"So happy for this guy," Macklemore wrote on Instagram after the NFC Championship Game, captioning a picture he took with Wilson in the Seahawks' locker room. "No one deserves it more. I've learned a lot from him this year on a human level. He's the definition of a stand-up guy."
What does a star athlete really mean to the city where he plays?
Maybe the answer isn't complicated after all. At least not in this case. Seahawks fan Chris Sayers certainly doesn't think so.
Earlier this year, his daughter Abi was born 16 weeks premature. She had bilateral brain bleeds, severe strokes and respiratory troubles, and she needed a pacemaker. In the first seven months of her life, she needed five different brain surgeries. Her heart has stopped eight separate times, including once for 35 minutes. "We were told over a dozen times she wasn't going to make it through the night," Sayers says. "After the 35 minutes of CPR, they told us she wouldn't have any quality of life, even if she did make it. But the next morning, I started kissing her and she smiled right back at me. She had full recognition and comprehension skills. She's fought through a lot, and we've just been extremely blessed."
Sayers and his wife had heard about Blue Tuesdays, but didn't want to get their hopes up. After all, there were 270 kids at Seattle Children's, and Wilson had time to visit only a handful each trip. But just on the off chance they might bump into him, Sayers decided to bring his Russell Wilson jersey to the hospital the first week Abi was there. Sure enough, his wife Mindie spotted Wilson in the hallway that day, and he stopped to sign the jersey, pose for pictures, and get to know the Sayers.
"I was so awestruck, I could barely speak to the man," Sayers says. "But after that, he kept coming back to visit us. He never wanted to talk about himself, he just wanted to give us a hug and ask how Abi was doing. He asked me if we could pray over Abi one day, and after that, it just felt like the lines of communication were open and we could talk about anything.
"I've never been particularly into fanfare. My whole life, I've tried not to put people on a pedestal. But I can get behind Russell. I believe in my heart that he's genuine. I hope other people do, too. Because everywhere you go right now, people want to talk about Russell and talk about the Hawks. You can instantly bond with them. And that's the kind of thing that builds a city of happiness."