There was one diehard Seattle Seahawks post-game gathering Sunday in Tacoma that didn’t celebrate at a bar or restaurant televising the game.
“All of the sudden everyone just knew,” organizer Tara Scheidt said. “We won; we had to get to the bridge.”
The tradition that started as a Seahawks-inspired family photo a year ago brought about 50 Eastsiders from the Dome Top neighborhood to the D Street overpass of Interstate 5, where they welcomed home South Sound fans after the team beat the Green Bay Packers in overtime to secure a spot in the Super Bowl.
The get-together didn’t take much planning. The regulars have waved their Seahawks paraphernalia amid a chorus of honks after other games this season, too, as well as the Fridays before. They know the drill.
Jose Chavez was celebrating at his house about a mile away, tearing up in joy with friends, watching quarterback Russell Wilson do the same on TV, when he realized where he needed to be.
His wife had to take the car, but that didn’t stop Chavez from sprinting to the celebration, which he’s been a part of since Scheidt started the gatherings.
“I haven’t run in years, to be honest with you,” he said. But that didn’t stop him either. “There’s nothing more than representing T-town, having fun, showing the love, you know? It was an unbelievable comeback.”
Some fans pulled over to join the bridge crowd, sharing stories of being at the game. Scheidt said her husband was one of them; he got lots of hugs when he arrived.
Their family is at the heart of the overpass celebrations.
After the Seahawks defeated New Orleans to clinch a spot in the NFC Championship Game last season, family members were taking a photo in their Seahawks gear at McKinley Park. Drivers started honking, and they headed to the bridge for fun. Now they have a loyal following that joins them. Scheidt helps rally the followers through the Facebook page for the business she and her husband own, an apparel company called Ambition Drive.
Her two daughters, 6 and 9, join in. The 9-year-old in particular is a diehard fan, accusing every driver who doesn’t honk as supporting the rival team, Scheidt said.
Tara Scheidt’s mother, Lynnette Scheidt, has lived in the neighborhood for 42 years, and said it’s an easy bunch to rally.
“We believe it can happen again; isn’t that crazy?” she said of the team’s Super Bowl bid. “The way the coach is, he has such compassion for his guys. We have that same caring, compassionate feeling for our neighbors.”
South Sounders can bet the group will have a presence after the game Feb. 1, but they’re thinking bigger. Maybe the Tacoma Narrows Bridges, or the steps by the Museum of Glass.
“It’s how we do in Tacoma,” Tara Scheidt said.