Friday, August 11, 2017

A Day at Seahawks Training Camp

"We are 12!"
The first to arrive claimed seats and began the waiting line.
It was a first for me, a relatively new Seahawks fan, to spend the day at the Seahawks Training Facility on Lake Washington in Renton, WA. My new travel buddy, Wayne, has a daughter, Susan Smith, who has been a Seahawks fan all her life. (He started following them when they first started back in the 70's.)

At her invitation, we got up at 2:30 a.m. to drive from Sequim over to Renton via the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. And as the traffic was lighter than expected, we got to The Landing just after 5 a.m. so we met up for donuts and coffee. And other fans began arriving shortly thereafter.

These were the other early arrivals. Soon this line would be
bent so that folks were across the street and down past the
Pro shop.
Wayne Smith and Wayne Ratcliff walk and chat as they waited
for the beginning of the processing to start.
By 7 o'clock, we saw the line lengthen quickly from our initial group of about 50 to 500 and by the time the busses arrived there were over 1500.

We were quickly processed through the security system and funneled through the scanners into the next bus in line.
The entrance to the security and clearing staff to make sure
we weren't going to disrupt the day with any devices.

More folks arriving at The Landing.
The drive to the Training Facility was delayed by morning rush hour traffic, but we were all eager to get there so I don't think most of us noticed that it took longer than our return trip.

As our bus pulled in, we were shouting "Sea-HAWKS!!" so loudly that that staff commented on it. There was a band playing and photo opportunities with the DJ and three of the SeaGals.

Wayne Ratcliff with daughter, Susan Smith, and her husband,
(also named Wayne) at the Seahawk Training Facility.
Once off the bus, we were lined up in front of a gate which opened just at 9 a.m. Folks ahead of us (not too many) began running up the hill to the other side where they claimed spots on the fence for watching. Those were the folks who had experience at the routine. Others continued to arrive until after 11 a.m., but the team was out on the field by 10 a.m.
Wayne in his element with the SeaGals!!

At the top of the field, there were vendors with food, snacks, drinks and hawking lots of Sea Gear.

My breakfast on the road had been a homemade PB&J with blueberries and coffee. But that had been hours ago and by 10 a.m. I was ready for some pizza. Perhaps it was the sun, the field, the energy, but a huge slice of cheese pizza was just what was needed!

There were a lot of tall men in the line, and in one of the photos I took, it was hard to spot my pal. And they all had on their fan regalia, so trying to find a tall guy with a Seahawks hat was pointless!

Where is the tall guy with the Seahawk hat that I came with?
Once the team took the field, we were glad we had put our chairs just behind the line because lots of folks claimed a spot at the fence and our seat location gave us a little elevation to be able to see over their heads.

At the Gate waiting for it to open.
But as the sun rose higher in the sky, there was no protection and with the hazy skies it got very hot very quickly. By 11:30 I had to escape the direct sun and settled myself in the shade of a vendor tent for a short while.

I think if I ever do this again I will bring a tripod and my telephoto lens. My handheld Sony camera with the distance lens was challenged by the light and the space between me and the subjects.

On the field, the team begins to stretch and move.

Everyone down for pushups!

Cam Chancellor shows a move to the right.
Defense shows off some moves before the crowd.

My best shot... Russell Wilson launching the ball.
The training has, apparently, in the past included team members coming over to give autographs and be available for closer photographs. Not today. Not one came over. Not even any representatives. And, in fact, most of the training, scrimmages, etc. took place on the other side of the field. By 11:30, I wasn't the only one climbing the hill to leave.

But it was an awesome experience to see in person (if at quite a distance) some of the fellows I have watched play these past few years. And I got some new items for my own team regalia... but best of all I spent time with folks I am growing to love. What could be better than this?
The crowd begins to thin out as folks leave the arena.

Wayne and 'Sandy Banks' taken by Susan Smith.

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