While most of America was paying attention to the players on the field at the Super Bowl last weekend, something else captured my attention: The 12th Man.
If you don’t know who the 12th Man is by now, it’s a term referring to the key role that fans play in a football game. Players feed off the passion of their fans. It’s exhilarating for a player to bask in the cheers of their supporters, and it’s intimidating for an opponent to walk into a stadium that’s roaring against them.
And I don’t think any group of fans better represents this than Seattle Seahawks fans.
The Seattle Seahawks themselves, players and coaches alike, are quick to point out that their Super Bowl-winning season is not only due to the amazing performances of the 11 players on the field, but it’s also due in large part by their passionate fans — the 12th Man as they are appropriately named. In recognition of the vital role and impact that their fans have on the game, the number 12 is sewn inside the collar of every player’s jersey and a flag with the number 12 is raised to the top of the stadium at every home game.
The phenomenon of the 12th Man has so intrigued and inspired me I am tempted to head to Seattle next season for a home game just to experience the magic. (That’s a hint to my friends in Seattle.)
All of this is bringing me to a realization about the work we do at Love146 — the role that we play and the role that you play. We are all the 12th Man. The children we partner with are in a daily battle. They experience victory and defeat, success and struggle. The best that we can do is to come alongside, lend our hearts, our voices, our lives. In doing so we become part of each other’s journeys. We are mutually empowered, because empowerment is never a one-way street. We become part of the same team.
As Seattle Seahawks fans and players will tell you, there is no “us and them.” There is only us. And it is the same with us at Love146. I’m humbled and honored to be part of this journey with not only the amazing children we partner with, but also with you.
Together we can change the game.