It started not as a whim, but a reward.
Dave Palm had earned his first Masters in computer science, and he decided that he was going to attend every one of Seattle’s 16 games in 2012.
“If I was ever going to do it, that was the year,” said Palm, who lives in Ballard.
And so it started right here in Arizona when Palm attended the first meaningful game Russell Wilson played for Seattle. Palm stood outside that very same stadium on Thursday night, preparing to walk in for his 101st consecutive Seattle game if you include the playoffs, which you undoubtedly should.
You might know Dave better as the Mariners Suit Guy as he’s got a custom-made suit in Seattle colors that’s pretty tough to miss. I know Dave as the guy I kept bumping into on Alaska Airlines flights, our paths crossing as we traveled all over the country.
He has flown from Seattle to Atlanta and back in the same 24-hour period. He was watched a playoff game in Minnesota where the temperature never got above 10 degrees Fahrenheit and been to a Week 2 scorcher in San Diego where it was more than 100 degrees.
He has attended every meaningful game that Russell Wilson has ever played for Seattle, become a 75K member of Alaska Airlines’ award-winning mileage program, and made more than a few friends along the way.
“I never really thought I would do this when I started,” he said. “I just kept going and it has been fun.”
He’s not alone. Not on Thursday in Arizona.
Football fans traveling to games has always been more of a college thing. The sport is more regional at that level, making driving a distinct possibility. Conference familiarity and rivalries also help stoke the passion.
But Seattle fans have brought that same fervor to the professional ranks. I haven’t just seen it, I’ve heard it as far back as 2013. Seattle fans stayed after the end of a Thursday night victory in Arizona, chanting behind the sound stage of the TV broadcast.
Of course, Palm was there. In fact, he already booked his trip to New York at the end of that season to watch the championship game. He bought his airline tickets and booked the hotel the day that Cliff Avril signed with Seattle, and while the tickets were refundable, don’t let that get in the way of an absolutely great story.
Four years later, Palm is still going on the road with Russell.