Seahawks, Alexander, fans ready for Super Bowl run

Somebody pinch me because I think I’m dreaming.

At 3:30 p.m. tomorrow, my Seattle Seahawks will be playing for a spot in the Super Bowl inside the loudest stadium in the NFL — Qwest Field. I repeat, tomorrow at 3:30 the Seahawks will be playing for a spot in the biggest, most-hyped sporting event in the world.

What is the world coming to? How did we get so lucky? Enjoy it Federal Way, it’s been 21 years in the making.

So, on second thought — nobody pinch me. I don’t want this dream to end until I’m watching Seahawk owner Paul Allen hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Detroit. Because nothing says Super Bowl champions like a former Dungeons and Dragons gamer and computer geek standing on the 30-yard line in a puffy Seahawk-blue winter coat hugging 300-pound offensive linemen.

I have been waiting for this moment my whole life and I still can’t believe it’s actually going to happen. The Seahawks hadn’t even won a playoff game since 1984 until they downed the Washington Redskins last weekend.

But it will be well worth the wait if they beat the Carolina Panthers tomorrow.

Nothing unites a community more than a successful sports team. I don’t care what anybody says. Look at what the 1995 Mariners did for baseball in Seattle. Before that team rolled into the American League Championship Series, they had their bags packed for Tampa Bay. The Mariners were drawing no fans and playing in the cavernous Kingdome.

Fast forward 10 years and now the Mariners are drawing close to 3 million fans in the most beautiful baseball stadium in the Major Leagues while losing 90 games a year. Oh, how things have changed in Mariner land.

The Seahawks have also went through a metamorphosis in the last few seasons. Going from a mediocre team year in and year out, to a legitimate Super Bowl contender inside a new, state-of-the-art football stadium — Qwest Field.

“Yeah, after living here for 30-plus years, it’s hard not to have the fever,” said current Todd Beamer High School boys basketball coach and Seahawk season-ticket holder Jarrett Mentink. “I think the crowd will make the difference. It was nuts last weekend.”

The crowd wasn’t the only thing that was a little crazy last Saturday against the Redskins.

Seattle turned the ball over three times and also lost running back Shaun Alexander in the first quarter to a concussion. But they still won the game by 10 points. That bodes pretty well for tomorrow. I think the rabid Qwest Field crowd and a healthy and fired-up Alexander will be the differences against the Panthers. But I am a little biased. I have a special place in my heart for Alexander, as should plenty of people in this city. The NFL’s reigning Most Valuable Player has emceed the Federal Way Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation’s Literacy Kick-Off Breakfast four times, raising thousands of dollars for underprivledged kids in the school district.

I have been fortunate enough to spend a little time with Alexander and he even personally signed a Dr. Suess book for my two sons — Isaac and Andy. I felt like a 12-year-old again — “Will you sign this for me, Mr. Alexander?” I even wrote a column two years ago defending Alexander when the media and fans were trying to run him out of town.

But my experience with Alexander pales in comparison to the time Mentink, a Decatur grad, spent with the Seahawk running back. The pair penned the children’s book “Alexander the Great” together last year. The story chronicles the academic and athletic successes of Alexander.

“He has been a lot of fun to work with on the book project, because he carries himself as well off of the field as he does on it,” Mentink said. “He really does give back a lot to the community. In fact, as it turned out, the day he won the MVP award was the same day of a book signing in Kirkland. First of all, there are not a lot of professional athletes that would have done a signing during the playoffs, let along being so gracious with his time on the night he won the MVP. He had been in press conferences all day, but still stayed at the event for over two hours while his wife and kids waited patiently for him at the store.”

Let’s hope Alexander and the rest of the Seahawks are signing autographs next week in Detroit. Remember, the Seattle Seahawks are playing tomorrow for a spot in the Super Bowl. Unbelievable.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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