Seahawks legends inspire South King County youth at breakfast

Pete von Reichbauer hosts annual Scholar-Athlete Breakfast featuring Steve Largent and Steve Raible.

Students from the Federal Way and Auburn school districts were treated to breakfast and motivational talks from two Seattle Seahawks legends.

King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer hosted the South King County Scholar-Athlete Breakfast on May 18 at the Emerald Downs racetrack in Auburn in an effort to support youth sports because too often schools just can’t afford to pay for sports equipment.

“We’re trying to create an endowment big enough to support programs because often school districts have to make tough decisions about finances, and unfortunately, many times they will cancel or they will not support needed sports programs,” von Reichbauer said. “For example, we’re looking to help with uniforms, like last year we did uniforms for the Federal Way High School basketball team. We’re working now on uniforms for the Auburn High School football team because sometimes the school board or school administrations make cutbacks, and they want the players or parents to pay.”

Von Reichbauer said these districts are not Bellevue or Mercer Island, and parents have some tough times financially. He wants to provide a financial bridge so school districts can continue providing good programs in Auburn and Federal Way. Von Reichbauer said he chose Auburn and Federal Way because he lives in the area. These cities are like his backyard, he said.

Von Reichbauer said he believes sports help students learn discipline and how to work with others, and they help students focus more in the classroom as a whole. He said he doesn’t expect students to always be the best, but he just wants them to go play and learn how to work on a team. Additionally, he said sports also unite students from every background.

“We have such a diversity within our community. People can come from all the continents. Federal Way and Auburn are not homogeneous. It’s a very diversified school district, and sports brings people together. They may have come from Korea, they may have come from Mexico, they may have come from Africa, they may have come from Europe, but they have the common interest of sports, and sports unites people, not divides them,” von Reichbauer said. “I want to make sure, as we continue to grow and prosper as a diverse community, that we also focus on sports because sports bring kids together.”

Former Seahawks wide receiver and former U.S. Representative from Oklahoma’s first congressional district, Steve Largent, said playing sports is also a good way for kids to stay on the right track in life.

“I think so, absolutely, you know it doesn’t work for everybody, but I think it works for a lot of people,” Largent said. “So that’s what I always think, sports is a great innovator, encourager, it’s a great way to engage other people, and so I really endorse it.”

The event cost $100 per ticket and featured a silent auction and a regular auction, with all proceeds going toward the Auburn and Federal Way school district sports programs. The event also included a buffet-style breakfast, which was enjoyed by the many athletes in attendance from Auburn and Federal Way. Former Seahawks wide receiver and Kiro 7 news anchor Steve Raible hosted the live auction.

“This event helps so many people, specifically young athletes in the south county area. For those of us who have ever played sports, we know how important that kind of support is,” Raible said.

Largent shared how sports were an integral part of his life because he didn’t have a good home life, so he just focused on sports.

“I never would’ve imagined that I would’ve done any of those things coming out of high school. I was a kid in high school, and really, this is a message for a lot of you guys here. I didn’t make good grades, and I didn’t care. My mom was divorced, she got remarried, my stepfather was an alcoholic, and my life at home was not good,” Largent said. “The only thing really that was good in my life was my sports.”

Largent said he ended up getting a scholarship to play football at the University of Tulsa, which was when he decided to take his grades seriously. He said he ended up with a 3.2 grade point average and a degree in biology. Largent then shared with the group wisdom about how being competitive because of sports was a positive in his life, but it could also be a negative.

“Some people are too competitive and think that’s what life is all about, but that’s not what life is all about. But it can help you improve your game, whether it’s baseball, football, or politics or whatever,” Largent said. Raible and Largent went on to talk sports for the rest of the conversation, and then they answered some questions. Polishing off the night, Raible auctioned off some more items, including a Seahawks football from 1983 with signatures from active players that year.

Student-athletes and others serve themselves breakfast at the Scholar-Athlete Breakfast.

Student-athletes and others serve themselves breakfast at the Scholar-Athlete Breakfast.

Steve Raible auctioning off a Seahawks football from 1983.

Steve Raible auctioning off a Seahawks football from 1983.