David Moody has long known that his Crown Hill neighborhood is a hotbed of Seahawks fever, even when folks are just at home watching an away game on TV.
“Every time there’s a touchdown or something else good happens on the field, we all open our doors and yell at each other,” said Moody.
So it seemed only natural that this enthusiasm could be channeled to form one of the newest chapters of the Sea Hawkers Booster Club, a team-affiliated network of 47 clubs that reaches across the country and even into Europe.
In the flurry of stats that have accompanied the Seahawks’ success in recent years, here’s one you probably haven’t seen: Membership in the Sea Hawkers’ clubs has quadrupled, from 2,077 in 2010 to the 8,439 in 2014.
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Members pay dues of $15 a year and gather in their own “tailgate” area in Touchdown City, adjacent to the stadium, before home games — showing off their wild Seahawks green-and-blue hair, bird faces, hard hats, beads and other regalia. They can also attend an annual Sea Hawkers banquet and see a Seahawks highlight video.
But the greatest satisfaction, according to Gene Hushak, of Auburn, comes from taking part in charitable activities, some connected to the team or the players, and some arranged by the individual clubs.
“Twice a year, we go fix breakfast for kids and their families at Ronald McDonald House,” said Hushak. “When you see what some of these kids are going through, your own problems can seem pretty insignificant.”
Hushak is a member of a Renton-based chapter and is also president of the Sea Hawkers Central Council, which coordinates the work of the clubs and provides their connection to the team.
Moody, who heads the 1-year-old Northwest Seattle Sea Hawkers, said its members put in 7,131 hours of volunteer service last year on projects ranging from food drives to school fundraisers to Special Olympics coaching to staffing visitor events at Seahawks training camp.
Some members of the Northwest Seattle club, Moody said, have had a chance to meet wide receiver Doug Baldwin or Beverly Sherman (mother of cornerback Richard Sherman), who help out on charitable causes.
“When you meet these people that you only read about, you see they aren’t just celebrities. These are really grounded people, committed to their community,” Moody said.
Although Moody, 52, is a new Sea Hawker, he’s not a new fan. He traces his allegiance to his Seattle childhood and remembers wrapping hot dogs at a Kingdome concession stand during his years at O’Dea High School.
Last year, his chapter met monthly at Restaurante Michoacan in Crown Hill. This year it will alternate meetings there with sessions at a Shoreline restaurant, Jersey’s Great Food & Spirits, since the group includes many who live north of Seattle.
Mike Flood, Seahawks VP for community outreach, said the Sea Hawkers form “the nucleus of our official army of ‘12s.’ ”
“Since their inception in 1976, the Sea Hawkers Booster Clubs have played an integral role in supporting the team and charities in their own communities all year long,” Flood said.
Club members have provided volunteer staff for youth camps organized by Seahawks players, he said. And Sea Hawkers in other parts of the country often organize rallies when the team is coming to their area.
The newest batch of nine Sea Hawkers chapters includes several in the Puget Sound area, but also three in Texas and one in Germany.
The German club is headed by Stuttgart-area resident Max Lange, 22, who got hooked on NFL football when he saw a game live in London in 2012.
Although the Seahawks didn’t play in that game, Lange met a Londoner who had started a Sea Hawkers chapter in England. Lange has since traveled to Seattle to see four games at CenturyLink Field, including this season’s victories over the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants.
Inside Touchdown City in the hours leading up to kickoff, the Sea Hawkers show up in some of the most elaborate get-ups, including the colorful rooster head worn by Nick Goins, of Everett, a member of Snohomish County Sea Hawkers.
Goins takes pride in his powerful voice and said, “What I’d like, ultimately, is to be the official ‘12th Man’ cheerleader. I know that sounds like a lofty goal, but I think I can do it.”
He has worked on Sea Hawkers projects, including a Toys for Tots campaign in Everett. “It’s a lot of really nice people trying to do some good,” he said.
Jack Broom: firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-464-2222