Kent company cranks out Seahawks NFC champs T-shirts

SEATTLE - The word of the day is "champion."

And it must be paired with Seattle Seahawks, and then emblazoned for all to see on pennants, bumper stickers, flags, hats and T-shirts.

Twelfth Man Anthony Cemarre got up earlier than usual, especially on a holiday, to hit the store for championship merchandise.

"A lot of them sold out last night so I'm glad to have one," Cemarre said.

The buying frenzy on championship T-shirts started the moment the Hawks clinched their bid to the Super Bowl. Dick's Sporting Goods stayed open until 10 p.m. Sunday, selling out of some sizes. Employees worked through the night to restock and re-open at 6 a.m. Monday.

Linda Pesce left her husband sleeping at home to make sure she got to the store early before more sizes sold out. She says, "I left him a note. I had to get down here before they were all gone."

Terri Gibson is another early shopper who admitted, "Actually I'm buying for my almost-80 year old mother."

So how did these shirts get out so fast?

Employees at Polar Graphics in Kent went to work before the game started and watched it from there. They had their printing machines loaded with NFL designs before the game finished.

President Ken Jacobs says, "We did have a 49ers design T-shirt up there - we took it down as soon as the Seahawks started winning."

Thank goodness, since the T-shirt makers are true Seahawks fans, brimming with pride.

A huge smile filled Lanny Vongsouvnh's face when he said, "Now you know I'm working for the Hawks now."

Vongsouvnh and others were at work 10 to 12 hours, cranking out tens of thousands of beautiful championship T-shirts in long sleeve, short sleeve, white and blue. The orders kept coming in all night, with delivery drivers coming to pick up the boxes to reach retail stores first thing Monday morning.

Maria Nass reached the cash register shortly after 7 a.m. with an armful of stickers, pennants and shirts.

Nass said, "I don't want to miss anything. I just got into football. So I'm one of the newbies that got into it. I love Wilson, Sherman of course."

The excitement's going to build each day we get closer to Super Bowl, with more signs going up and fans wearing their pride.