Just two days before Victoria Reyes’ favorite team would crush the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, she had no tickets to the game, no babysitter for her son and no flight booked.
She had tried everything she could to see the Seattle Seahawks in their second Super Bowl, even sending a video to “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for a chance at free tickets, but the outlook was bleak.
Yet at 10 p.m. the Friday before the game, Reyes found out that an acquaintance decided to give two tickets to the biggest Seahawks fan they knew. Within seven hours, Reyes was on a flight to New York City with tickets in hand.
Reyes’ passion for the Seahawks has never wavered, even when the team struggled through the ’90s, or when they went 4-12 in 2008 and 5-11 in 2009. She still made it to every home game, and now, as the team plays in the playoffs for the third straight year and the 12th Man continues to grow, few fans can say they’re as dedicated as Reyes.
“It’s part of my identity,” Reyes said. “It’s part of my enjoyment of life.”
Reyes, 38, met her future husband, Luis Reyes, at El Gitano, a Mexican restaurant on Sunset Drive in Bellingham where she still works today. Luis was a soccer fan when they first met, but he says his wife quickly turned him into a Seahawks fan.
“The house is blue and green,” Luis Reyes said. “I don’t watch soccer anymore.”
The couple still has season tickets, and they try to make every playoff game so she can scream, whistle and wear her signature blue wig. Her closet is filled with jerseys and team apparel, Luis said.
“When I got married and I had a kid, it was the one thing that I wasn’t going to give up,” Victoria said. “Some people give up going out to eat meals at restaurants or partying on weekends, but I was like, ‘I can’t give up my Seahawks.’”
Before every home game on Sundays, Victoria gets off work at 2:30 a.m., runs home to shower, picks one of at least 15 jerseys to wear, goes to sleep for four hours, wakes up at 7 a.m., drives down to Seattle with Luis and two friends and tailgates all day. She has met Seattle Mariners legend Jay Buhner and former Seahawk and Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon, but she says she still gets the biggest rush from simply being there.
Her manager, Cecilia Chamorro, said her passion for the team has spread to the rest of the staff. If one were to visit El Gitano on a game day or the day before, every worker would be wearing a jersey. Chamorro said she doesn’t want to know what would happen if she scheduled Reyes to work during a game.
“I think she’d leave the job, so I don’t want to take the risk,” Chamorro said.
Reyes said what separates her from other fans is that 10 years ago she was walking around in her Seahawks gear every day, the same way she does now.
She has been a fan since she was a little girl growing up in Bellevue and went to games with her grandparents in the Kingdome. Her grandfather has since moved to Arizona, site of this year’s Super Bowl, but the family’s passion for the Seahawks is still present in the stadium every home game.
“I’m hoping to go visit him in February,” she said.