Yesterday I got to make some headway on one of the most ambitious items on my life list (#21) – I attended a Seattle Seahawks home game at Century Link field with my oldest friend Melinda, her husband Henry and his mother.
It was a special occasion. Not only were we attending the game to celebrate Mel’s 30th birthday, it also happens to be the one day of the year that Melinda and Henry agree to put their marriage on hold – the day her beloved Chicago Bears square off against his Seahawks.
In support of my friend on her birthday, I even agreed to put aside my hardcore loyalty to the Dallas Cowboys and support the Bears alongside her. Much to my mother’s dismay, I even wore a Bears shirt (though I like to think it is also a nod to one of my favorite SNL sketches – see below).
I knew it was risky entering a notoriously rowdy stadium in support of the visiting team, but I figured we were with two Seahawks fans who would defend us if shit went down. Plus I was already several beers in from our hours of pre-gaming at a nearby Seahawks bar, so I was feeling pretty good.
As we filed into the stadium along with the hoardes donning blue and green, I asked Henry where our seats were. He casually handed me my ticket and said, “the Hawk’s Nest.”
My stomach lurched.
I knew the Hawk’s Nest. If you’ve followed the NFL at all in the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard of it too. It’s the section at Century Link above the North end zone where the most die-hard Seahawks fans sit.
And it gets LOUD.
How loud? In late 2013, the fans at a Seattle Seahawks game broke the Guinness World Record for loudest crowd roar at an outdoor stadium with 137.6 decibels.
Just to give you a sense of scale, that is as loud as a jet engine at 100 feet.
When I read that bit of news a couple of years ago, I remember wondering what the fuss was about. After all, I’d been to see my beloved Dallas Cowboys play a few times and witnessed my fellow fans going crazy for our boys in blue. I thought I knew the impact of a frenzied crowd. It couldn’t be that much louder at the Clink.
But after my first 20 minutes in the Hawk’s Nest, I realized I was completely wrong. Clearly, I hadn’t heard loud.
This stadium was built so that the roars of the crowd cause the very foundations to vibrate. Though it’s the smallest NFL stadium by footprint, Century Link still packs in 67,000 people into a very dense space, all tiered in steep rows that seem to hover right above the field.
It’s an ear-splitting energy that rocks you to your core.
It makes it almost impossible for the opposing team to hear plays called across the field, giving the Seahawks a solid home advantage. I couldn’t even hold a conversation with the person next to me during the game. I’ve never experienced anything like it!
And I have to give the Seahawks fans even more credit – they were incredibly kind to Melinda and I, despite being dressed in Bears gear on their home turf. They were polite, let us cheer for our team (however quietly) and even offered their condolences when Chicago managed to go the entire game without scoring a single point. The Seahawks trounced them 26 to 0. Yikes.
Though I will never swear allegiance to any other team besides the Cowboys, the entire experience was amazing. That is, apart from the drunken and dazed state I was in when I arrived at the airport for my red-eye to Dallas last night. I have a newfound respect for all you Seahawks fans out there.
I don’t think my ear drums will recover for weeks!