One of the biggest Seattle Seahawks isn't going to let his legal blindness stop him from watching — yes, watching — the Super Bowl on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
That's because Chicago native Val Chavez, 59, has a great play-by-play analyst by his side, according to DNAinfo.com. His son, Luis, an 18-year-old college student, will be there throughout the game painting the picture for him.
Run to the left, Marshawn Lynch, eight yards. Sack on third and 8. Richard Sherman interception. Great play by Russell Wilson. Luis will be telling his father exactly what his favorite team is doing every single play of the game.
Val became a fan of the Seahawks during their inaugural season of 1977, when he was stationed at nearby Fort Lewis as an Army Sergeant. He liked the name of the franchise, met a few of the players and was a fan for life from that point on.
Now Val rotates wearing his seven Seahawks jerseys — many adorned with the No. 77, for their birth year — during football season, and his home is festooned with Seahawks swag, including rings, lamps, posters, helmets, flags and even an autographed Steve Largent Wheaties box.
Never mind that he can't see his Seahawks possessions anymore — they are a part of Chavez's obsession and he loves them all still.
Chavez lost most of the vision in his left eye in the 1980s when he was hit by a basketball, which split his retina and created a major blind spot in the center of his field of vision. Then, three years ago he suffered from macular degeneration in his right eye, which essentially renders him unable to see at all. As a result, he stopped going to games two years ago.
But Sunday, Val and Luis will rekindle their tradition when they are together on game days: Luis will act as Val's eyes as they watch the game at one of two bars in the shadows of Wrigley Field. He'll paint the picture of what is happening in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey one play at a time in what is the franchise's biggest game since their one and only Super Bowl appearance, a 21-10 loss in XL to the Pittsburgh Steelers — a game Luis attended — and one that many Seahawks fans believe was tainted by poor officiating.
"That loss still hurts me. It still bothers me," Val said.
Luis won't be at the game Sunday, but it will feel like he is as his son breaks down the game's every crucial moment. When Luis described the waning moments of the NFC championship game, he said, "I just told my dad, 'Hey dad, Richard Sherman did his thing. He didn't catch the ball, but he tipped it high enough so another guy could catch it.'"
All Val could do was smile and hold up his hand to be high-fived by his son. Now, they hope to relive that joy one more time on Sunday.
"This game is like a second chance for the Seahawks, and for us, part of their 12th man," Luis said.
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