On Christmas morning, my mother handed me a brightly colored gift bag. Anticipation building, disappointment ready to pounce, I pulled back the wrapping paper and revealed a jersey stitched with of college navy, action green and wolf grey. [The number three proudly centered with the name “Wilson” etched into the back]. It was just what I had wanted: the jersey of my personal inspiration, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Most Western students would have enjoyed the moment alongside their families in this instance, but not me. I’m from California and the members of my family are 49ers fans. My family bleeds red and gold.

I became a Seahawks fan in 2008, when I was just a curly haired teenager in Davis, Calif. People always ask me, “Why did you come to Western?” It’s the same reason I became a Seahawks fan. I love this state.

When I was an angsty teenager, I found solace in the music of Death Cab for Cutie and Nirvana. When I was a child, I was obsessed with Killer Whales. Most notably the ones that lived in the Puget Sound. I love the rain, I love the mountains, the ocean and forests.

Every time I take the shuttle down the I-5 corridor, I look out the window and remember one simple truth: Washington is one of the most beautiful places I have ever known. And beyond that, I love the people that live here, their values and their attitude on life. So when I was deciding on colleges it was a no-brainer that I would end up where I am today. Around this time in my life I realized that I enjoyed football. With the Niners in free-fall and teenage sense of rebellion in full swing, I decided to go with the only state I loved as much as California: Washington. Thus I became a Seahawks fan.

To be honest, my fellow Washingtonians, I’m glad I share this with you. With a possible trip to the Super Bowl just around the corner, I am proud to remember Marshawn Lynch’s Beastquake in the 2011 playoff win against the New Orleans Saints and last season’s 42-13 destruction of the Niners.

I wave the 12th Man flag like it’s a battle standard, rejoice in the roar of CenturyLink and regard the numbers 3, 24 and 25 like they are holy relics. I laughed out loud when that group of San Franciscans put up a billboard commemorating their Super Bowl wins in Fife and I contributed my own ideas to Seattle Seahawks Memes. There is so much to love with the Seahawks and it’s wonderful that we are standing at what could be the precipice of one of the best seasons we have ever played.

On a more personal note, this team inspires me. I recall a windy  California day in the fall of 2012. My little brother’s friend was being picked up from our house by his dad, NFL commentator Mike Silver, just as I read that Russell Wilson had been selected as the starting Seattle quarterback.

As someone who had prematurely thought that Matt Flynn was the answer I had to ask Silver, “Do you think Wilson would be a good quarterback?”

“He’s a really good player. The team loves him and I think he’ll do just fine,” he said.

I told him I would take his word for it, but I retained a handful of doubt. Despite my inclination, Silver turned out to be right. Although the NFL didn’t believe in Russell, he defied their logic and showed that his 5-foot-11-inch height didn’t define his skill set. I took this lesson to heart and made it my mantra: “Nothing people say about you necessarily defines who you are.”

Despite what people have said about my grades, my work ethic or my passions, I have used this message to prove them wrong. Every NFL Sunday I am reminded of this lesson and I cherish it.

So when I go home to confront the red and gold, the calls of, “Let’s go Frank Gore” from my father, the various taunts of my brothers and the smack talk from friends, I know I can put on a smile and laugh as the blue on my chest becomes a communal joke. I don’t care. I am proud to be a Seahawks fan and will always be so.