After Pete Carroll signed a football for 7-year-old Carsten Maes following Friday's practice, the Seahawks coach handed Maes another ball, one the team used during practice, and told him that was his as well.
Maes lit up and turned to his parents and held the ball up triumphantly, shouting, "I can have this!"
For the third time this season, the Seahawks hosted kids who were granted wishes by Make-A-Wish, and for Maes, who is fighting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and Madeline Self, a 16-year-old who was born with Infantile Cerebral Palsy, Friday's visit was a dream come true. Those two, along with 16-year-old Michael De Los Santos, who is fighting Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, will be guests at Sunday's game along with their families. As an added bonus, Self and Maes got to meet Seahawks legends Steve Largent and Jim Zorn, who were on hand for Friday's practice.
"Oh my gosh, she's so excited, she can hardly talk," said Hollie Self, Madeline's mom. "Every player she met, she was like, 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe I met so and so.' This is the day of her life, it's the most important day in her life. She is a major Seahawks fan. Meeting the team, what a great thing for her."
After practice, Maes, Self and their families got the usual handshakes, hugs and autographs from players, plus a little humor from defensive end Michael Bennett, who loudly announced his presence saying, "Hello Kids! It's Black Santa!" Bennett also asked Maes how old he was, saying, "You got a job yet? You pay taxes?"
Maes, who was in town from Anchorage with his parents and six siblings, also enjoyed a quick game of football on the Seahawks' practice field with father, Randall, and his siblings.
"I know that when we do have kids come in, it's a good thing for the kids and the family and all that, but it's also a really good thing for our players too, to share where they are in life right now," Carroll said. "They see the looks in the kids' eyes and they feel that exchange. There's a lot of good stuff happening in both directions. It's always good. We welcome a lot of people and friends to come in so we can share that with them."
Two kids from Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington made meeting the Seattle Seahawks their wish. Today those wishes were granted for Carsten and Maddie.