When I Became A Seahawks Fan
By: Connor Lenahan
In 2005 Seattle Seahawks legend Shaun Alexander won the NFL MVP after running for 1,880 yards and 27 TDs. That wasn’t a typo. Alexander actually rushed for 27 TDs that year. For comparison purposes, Adrian Peterson ran for the second most yards in NFL history in 2012 and only found the endzone twelve times. So it’s fair to say ’05 Alexander was a monster.
I’m not certain why, but I had a Shaun Alexander jersey as a kid. I think my dad had picked it up for me, or possibly it was from a family member. I’m not sure. I wore that jersey all the time during that dominant season. I didn’t fully realize how incredible Alexander was, but I liked watching the guy obliterate defenders like I obliterate boxes of Oreos. It was natural that Alexander became my favorite player and by proxy the Seahawks would become my favorite team. This was the first year I paid any attention to football. I had known I was picking a good team as the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl a few months later. Despite falling to Pittsburgh, I knew I would ride with the Seahawks for a while. I just liked their vibe, their jerseys, Mike Holmgren’s mustache, and of course, Shaun Alexander.
A few years later I sent a letter to Alexander telling him how he was responsible for not just making me a Seahawks fan but also a football fan. I had requested that he autograph a picture and a football card I had also sent to him. I didn’t think a high profile celebrity like him would have time for a high school freshman like me, yet I received a package in the mail that cemented the Seahawks and Alexander in my heart a few months later. Alexander had signed the card, the photo (signing “To Connor, Stay Strong, Shaun Alexander”) and also sent me a copy of his autobiography Touchdown Alexander that I hadn’t known about, nor did I request, with an autograph on the inside cover made out to me.
This remains my favorite autograph in my collection. It always will. To have someone you idolize as a kid take extra steps to be kind to you is an unbelievable feeling. It makes all of the fandom justifiable. Shaun Alexander is still my favorite player of all time, and I have the book with me in Boston because it’s one of my most prized possessions. I’m hopeful that one day I will get to meet Shaun and personally thank him for his kindness… and ask him to sign my throwback jersey for my future apartment.
Eight years after I watched the Seahawks in the Super Bowl I get the chance to again. I stuck around through some rough years. I rolled with the team through the Charlie Whitehurst era. I never turned away even though Alexander hasn’t donned a Seahawks uniform since I was in seventh grade. I knew this was my team.
Now I’m blessed with the opportunity to watch an incredible Seahawks team try to win their first Lombardi Trophy. I love this team. Russell Wilson gives hope to short people like me that anything is possible. Marshawn Lynch remains one of the only people to ever cause me to scream for 85 uninterrupted seconds thanks to the “Beast Mode” run. Derrick Coleman is an inspiration to me. Richard Sherman is a superstar, the best corner in the NFL, and an awesome human being. How can you not like the Seahawks (other than if you’re a fan of another NFC West team or the Broncos)?
It’s a few minutes from the Super Bowl and I am going crazy. I’ve been patient on this one. Time to bring one home for the 12th man. Let’s go Hawks.
Connor Lenahan (@ConnorLenahan) is the founder and editor-in-chief of Connorlenahan.com. He is a freshman at Boston University, majoring in journalism. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org