About a dozen Seattle Seahawks and Sounders FC players visited the Darrington area Monday.
In a statement the Seahawks company said the teams wanted to offer a brief distraction for families devastated by the landslide near Oso, Wash.
More than 300 parents and children turned out Monday afternoon at the Darrington Community Center where players from both teams signed autographs, tossed footballs and kicked soccer balls.
Gaby Botamanenko had on a knit Seahawks cap pulled almost down to her eyes and a Russell Wilson jersey. "I got so excited about this," she said. "A lot of people got autographs. It was absolutely a crazy fun day.”
Her mom, Angela Botamanenko, is an EMT. She said she’s grateful for anything right now that can lift the mood even temporarily. “We laughed so hard; we played games. We ran, and every single kid was just so loud and happy," she said.
After today it’s on to the new normal, she said. Like most people in the area the Botamanenkos lost people close to them in the slide. Moving forward will be a long process for everyone, she said.
“We’re going to focus on positive things," Angela Botamanenko said. "We’re going to love each other. It’s a new normal. It’s really shifted this town. Everybody is seeing life quite differently.”
The event was closed to the media. In a statement the Seahawks said they were there to offer support and encouragement to residents free of questions and cameras.