Suzanne Newman shares a personal tribute following the recent loss of former Seattle Seahawks coach Chuck Knox after his long struggle with dementia.
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*The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
And welcome back to answers for elders radio. Everyone. I am going to close out today’s show because we lost a very, very special individual this last weekend, and that is former Seahawk coach Chuck Knox. You know, he had been battling a long, you know time with dementia and you know we had all heard through the grape vine that he was not doing well, and so it was kind of anti climactic when he passed away. But you know, I have to say that it affects me in numerous ways because I have a personal story about coach knocks that I’d like to share with you well today, but I first still humor me with a little bit of a caveat. You know, in those days when the Seahawks were playing in the kingdom, you know we had been going through a lot. We’d had a if you seem to remember, back in eighty two there’d been an NFL strike and so the Seahawks themselves only played nine games in one thousand nine hundred and eighty two and we had an interim coach because coach Jack Pittery had been fired, and so they had their general manager, who was Mike McCormick who had taken over for a period of time, and so when we finally hired coach knocks, as an avid football fan that I was through my father, we were very excited. It was a big deal. He was one of the most winning coaches is out there and so obviously I heard the phrase. Growing up with my father, I knew a lot about the NFL before we even had the Seahawks. As I was younger, I remember on Sunday mornings I would sit like sometimes even on his lap as a young child, and we would watch football games. It would be the time that I would be able to spend with my father because he was one of those workaholic entrepreneurs out there, father’s of the S, and you know, I didn’t get to see him very much, but when I do it did I had the opportunity to connect with him through football and you know, I have to say, you know, a lot of us probably can can relate to football in our homes, even in the in the s. It was kind of where everybody came together at a young age. I could tell you the difference between blitz and a zone read. I could tell you the difference between a line and a secondary. I knew the difference of what it meant if a quarterback was scrambling, as I was crazy about Fran Tarkington at the time, and I also knew it in the pocket was and and I remember watching some of the great quarterbacks like Bart Star and Dan Marino and Joe Montana and all through those years. So when the Seahawks came to town, my father was one of the first ones in line to get season tickets for the Seahawks. You know, dad was so excited and even though he lived in the Vancouver Portland area, he would make the trip up to Seattle for every single home game. He never missed a home game. And so as I got to know the Seahawks and it became a ritual that I spent with my father and I looked forward so often to take the time to go down to the Seahawk Games where oftentimes he would have his motor home and we would tailgate in the kingdom parking lot and I remember, you know, going through the just the minutia of even trying to find his motor home because the let energy was electric outside the kingdom. The players themselves, they would drive up in their own vehicles sometimes that we got there early enough we could see, you know, Jim Zorn arrive in his Volkswagen. We get to see and get get to know a lot of the players that were playing at the time. Many of US remember players like Edwin Bailey and and Dan Dornick and Kurt Warner and, of course Steve Largent, who is such a legend in those days. You know, it’s so amazing when we go out to senior communities and so many things that seniors remember. So kind of just set the stage. When chuck knocks came to town, it was a big deal for us. It was my father knew all about him and his in his track record with the jets and the bills and I believe he’d been with a rams before too, and so when he came to Seattle he already had a nickname and I and dad was the very first one that told me, Oh, they hired ground chuck, and I didn’t even know what or who ground chuck was or what he was, but dad knew all about him and I remember the excitement that there was in this community when ground chuck came to town. So many of you that are listening, you may relate to football weekends being sacred at your home is. It wasn’t ours. And you know, I know that a that as we came together and we learned to experience the culture here of this brand new NFL team. We didn’t have a lot of victories at the time. We hadn’t we had the the Sonics had gotten a world championship in one thousand nine hundred and seventy nine. But you know, there was a lot of things happening at the time in this city and the Seahawks were just kind of the bright sign, shining light that we had in the community. And and even though the kingdom was a horrible, ugly monstrosity, it was something that we were so incredibly proud of and it was something that we all got excited about and I remember going to the Games and there would be this wave that we learned that started in the University of Washington. There was be the wave of people going around and around and, of course, where the wave was born, it got adapted all throughout stadiums throughout the USA. And so obviously when Chuck Knox came to town we were a losing team and he brought players with him that taught players