In 1920 professional football was born — and so was Elta Lewis.
In her later years, Lewis has grown into a rabid fan of the Seattle Seahawks. Her wall at Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community is plastered with newspaper clippings and other Seahawks memorabilia.
But in all that time, the longtime Olympia resident had never been to a pro football game.
That will change Sunday, when Lewis will see the first-place Seahawks play the St. Louis Rams at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field — and surprise! She found out Thursday she gets field passes to visit the sidelines before the important game, which will determine playoff seeding for the Seahawks.
“Isn’t that something?” Lewis said right after she found out. “Will we get to meet the players?”
It’s a dream come true for Lewis, who made an idle comment about wanting to see a game in person to Denise Cooksey, who works at the retirement community in West Tacoma. Cooksey is a season ticket holder and got the ball rolling after she heard Lewis’ request.
Lewis wasn’t always a Seahawks fan. When her husband, Mark, watched Seahawk games, she wondered why he bothered.
“I said, ‘Why are you watching? They lose all the time,’’’ she recalled.
Her husband died 14 years ago, and in the time since, the team has grown on her.
“The Seahawks are finally winning,” Lewis said.
A large group gathers in Tacoma Lutheran’s chapel whenever Seahawk games are on, but Lewis doesn’t like going there because people talk during the game.
Instead, she watches the ‘Hawks from her room — along with anyone else with the good sense to keep quiet.
But instead of her room this weekend, Lewis will be on the sidelines and in her seat during the team’s last regular-season game. Lewis said she’s still trying to take it all in.
“I’ve never had anything surprising happen,” Lewis said. “I just want them to win so bad.”
Kristine Grant, the community relations director at Tacoma Lutheran, said fulfilling resident dreams is something staff occasionally do. One man who always wanted to live on a boat was taken on a sailing expedition. A woman who’d always wanted to sing in front of a crowd got her wish, too.
Lewis’ favorite Seahawk players are running back Marshawn Lynch, “because he scores all of the touchdowns,” and quarterback Russell Wilson, because of his volunteerism.
It took her only one word to describe what she wants most out of Sunday’s game.