"Just do things right. That should be our slogan. Do things right. If you do things right, you're all right with him. He's happy, you're happy and we're winning." "

-- Seattle Seahawk Shawn Springs

Training Camp 1999
Has Arrived!

And the first report is in!! My on-line friend, Karyn, has already gone to training camp and has sent me this report! You might remember Karyn from her stories and pictures the last two years! For those of us who live miles and miles from Cheney, it's reports like these that get up pumped for the season!

© Karyn Christner, 1999
Finally!! Training Camp has started. Today, as you know, was the first day. We've never made a morning practice but since we've got such a busy week ahead of us, we knew if we didn't go this morning, we couldn't go until next week... so we got up early and headed out to Cheney. The weather is gorgeous and not as hot as it can be. The sun beats down unmercifully tho! That didn't seem to bother the crowds; there must have been 700 people there! It was so great watching them on the field again! The defense had some drills that looked excruciating! They laid 4 bumpers down, about a yard long and curb-size height and had to run up and backwards between them. Then they'd line up in the middle of them and a coach would stand in front of them and move the ball one way or the other and they'd have to follow it while skipping over these bumpers. They looked very agile, especially for as big as they are... And maybe it's just wishful thinking, but they seemed very lean for defensive players. Even Tez looked fitter than I've seen him! The offense was having some trouble catching balls, but I'm sure it was just opening day jitters! It elicited the only disparaging remark I heard all day. "There's the Seahawks we know," in a very sarcastic tone. Grrrr! Actually the crowd seemed pretty subdued. No real cheering, just alot of rapt attention! I kept forgetting to look for Holmgren and then suddenly it seemed he was everywhere I looked. And that's all he was doing... looking. He made notes on a clipboard every now and then, putting lines through names as somebody put it. He's TALL! They were talking about that on the news last night and I'd never really noticed, but he really is tall! And it's so much fun to have him talking about the Seahawks on the news and be out there on the field! Well, what can I say? I'm so excited to have him be our coach!! This year FOR SURE! We had to leave before the autographing started, but they were setting up the fence for it, so I'm sure it happened. How could it not??! Anyway, I'll keep you posted.

We went to the Seahawks Extravaganza yesterday in Cheney. EWU is a pretty campus. It's small, of course, but it's got a commons area with a water fountain and brick sidewalks. The buildings aren't too institutionalized looking, if you know what I mean. They had a big barbecue set up. You could get a burger (with cheese & a very thin slice of ham) or a german sausage, with chips, watermelon (which they were out of by the time we got there, so we had cantaloupe), brownie and a soda for $5! They had canoes set up as condiment stations and one full of ice for the sodas. It was very clever... There were a few booths set up... the Seahawkers were there, of course. Mostly it was EWU Alumni stuff and the Army was also there. They had a tank and a humvee and a jeep and a this and a that. The kids could climb around in them. But the highlight was this helicopter. We'd been by it earlier and looked at it. It was cool. But the next time we walked past it, it was whirling and about to take off. It was windy, as you can imagine, but nothing compared to what it was like when it lifted off. A true rush, literally!! (This is happening in the field between the Commons and Woodward Field.) The boys went over to the Kid's stuff so they could get their t-shirt while Craig and I went over to the field for the scrimmage. Woodward Field is the stadium and they practice behind the field house in two big fields. The stands were full!! We sat at the 10 yard line or so, but had a great view. It was like being at a real game with a real enthusiastic crowd! Loved it! And the team looked so good! Really! I'm not just saying this, or just wishing this, but they are so limber and lean and fast!! Watching their warm-ups was incredible. I don't think I was that flexible when I was 10!! And I know I said it before, but the defense looks lean! (I mean that in a good way!)

The announcer was from Seattle's radio station that broadcasts the games and he was wonderful. He explained everything about the warm-ups and the various things defensive players do versus what the offensive players might do. It was pretty interesting. They go off into groups and do other things. (I know this sounds vague, but it's hard to describe what they do... you had to be there...) Then they started playing! Kitna's great!! He's just so confident and calm. He stands there and throws all those catchable balls. And the defense didn't seem to be cutting him any slack! They were in his face (again, in a nice way) and he doesn't seem to notice! He threw for 236 yards, with 17 of 23 completed! (Okay, I've got the newspaper in front of me!) Fauria was all over the place. Actually, there were several great catches. Robert Wilson (who?) made one of those "giving-up-my-body" catches in the end zone. At the end they set up 4th quarter scenarios. You're on the 35-yd. line with 1:40 on the clock, one timeout and you need to score a TD to win the game. Kitna got us to the 10 yard line in about a minute and never used the timeout. They finally scored from the 2, with 30 seconds remaining. Foley had no luck. I don't even know if he crossed the 50. Huard got down to the 10 yard line and had to call a timeout because he didn't know the play. Holmgren, who stayed behind them, on the field the whole game, was NOT happy. He also didn't score.

I think the players were really psyched and felt like they were in a real game because of the phenomenal crowd! The paper says there were 8,752 of us!! (The record for the stadium is 6,879!!) They sure played like their hearts were in it, and I'm so excited for this season to start I can't stand it!!

Afterwards, they did the autograph thing. The players, as usual, were so gracious and pleasant. And the kids can be brats... screaming your name and asking for your wristband or your towel. Christian Fauria (bless his heart) was saying to one kid, "Gimme, gimme, gimme. It's always gimme, gimme, gimme. Doesn't anyone say please?" But even then he was saying it in a friendly manner and no one was insulted!

Well, we went out to Cheney again. We went to the morning practice today. We got there a little bit late and really all we saw was the scaled down scrimmage. Each qb would take turns throwing, and they did some hurry up offenses. Holmgren was out there yelling at them to "Hurry Up! You have to get lined up faster than that!" Kitna was struggling today. I hope he's not trying too hard!

We hung around for autographs, but didn't try for any. I did sneak a picture with Shawn Springs while he was signing for a kid next to me. My favorite line came from rookie, Jamie Kohl. When he was asked to give his gloves away, he said "I only get one pair a week!" The patience of these guys is amazing... kids just yelling at them... and Holmgren too. He didn't sign any autographs (he only does that at afternoon sessions) but I watched him sit for 3 different newscast interviews. I also watched Kitna ... his body language spoke volumes ... he didn't want to be there in that chair. He was all hunched over and looking so uncomfortable. Actually, he's usually very poised on the air, so maybe it was just my imagination.

The weather was perfect! Sunny but not too hot. We're very close to Fairchild Air Force Base and they were doing some "fly thing" and the sky was full of vapor trails. That was pretty cool. There were a lot of kids today. A couple of busses were in the parking lot just full of kids... but there were only a couple hundred people watching the practice.

I hate that we only have one more week of camp!! Not that I'm not anxious for the season to start, but I don't want them to leave!!

Well, it was so cool meeting Holmgren... that I forgot to even mention my "encounter" with Pete Rodriguez. We were standing watching the players autograph (just minutes before our Holmgren Encounter) and Pete Rodriguez walked by and I bowed my head and said "Mr. Rodriguez." He smiled and waved, as he kept walking. And then we walked away and met Mike! (Yeah, I call him Mike...) I don't think I remembered to tell you he was in a golf cart! And then last night on the news they showed him driving off on his Harley.