FanPost

Seattle isn't our Home, It's the Motherland.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Passion and Noise are two words often associated those who call themselves '12s'. From August to January those who fill the seats at CenturyLink Field, the berm on the shores of Lake Washington at VMAC, all come and enjoy the experience of being a Seahawks fan.

But it's a drum thumped from much further afield as well.

For most Sunday evenings in the South West London borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, a dozen souls sit, holler and cheer every snap in a local pub. Over 4,500 miles away from Seattle, the UK chapter of the Seahawks fans use as base/HQ for meet ups to watch the games, discuss the intricacies of a camp holdout and just how blooming brilliant it is that Jimmy Graham is now a Seahawk.

It was a pub which was full to the rafters last January when Jermaine Kearse sealed the comeback for the ages v Green Bay, as seen below

The President of the chapter, Ian Smith, takes on what the UK Chapter does:

"The UK chapter is the glue which holds the Seahawks 'nation' in Europe together. In the last 18 months membership numbers have doubled. From Iceland in the west to Nepal in the east have found their way onto the Facebook group (which at time of writing has 922 members)."

"We recently lost the German contingent of the chapter as they set up their own Germany-based group and have now attained 'Chapter status'. All through the power of Facebook."

Past the occasional meet ups in the Royal Borough are common conversations on every move, meme and video that is Seahawsk relevant on the well-manned group on Facebook.

Those on the British side of the Atlantic contribute- with many others- to the website SeahawkBlue.com. It's via that site which many find their route to a game.

This October those trips hit a milestone. When the Seahawks welcome Cam Newton and the Panthers are greeted by a theater of noise and confusion. A good few will be in attendance having come together for one thing.

That is Motherland.

Since 2005 the democratic group on the website, which serves as the anchor the various fan chapters exist around, vote on a game to attend en masse. This year sees many set to make the trip -- with 30 members of the UK Chapter in particular -- making the 4,700 mile trip for a weekend none of us can wait for or put into words to describe in a post-mortem.

But this isn't a case of 'bandwagon jumpers'. As Ian and so many others can attest to, this is a long-held affiliation and feeling of belonging to these Seahawks. One other is Nick Catephores, now based in Brussels is a veteran of Motherland trips and explains what saw him become a 12.

"I've been a Seahawks fan for 33 years. From when I was 13 or 14 years old. It was when the sport first aired over here- then on Channel 4. Popular teams then were Green Bay or Washington, but I wanted to choose one of the newer teams. I became hooked through the on-field action and the sport before I did with soccer- otherwise I may have been a NY Giants fan!"

The long-held affinity is common theme amongst some in the number. But also sees a number added to the ranks when the newest wave in popularity hit the sport in Europe/UK. Yours truly was part of that number (2004ish) and watching the games, particularly the later ones fit into the student culture I was wrapped up in when studying. Staying up until 4am met meeting deadlines well and drew me in.

The second wave of popularity also saw some make their first trips. For Dean Galione that wave wrapped him up and would lead to a unlikely spout of fame amongst UK Seahawk fans.

Despite following the sport since the 1980's, like Ian and Nick, via spotty radio and TV signals. Dean made his first trip to Seattle in 2005. But when the Seahawks made their historic Superbowl run two years ago, Dean witnessed every step. Some moments caught him, while he caught an important part of the run. He recalled:

"I took a risk in December and booked a 10-day trip to Seattle in the hope of seeing the Divisional and Conference Title games. It was incredible. I also found myself in the rafters of Meadowlands as the season ended in those glorious circumstances."

But it was that NFC title game which lives most vividly for Dean...

"I was lucky to have a friend who had front row seats and I put the banner (the Chapter boasts a very impressive Union Sea-Jack with the red, white and blue colour scheme replaced with Neon Green and the Seahawk logo). It was the game between two great teams and the Sherman Leap was just a case of being in the right place at the right time."

The 'leap' Dean refers to is immediately at the game's final moment Richard Sherman runs and jumps into the masses. There to catch him and be front and slightly-off-center on every picture of that moment? Dean, all the way from Clacton-on-Sea in Esssex to the front page of many Seattle publications, websites and serves as the picture accompanying this article.

"My phone, emails, Facebook went beserk for days afterwards. I was privleged to have that experience."

Dean- with a big birthday approaching- has one last hope for that moment:

"I'd love to meet Richard, talk about that moment, that game and maybe get that signed as a gift. This is me dropping a hint to anyone reading!"

The chapter's growth is shown by the numbers attending this year's trip. It sees people strike up relationships and a sense of belonging that is a treat for those lucky enough to have taken in a game at CenturyLink/Qwest or the Kingdome. It's a sense of family that is as appreciated as it is warm. It's also a route of joining a fandom unlike any other.

Adam Nathan is one of the 30 making the trip this October who says the city was his way 'in' as he explains:

"My aunt moved to Seattle in the mid nineties, and I've got plenty of friends in the city after a gap year programme, from a U.S. sporting perspective, I've always followed everything Seattle."

"My first game was October 2012 against Minnesota. I happened to meet Russell Wilson a few days before the game in a restaurant, and he spent about fifteen minutes talking to me, which was just incredible. Also made it much easier for me to root and hope he succeeded."

Like Dean, Adam has had a brush with getting himself seen or heard. When, a clever bit of pre-emptive booking saw Adam in the area for the Superbowl victory. He made his way into Downtown for the victory parade and celebrations which greeted the newest Superbowl champions.

"I ended up in Jimmy's on first where Dave 'Softy' Mahler was recording his show. Having had a brief chat with him during an ad break, he put me on for a segment to talk about the UK fanbase. During the chat he invited me to join him at a game- something he followed through on last November."

It was a trip for Adam which saw him meet a few other UK chapter members and Seahawks fans -yours truly included.

But with the sport continuing to grow, Motherland X being on the horizon and another trip ready to be undertaken a sense of excitement is palpable when you speak to anyone making that trip. Excitement bought through past experiences and just the greeting we all receive in the Seattle area from the moment we arrive, to gameday and to our unwelcome- for us anyway- departures.

When speaking to Ian, Nick, Dean and Adam and also going off of personal experiences, its a universal theme of appreciation for those of you who open your arms for us.

As Nick, who, with Motherland his 16th Seahawks game puts it:

"The sense of bonding that the Seattle/Washington State community has with the team. The feeling that we don't go to CLink just to watch a football game, but to participate in it."

Participating in something big, something tight knit. Adam summises:

"What with my family, friends and now the team, I feel a real connection to the city."

Never is that sense as palpable in the current run up and then the actual event of Motherland. This summer has seen a evolution of the group and its purpose with well attended meets in Manchester and Birmingham.

But with Motherland the final word is left to the Chapter President to perfectly wrap what it means and is to us those watching those boys in blue and neon green getting the chance to see games 'live' instead of working through the early hours of a Friday, Monday or Tuesday nights.

"As a SeahawkBlue member put it, Motherland is all about family"

So when you are around the city in that weekend in October and if you hear an unfamilar accent coming from the bars on King Street or one of the tailgates on gameday. Or even if you are spare a few hours on the Saturday evening. Come over, talk, we'll be as happy to talk Seahawks with you as you are inquisitive.

We also, all, belong to the Seahawks.

If you want to join the group on Facebook- link is here