Professional football players embarked on a whirlwind tour of Bethel on Wednesday. Seattle Seahawks offensive linemen Joey Hunt and Jordan Roos were in town for a grand total of nine hours and got a crash course in Yup'ik culture.
Elder Mary Nanuwak gave the linemen a Ziploc bag of fry bread on Wednesday afternoon, during their tour of the Lulu Herron Elders home. "You can top them with whatever you want," she said. Nanuwak also gave them a hand-knit hat and scarf to wear on the sidelines between plays.
Hunt and Roos flew to Bethel to promote health and wellness in the community and learn about Yup’ik culture. At Lulu Herron, the Seattle football pros autographed posters and took pictures with Bethel’s elders. They were so much taller than some of their fans that they occasionally had to crouch to fit in the frame.
"They say Bethel’s true Alaska," said Joey Hunt. "This is what we wanted to see, so we’re excited to be here."
This is Hunt and Roos’s first trip to Alaska. The offensive linemen were particularly excited to visit local families' fish camps outside of town. "Just getting across there on the boat; we were just hauling it across that water," said Roos. "It was awesome and the fish smelled amazing."
Roos and Hunt also toured Bethel’s hospital with State Representative Tiffany Zulkosky and played games with local kids at 4-H. They said they were excited to learn about Yup'ik culture. Some elders, like Gloria Anvil, may not watch too much pro football, but they can still get pretty excited to meet a player. "I'm glad they stopped by here," she said. "Thank you."
You can watch Jordan Roos and Joey Hunt, and maybe Mary Nanuwak's hat and scarf, in action against the Indianapolis Colts in the Seahawks’ first preseason game on August 9.