Sammamish’s 12th men join celebration

February 14, 2014

By Ari Cetron

New: Feb. 14, 11:15 a.m.

Jill Loveland and her son Jack spent the morning and afternoon of Feb. 5 with 700,000 of their closest friends, cheering for the Seattle Seahawks during their Super Bowl victory parade.

“It really was just so inspiring,” Loveland said. “Most of the time, when you have a gathering like that, it’s for a tragic event.”

Loveland, of Sammamish, had planned to go with a group of others earlier in the week, but as time went by, more and more people dropped out.

By the time Wednesday rolled around, it was down to Loveland and her son Jack, a first-grader.

Loveland said she had a little talk with Jack, explaining that he wouldn’t get to miss school every time something fun happened, but this moment was historic.

“I’m so glad that I did pull him out of school,” she said.

Teresa Dofredo, of Sammamish, also made the trek down with some family members to be part of the historic moment.

“There will never ever be a first win again,” she said via email. “And the feeling when your favorite players come by like (Richard) Sherman or (Russell) Wilson or (Marshawn) “Beast Mode” (Lynch). Amazing.”

They were far from the only people from the area who made the trek to Seattle.

The Lake Washington School District reported 7,026 of its 26,222 students – about 27 percent – were absent Feb. 5.

This time of year, absences are usually around 7.5 to 8 percent, said Kathryn Rieth, Lake Washington’s communications director.

In the Issaquah School District, 5,329 students were missing (29 percent of its 18,287 enrollment), said Lorraine Michelle, executive director of communications. On a typical day, it’s closer to 3-4 percent absent, she said.

Loveland said she didn’t encounter many people on the way to the parade, since she left home at about 6:45 a.m. and breezed through traffic into Seattle until she hit a backup behind a disabled bus.

Eventually, she made her way down to CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field, and found some parking.

She and Jack took a stroll through sub-freezing temperatures near the stadiums and north a bit into Pioneer Square.

The atmosphere was jubilant, people were cheering everywhere she went, and a call and response of “Sea-Hawks” often broke out spontaneously.

“It was really amazing. Everyone had on Seahawks something. Everyone was in really good spirits,” she said.

And everyone seemed to be on their best behavior. Seattle police reported no arrests, in spite of a crowd that was more than 10 percent larger than the city’s population of 635,000.

“Such a classy city with all those people and hardly any problems,” Dofredo said.

While only season-ticket holders were able to get into the celebration at CenturyLink Field, Loveland was among those to score a pair of seats at Safeco.

She and her son went back to the stadium, where there would at least be bathrooms, hot cocoa and seats.

“Cold, cold seats,” she said.

From there, she and her son were able to watch the parade from the jumbo scoreboard screen.

“Everyone was huddled in the seats that were in the sun,” she said.

She tried to walk around and find a vantage point to see the parade without the aid of the screen, but spots were at a premium. People in the crowd who weren’t right up front weren’t likely to be able to see much.

Dofredo watched from the street and still found the day amazing.

“A day to remember for the rest of our lives, and we didn’t even go in the stadiums,” she said.

As the parade wound down, Loveland and her son made the trek back to the plateau, after a quick stop for a Seahawks doughnut.

“It was a huge celebration,” Loveland said. “It was great.”

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