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Fun, friends and football
The ultimate fan finds the ultimate game in Seahawks championship
By Dennis Box
Cannonball and his friends know how to get ready for football, especially Seahawk National Football Conference championship football.
Cannonball, in his other life, is known as Brad Carter, a six-year resident of Bonney Lake. At every home game Carter and a group of ultimate football fans gather to put on their super fan costumes, go to the game and go nuts cheering for the Seahawks.
After Sunday's 34-14 Seahawk victory at Qwest Field over the Carolina Panthers, sending the Hawks into the Super Bowl Feb. 5 in Detroit, coach Mike Holmgren and every other player who approached a microphone, thanked their 12th man, the fans.
At the top of the fan list is Cannonball, Mr. and Mrs. Seahawk, (De De and Jeff Schumaier of Auburn), Painted Hawk (Bruce McMillan of Fife), and Kilt Man (Neil Hart of Everett).
For Sunday's game, Carter was up and going at 5 a.m. and by 7 a.m. he was at Mr. and Mrs. Seahawks' house putting on his face paint.
The 39-year-old Carter said he has been a fan since 1979, but the evolution to the ultimate fan face he wears today started in the Kingdome.
“Painted Hawk and I started in 1998,” Carter said. “We painted our faces silver and wore Santa hats.”
Carter said he used a wig and painted face for a while, but went to the helmet when the Seahawks moved to Husky Stadium because of the wind and rain.
At the game, the fans sit together in “the birdcage” in the south end zone, although sitting is not really part of the plan.
“I'm standing the whole game,” Carter said “If someone says ‘down in front,' we yell ‘Up in back!'”
Cannonball's dedication was recognized in 2004 when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Seahawk, who were married on the 50-yard line in the Kingdome, and Kilt Man were also inducted. Mrs. Seahawk in 2001, Mr. Seahawk 2002 and Kilt man in 2003.
The costumes, cheering and game translate into friends all over the country and world.
Carter said he meets other ultimate fans from across the county like Nickette Hogette from the Washington Redskins and Spike from the Oakland Raiders.
“You have to drink with Spike to understand him,” Carter said.
At Sunday's NFC championship game Carter said a fan from England was joining the group.
Cannonball and Painted Hawk met Mr. and Mrs. Seahawk at the Kingdome.
“We met each other walking down by the Kingdome, then we all went to San Diego for a road game and we hit it off,” Carter said. “Now we are best friends.”
Friends, fun and an NFC championship - it doesn't get any better.
Dennis Box can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.