They call themselves the 12th Man — the rabid fans of the Seattle Seahawks who've made CenturyLink Field one of the NFL's toughest arenas to play in. That was certainly the case when, on Sunday, the Seahawks defeated the San Francisco 49ers and in so doing punched a ticket to the Super Bowl.
In addition to "12" jerseys and t-shirts, the concept of the 12th Man now has an in-the-flesh personification with Native flair. Or an in-the-wood one, anyway: Chainsaw carver Jake Lucas of Bonney Lake, Washington, has created a six-foot-tall sculpture of a man-bird, wings outstretched, that has proven an instant fan favorite.
Lucas has some Quinault and Chinook heritage — no more than one-eighth, by his reckoning — and recalls with fondness attending ceremonies and witnessing dances with his half-Native grandmother when he was younger. "I've always wanted to carve a Native American dancer," he says, adding "I also wanted to do something unique to show my love for the team." The two desires — to borrow a term from woodworking and ornithology — just dovetailed. It took Lucas about three weeks of 12-hour days to make the piece, which he calls Spirit Warrior.
The piece was created on Lucas's own initiative, and hasn't been endorsed by the Seahawks. But Lucas has been taking it to rallies in the back of his pickup truck, and says the fan response has been overwhelmingly positive. Additionally, he says that the Native American community has also expressed a great appreciation for the carving. Lucas says he doesn't know where the piece will end up, but he hopes that the Seahawks or perhaps a local Tribal organization would be interested in acquiring it. He can be contacted through his website, chainsawart.org, where you can also see more exampes of the award-winning work he's been creating since 2004.