- Posted February 2, 2014 by
Night of the Twelfth Man
There is a rare and exciting phenomenon gripping Seattle right now. Seattle's professional sports teams do not often go the distance, historically speaking, but tonight is the eve of the Seahawks' second-ever Super Bowl appearance.
Football fans are of course going insane. But what is really amazing is the excitement that the city in general is experiencing. Non-football fans cannot help but get caught up in the enthusiasm, and almost the entire city is abuzz.
Fans of the Seattle Seahawks call themselves The Twelfth Man, meaning that each and every one of them is the vital extra member of the eleven-member squad, who plays from the stands. The term originated in the early twentieth century, used by the University of Minnesota, Texas A&M University, and the University of Iowa. Trademarked but largely forgotten by Texas A&M, it was brought back into use by the Seattle Seahawks and their fanbase, although other NFL teams have also used it. An out of court settlement between the Seattle franchise and the Texas university allows the Seahawks to use the phrase '12th man', with recognition that A&M holds the trademark.
The number twelve is everywhere. You see the flags waving from passing cars. Probably the most visible and iconic flag flies high above the city, atop the Space Needle and illuminated by a massive spotlight shining up to the heavens. And it sometimes seems as if half the populace is wearing Seahawks jerseys emblazoned with the number.
And tonight, it is being projected across Denny Way, in the Cascadia neighborhood.
Rick Hale, a fifteen-year veteran at designing and producing laser and LED displays set up shop on a dark side street to project Seahawks pride onto an unused billboard and the blank side of a building. Mounted atop tall tripods, the two projectors which Mr. Hale designed and built himself each shoot blue and green lasers (in Seahawks colors) safely overhead for the two blocks to their urban canvases.
Mr. Hale, of Slick Lasers, is not affiliated with the Seahawks organization. Tonight, he set up his display merely for fun and to help show pride for his city.