Pete Carroll, Seahawks share experiences from Marysville-Pilchuck visit
It might have been an awe-inspiring experience for the kids, but Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said welcoming the Marysville-Pilchuck High School football team to practice at team headquarters was “an amazing experience” for his team as well.
“A bunch of our guys jumped up to come out and meet them, coaches were all there, and people from the third floor (front office) in the building all were there to greet them. It was an amazing experience to feel their gratitude,” Carrol said about Tuesday’s visit to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center.
“They were most grateful for the opportunity to be here. Obviously, the Seahawks are a big deal to them, and to see them react to Richard Sherman coming out and they see Earl Thomas and see all the guys, Bobby Wagner, those guys all greet them and shaking hands and taking pictures and having fun with them, it was tremendous.”
Carroll and the Seahawks invited both Marysville-Pilchuck and rival Oak Harbor to work out at the facility after last Friday’s shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School. Oak Harbor forfeited a scheduled game between the two teams and conceded second place following the shooting.
“As always is the case, both sides receive a lot out of that kind of exchange. Our guys were really moved by their energy and their enthusiasm,” Carroll said as he recounted the visit during his regular Wednesday press conference. “They have a lot of responsibility on them in that they’re kind of carrying the spirit for their area. They’re somewhat of a rallying point, I would think, and they’re really up for the challenge. Coach (Brandon) Carson seemed to have those guys disciplined and tuned in, it was really, really exciting to see.”
Sherman was among the Seahawks who greeted the players with hugs and spoke with them after their workout.
“It was incredibly unique. You can never picture yourself in that position,” he said. “You can sympathize with them to a degree, but you’ve never been in their shoes, so at that point, you just want to do anything you can to help them forget about that moment, to help them kind of live in the present, live in this moment and experience a little joy. Whatever you can do to help them feel a little bit of joy and to just zone out for a minute, because when you have a tragedy like that, you want to do anything to get your mind off of it,” Sherman said.
“It was cool to see them smile,” said linebacker Bobby Wagner. “They’ve been through a lot these last couple of days, so just giving them an opportunity to not necessarily have to think about that and just kind of take their focus off of that, even if it was just for 30 minutes or an hour, it was a great feeling.”
“Seeing them smile, man. Seeing them get excited about practice, go out there with a lot of energy, and just helping them take their mind off of something so tragic, for however long it was, was a great feeling,” Wagner added.
Asked what he took from it, Sherman said, “I think it brought me joy. It brings you joy to see yourself being able to change someone’s day like that; to bring a smile to somebody’s day who has obviously been frowning and crying and having a lot of sadness; just to be able to change the momentum of their day for a little bit, to make them smile, to make them happy, to bring them a little bit of joy.”
Receiver Doug Baldwin, who also had plenty of hugs and handshakes for the players and posed for a number of pictures, said it was an important opportunity for the kids and Seahawks alike.
“For me, I’ve got a 12-year-old brother, and the thing I think about a lot is that you can’t take for granted the time you can spend with him or the time you can take to talk to him. Just appreciating the people you have around you, loved ones, family members, friends, because anything can happen. Obviously it’s a devastating tragedy, but it just makes you appreciate those you care about more.”
Oak Harbor is expected to practice at VMAC later this week. Both Marysville and Oak Harbor have playoff games this weekend.