To fully appreciate the degree to which Seattle Seahawks mania has permeated the culture, consider this:
Members of a senior fitness class in Lakewood — most in their 80s and at least one in her 90s — came to class Friday morning decked out in Seahawks jerseys and hats.
Their exercise routine, which consists mostly of slow marching in place and balancing, recently saw a new twist: The Marshawn Lynch crotch grab.
“These people have been stoked all season,” said Kim Field, the group’s instructor at the Lakewood Senior Activity Center. “Now that the Hawks are about to win their second Super Bowl, they are even more stoked.”
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With the Seahawks just one day away from taking on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 49, local Blue Friday celebrations extended far and wide, from banks and city halls to hospitals and grade schools.
From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Pierce County employees — most dressed in Seahawks blue and green — poured out of the County-City Building and into an adjacent parking lot for a tailgate potluck and rally.
County workers ate grilled hot dogs on blue and green plates and took turns sticking their heads into a cardboard cutout of Lynch for photo mementos.
At noon, all raised their faces to photographers stationed on top of the County-City Building and yelled at the top of their lungs for 30 solid seconds.
At Lakewood City Hall, the hometown of Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, Mayor Don Anderson, assisted by his grandson, Luke, led a raising of the 12th Man flag at 10 a.m.
The city’s communications manager, Brent Champaco, read a personal message sent to the city from Kearse.
Kearse, a Lakes High School alum, caught the game-winning overtime touchdown in the NFC Championship game.
“That catch, that finish, was absolutely amazing,” Champaco said. “For folks here in Lakewood, seeing Jermaine persevere and succeed after such a rough day, you couldn’t help but stand up and scream when he scored that touchdown.”
Also in Lakewood, the congregation at Christ Lutheran Church was in the midst of a its own Super Bowl-related competition — facing off with a Boston-area church over which could collect the most food for the needy.
On Sunday, both churches will check the score in what they’re calling “SOUPer Bowl Sunday” and declare a winner. Then the Lakewood church’s goods — food and, as of Friday, more than 1,000 cans of soup — will go to the Tillicum food bank, church administrator Lyndi Reed said.
At MultiCare’s Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, the “Nail Fairy” visited sick children and painted their fingernails Seahawks colors. Employees gathered for a tailgate party in the hospital’s rose garden at 12:12 p.m. (Get it?)
Down the street at St. Joseph Medical Center, the hospital’s distinctive tower is lit in blue for the occasion, with a “12” banner on top. On Friday afternoon, the medical center hosted a Super Bowl tailgate party for employees in one of its dining rooms.
Schools across the region celebrated the upcoming game with many of the teachers and administrators using the Seahawks to incorporate messages emphasizing the importance of hard work, perseverance and belief in oneself.
At Keithley Middle School near Pacific Lutheran University, kids with a 3.3 GPA or better went to a special assembly in the school gym, where they ate Skittles (Lynch’s candy of choice) and watched inspirational highlights from Seahawks games.
At Tacoma’s Point Defiance Elementary School on North Visscher Street, students learned “The Seahawks Shuffle” dance in PE classes. They danced together in the gym, wearing Seahawks gear. Kindergarteners wore special “spirit glasses.”
And at Lincoln High School, more than 1,000 students cheered the Seahawks at a deafening pep rally in the school gym. Activities included a game in which students dressed in Seahawks clothing jumped into each others’ arms.
“These kids are winning, just like the Seahawks,” assistant principal Rosemarie Burke said during the rally. “They have that same spirit. They’re preparing for life here.”