A 17-year-old high-school student from Northern California writes a letter to the Seahawks, and her favorite players, explaining why the team inspires her so much.

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Dear Seahawks:

This past Sunday was a hard one. You all put in a tremendous amount of work this season, overcoming one hurdle after another. You may not have beaten the Panthers, but you once again proved that your resolve is greater than not just any other team in the NFL, but also any other sports franchise.

Many people are saying that your reign is over, but I believe that it is just beginning. What these doubters fail to see is that you have accomplished more in just four years than what others dream of their whole careers. You are far from being done, and I know with 100 percent certainty that you will be back greater than ever next season and in the years to come.

More than anything else, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I want to thank you for this season, but also every other season. Thank you for being inspirations to your fans all across the country. As a member of the 12th Man community in Northern California, it can be hard standing my ground. Everyone around me cheers for the red and gold, but I’ve bled blue and green my whole life. Thank you for constantly reminding me that I am a part of one of the most loving, caring, and supporting teams in the world.

Coach Pete Carroll: Your energy and passion are contagious. I see you on TV every Sunday, and I am moved by your love for the game of football and everyone around you. More than that, I am moved by the dedication you have for those around you. Your invitation to Ade Lewis (a 7-year-old Seahawks fan booed by his classmates in South Carolina) is just one example of how deeply you care about everyone involved with the Seahawks. Thank you for being the person you are — you are truly my role model.

Russell Wilson: You are a tremendous athlete, and your work ethic constantly inspires me. Your optimism encourages me to always stay positive, and your self-confidence despite all of your doubters is admirable. I love watching you play, and your love for the game reflects itself in every scramble, throw, and high-five to a teammate. I am amazed by your ability to create plays, and there is truly a magic that emanates from you. Whether you are leading a huddle, speaking in a press conference, or volunteering at Seattle Children’s Hospital, you are giving a 101 percent of yourself. For that, I thank you.

Richard Sherman: Your determination and effort is evident in everything you do. You are the best at what you do, and yet you are incredibly down to earth and respectful. You were the first one to shake Tom Brady’s hand after the Super Bowl last year, and that is a mark of true and indestructible greatness. I have learned so much from you — listening to your interviews, seeing your enthusiasm on the field, and watching you help the members of your community. Thank you for showing me that a true champion never doubts himself and never allows anyone to bring him down.

Thomas Rawls: Your mental and physical toughness inspired me the first time I saw you play this season. My brother and I cheered for you all preseason, and then we were so incredibly excited to see you play in the regular season. You put in everything you had for your teammates and your fans, and you didn’t accept defeat even after you were injured. Thank you for being a fighter. I cannot wait to see you play next season.

Doug Baldwin: There is a presence about you that is unmatchable. You emanate passion, dedication and grit in everything you do. Your ability to shut out the noise and focus on yourself and your teammates inspires me on a daily basis. Whether others believe it or not, I truly believe that you are the best receiver in the NFL. I have admired you from Day 1, and I want to you thank you for your perseverance and your leadership.

Michael Bennett: Your authenticity gives me courage every day. Not only are you a phenomenal player, you are also real and always true to yourself. You don’t hide behind any mask, and you say it like it is. Thank you for teaching me the power of being confident in your own skin. Whenever you sack the quarterback or make another mind-blowing play, it becomes one of the highlights of my day.

Thank you to each and every single player on the entire Seattle Seahawks team. I wish I could thank all of you individually. When people hear me, a 17-year-old girl, constantly talking about a football team, they sometimes look at me like I’m an alien. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Your stories, both as individuals and as a team, have lifted me up through the rough patches in my life. You have overcome so many obstacles with unwavering faith and a determination to come back stronger, and for that I will forever respect you.

Thank you for giving me something to look forward to every week during football season, and thank you for giving me people to look up to everyday of every year.

I hope that one day I can meet you, cheer for you at CenturyLink Field, and express my gratitude in person. I am truly honored to call myself a 12th Man. I’m counting down the days until next season, and I can’t wait to see you play again.

Your fan for life,

Pooja Goel

 

Pooja Goel  is a 17-year-old senior at Castilleja High School in Menlo Park, Calif., who grew up watching the Seahawks play with her family and hasn’t missed a game for as long as she can remember. “My whole family gathers around the TV on game day, and we cheer for the Seahawks together,” she said. “They never fail to bring a smile to my face.”

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