lot of time people run away from being role models, but it goes back to why I respect Doug. Being a role model isn't just about selling items, it's also about living a certain life of virtue. And having principles, and having intentional fortitude to stand up when things get heavy and the water is shaky, you have a foundation."
After raising well over six figures for nonprofits and community groups working to create change for the disenfranchised across the area, the second-annual celebrity game kicked off at Climate Pledge Arena to a packed crowd. The thrilling overtime game featuring Seattle royalty like Seahawks Legend Jermaine Kearse and hometown NBA hero Jamal Crawford was the backdrop for an event focused on bringing the community together. Baldwin discusses the importance of focusing on helping now, then being flexible as things change rather than worrying about a fixed long-term goal.
"Cliff and I actually talked about this the other day," said Baldwin. "There's no 5-10-15 year vision goal here. Similar to how we played in football, it's just one game at a time. And with this, it's just one effort at a time. And we figured, if we continue to have that mindset, if we just keep our head focused on the task at hand and making the right decisions in the present moment each moment that comes to us, when we look up 5-10 years from now, we'll be in a better spot than envisioned prior. So, we're just focused on that. When we have opportunities to serve, we'll show up and just see what happens."
Second-year tackle Abraham Lucas is the latest player to be featured in a day-in-the-life on The Sound, as he closes out the fourth episode. The previous episode gave a look into the usually reserved wideout Dareke Young, and we get another look here at a player who isn't normally thrust into the spotlight off the field. Viewers are given a look at Lucas' offseason adjustments after a promising rookie campaign, including a new affinity for combat sports as he gets some work in the gym.
"I'm a pretty big fan of combat sports," said Lucas. "I do think it's an important skill to have to know how to finish them. I started this year, probably 2-3 months ago and I try to do it a couple times a week. Things have happened where sometimes I'll miss it, but along with boxing, I do jiu jitsu stuff. I haven't been able to lately, but I've done jiu jitsu on-and-off since 2020. It's interesting, the principles are kind of the same as offensive linemen. When you block, good feet, good hand placement, proper body control, proper lane patience and not being too out of control. It's kind of odd to see it all come together, but it's also pretty cool."
The Everett native and Washington State alum is sure to gain plenty of local Grunge fans, as he plays some tunes on his guitar and discusses the importance of Nirvana before heading to his alma mater, Archbishop Murphy High School, to speak to the players looking to follow his footsteps. Lucas gives the youth sound advice while reminiscing on his early days as a tight end and his younger brother being a freshman on the team. Bringing the episode home, Lucas discusses his motivations in 2023.
"Take it day-by-day", said Lucas. "Really, just to be the best that I can be this year and to continue improving. Not be complacent, the NFL is not for long if you're being realistic about it. Every opportunity in front of you has to be taken full advantage of, so I just aim to do that this year as best as I can."
From the rookies to the new veterans, The Sound provides more context to Seattle's offseason, giving more power to the players under the helmet to be themselves. It's also another look at the motivations of each of the Seahawks integral puzzle pieces.
Here is a behind the scenes look at season two, episode four of The Sound, "Shifting Focus". This episode follows Kenneth Walker III on an outdoor adventure, provides exclusive interviews with Seahawks legends Doug Baldwin Jr, Michael Bennett, and Cliff Avril as they discuss their foundation Champions of Change, and gives an inside look on the day in the life of right tackle Abraham Lucas.