how to win. Chuck Knox really had a mindset to learn to be winners and I think that that mindset really came over to the fans and you know, are his very first season, believe it or not, with the Seahawks, we went to the playoffs for the very first time and we want our division. We were in the wild card game and we I think we played the Broncos at that time and it was such an amazing thing for the city to finally make the playoffs and you know, I I’ve just remember that energy. I remember the energy before the game, how everybody was so excited and how everything came to be and so obviously coming through. Not only did we win that game handily, but we went on to beat Miami and the divisional playoff game and we played for the AFC championship. Here we were, this small, eight year old franchise that had come all the way to the AFC championship game and even though we lost to the leaders, I knew that he was a kind of leader that inspired a community. On top of that, as we were going into that, in one thousand nine hundred and eighty five, my father was diagnosed with colon cancer and during those days, of course, taking tests and all those things, you always had to wait for tests. It wasn’t like the technology that they have today. But we were all very concerned and worried as a family because once the surgeon came out to speak with us after they had removed the cancer from his colon, they weren’t sure that they have gotten at all and I remembered that there was a ten day waiting period to see if dad was going to be okay. And as an individual, that was so, you know, hard driving and never anything ever got to him. My father was worried and he was depressed and I would call him every day and see how you’re doing, and you know, dad, and and he would just sit back and say well, and I’m okay, and I could just I could hear the sadness in his voice. And so one of the things that he told me about was the fact that he was really depressed because he’d be missing a couple of home games and that was really on his mind and I thought, well, I wonder what we could do. And so, Lo and behold, I actually got on the phone and they called the Seahawks and of course that’s when they had their headquarters in in Kirkland and I called and they answered the phone and they said sure, I would be happy to forward you to community relations person, of which I actually spoke to, and I said, you know, would it be possible to get some sort of a poster or something of the team that I could put in Dad’s hospital room with a few autographs? And I was just thinking, you know, maybe if I got one or two autographs it would be amazing. Well, a couple of days later, believe it or not, I arrived in their office and I asked for the woman who helped me and she came out with a poster that was signed by close to two thirds of the players. Two thirds, and I remember a few short notes to my father, even from some of the players and and I remember one in particular from Manutuasa Soapo, who was my father’s favorite player and man who was so gracious and so kind and said get will soon awl and as I explained to him that he was original season ticket holder to the team, they obviously had shared his story with the team and I remember going to pick up this poster and I was standing in the Seahawks Kirkland office and I was in the lobby and viewing all the signatures and I I tell you, I was overcome with emotion. But who came out from behind the desk was coach Chuck knocks and he walked up to me and he shook my hand and he said, we are so sorry to hear about your father. Please tell Al that he’s in our thoughts, in our prayers, and I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that he would take the time that he did to come up to talk to me and without rich missing a beat, he turns around and he looks at her and the woman that was helping me and says, is that all we are doing for Al? And she said, well, that’s what she asked for. Well, would you believe he took off the hat off of his head and he wrote down the following. Dear Ol, please get well soon. We are in your thoughts and we need you up there cheering for us. So again, I really believe that we have the twelves today because chuck knocks needed the fans to cheer for us. I believe the foundation of the twelves is really all about his legacy and as we think about his passing know that I absolutely believe that the seniors today that are here in that era and chuck knocks started what we have today and I just want to let you know that I am so proud to be part of that group and I remember him and May he rest in peace.
Suzanne Newman, host of the Answers for Elders radio show and podcast, proclaims often, “Caring for my mom was the hardest thing I ever have done, but it was also my greatest privilege.” Following a career of over 25 years in sales, media, and marketing management, Suzanne embarked on a 6-year-journey caring for her mother. Her trials and tribulations as a family caregiver inspired an impassioned life mission outside of the corporate world to revolutionize the journey that so many other American families also find themselves on. Answers for Elders provides education, help, and support to families, caregivers, and seniors across the country who are experiencing their own unique journey within the complicated world of Eldercare. Each week, Suzanne is joined by vetted professional experts in over 65 categories including health & wellness, life changes, living options, money, law, and more. Suzanne lives in Edmonds, Washington with her husband, Keith, and their two doodle dogs, Whidbey and Skagit.