Superstition rules at Everson couple's Seahawks football viewing party

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 11, 2014 

EVERSON - See, no one is quite sure when the superstition came about, but most can agree on one thing: Matt Baughn must stand with one foot on the tile in front of his fireplace for the Seahawks to win.

Over the last three years, the habit has become one of the most contested superstitions practiced among a group of dedicated fans who gather each week at Matt and Nikki Baughn's Everson home to watch the games - and there are plenty of beliefs to contend with.

Friend Travis Johnson must wear his Seahawks slippers and team socks, which of course haven't been washed since the beginning of the season. Nikki must stand during the game, and several friends have T-shirts and other gear they wear each week, without fail. Even the decorations hold their own importance: a football helmet-wearing piggy bank faces the TV from the back of the living room, which is painted in official Seahawks blue and green, and a Santa decked out in Hawks gear should face the fans at all times.

For those who are less than willing to jump on the superstition bandwagon, there are plenty of stories to back up each habit.

Take, for instance, Saturday, Jan. 11, when the Seahawks faced off against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC divisional playoff game. The moment Nikki readjusted the Seahawks Santa to face the crowd (it had been bumped and was facing the back corner) the team got a first down.

Then there's the time early in the season when friend Andy Lord wore nice blue jeans to the game instead of his usual pair of torn up cargo pants: the team lost to the Colts. When Matt went to pick Lord up for Saturday's matchup, Lord tried to wear nice pants, but Matt wouldn't allow it.

"He looked right at the door and said, 'Back in the house and get your pants on,'" Lord said.

As Matt tells it, his own habit started a few years back after he noticed that when he stood with one foot on the tile and one on the wood floor near the TV, the 'Hawks would win. As soon as he moved, something bad would happen.

"Matt went to a Christmas party this year and wasn't home to stand on the tile, and that was the game they lost," friend Shawna DeKriek said, referring to the Seahawks' Dec. 22 loss to the Cardinals. "Beforehand we were commenting what to do on Facebook, and I suggested he take some of the tile with him."

Though the Everson couple wore their Seahawks gear to the formal Christmas party, the team wasn't able to pull out a win that night; but, Matt said, as soon as he and Nikki returned home near the end of the game, he stepped on the tile and the Hawks scored a touchdown.

As soon as things start going poorly for the team during a game, text messages start pouring in from friends making sure Matt is holding up his 12th man duties.

"OK Matt run to the bathroom and get back on your tile," one friend texted during a commercial break at the first quarter of Saturday's game.

But after halftime was over, Matt came in a few minutes late after a good play, took his place on the tile, and the next play left Seattle worse for wear. The group instantly shouted at Matt to get back outside and not stand on his usual spot for fear the luck from the first play would run out. The third play failed, so the crowd voted to let Matt back inside to resume his post.

With a backup generator on standby at the couple's in-home stadium in case Saturday's windy weather took out the power, the energy was high among the 30 or so friends who watched the Seahawks pull out a 23-15 win, clinching their spot in next week's NFC championship game.

A handful of fans sat on couches on a raised platform covered with Astroturf - as close as it gets to being in the "nosebleeds" in someone's living room - while others sat on a newly-upholstered blue and bright green couch. The couple painted the Seahawks-colored walls and logo in the living room after the team won all four of their preseason games this year, Matt said.

"I remind him daily he's lucky to have such a cool wife," Nikki said, laughing. "This is the one thing we have in common we can really get excited about."

Johnson, one of the group's core members, said he is happy the Sunday gatherings are able to bring everyone closer together and provide a kid-friendly environment for the families that attend. A longtime Seahawks fan, Johnson said he only recently got into the superstitions that have become an essential element at the Baughn gatherings.

"I'm not a firm believer of superstitions," Johnson said. "But like they say, 'It's only weird if it doesn't work.'"

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