Devoted, loyal (and a hint of crazy), Seattle Seahawks fans pack camp opener

Staff writerJuly 25, 2013 

RENTON – The Seattle Seahawks have many challenges ahead of them this season.

Support from their fans won’t be one of them.

On Thursday, the first day of NFL training camp at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center, 2,800 fans came out to watch the Hawks practice. While players took care of business on the field, fans entered contests, spun wheels for prizes, played on an inflatable playground and consumed food offered on-site.

Coming off of the team’s first winning season since 2007 (11-5) and loss to the Atlanta Falcons on a game-winning 49-yard field goal with eight seconds to go in the NFC divisional playoffs, fans expect a lot this season.

Three generations represented the Lovell family as spectators at Thursday’s training camp. Roy Lovell had his father and his two sons with him.

“We want it to be September already,” said Lovell, who wants to attend a regular-season game but says he likes watching from home, too. “I have my favorite blue cup that comes out every Sunday.”

Lovell’s son Joshua, 24, has season tickets and doesn’t like to miss seeing the action in person.

“I love the atmosphere at the game,” said Joshua. “You just have to be there.”

The atmosphere at CenturyLink Field is extreme and fans frequently use it to their advantage. ESPN credits the stadium’s acoustics with forcing 143 false-start penalties the past decade. An unofficial fan group is also planning to break the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd roar at the Hawks’ home opener Sept. 15 against the San Francisco 49ers.

With reports that all the single-game tickets for the regular season have sold out, fans are taking every opportunity to see their favorite players in person.

The nice weather didn’t hurt attendance, either. Seattle fans might not be used to enjoying both football and a temperature higher than 70 degrees at the same time, but those who attended Thursday had the chance.

“In 2010, we came to training camp in the rain,” said Samantha Varner, 19, an Olympia-area native.

Spectators visit the practices for many reasons – whether to enjoy the weather, try to get autographs, or just watch the professionals in action.

“I like seeing the players’ progression,” said 13-year-old Diego Suarez.

His mother, Tamara Barksdale, agreed.

“We’re really feeling the excitement of the season starting.”

Leah Traxel: 253-597-8670

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