“Seahawks guard Rob Sims is hardly the first athlete to hit the wall.
It’s just not usually so literal an experience as it was for Sims on Thursday at Fort Lewis.
This wall wasn’t some metaphor for exhaustion or that point in the season when a rookie begins to run out of gas.
This was an actual wall, built from wood and nails and standing about 8 feet tall. Sims was supposed to jump onto the wall, then climb over as part of the Army’s obstacle course at Fort Lewis. Except Sims didn’t jump up on the wall so much as he jumped into it, his arrival announced with a thud.
“You’re not supposed to knock it over,” coach Jim Mora said as he watched.
Sims hung on the wall a second and then jumped up, pulled himself over and continued through the 15 or so other obstacles on the course just like 50 or so of his NFL teammates did as one part of their visit to the Army base south of Tacoma on Thursday.
“The goal was basically bringing the Seattle Seahawks, give them a physical, team-building activity so they could see how soldiers work,” said Cedric Henson, Sergeant First Class who gave the Seahawks their marching orders in the obstacle course.
The Seahawks spent the morning divided into groups, visiting 16 different units housed on the base. Some saw medics, others visited the Stryker Brigade. It was all part of a team-building experience. After lunch, the Seahawks participated in the obstacle course, a timed event that requires navigation around a series of low-level obstacles. Then came the confidence course, with larger – and higher – obstacles that was not timed, but required some courage.
Players shimmied up poles, jumped over pits and pulled their way down ropes that started out 20 feet in the air.
Some Seahawks stayed out of the ringer. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is coming off a season shortened by a back injury so he wasn’t swinging along monkey bars or doing any of the other tests. Defensive end Patrick Kerney, wide receiver Deion Branch and other Seahawks recovering from surgery were present but didn’t participate.
“There’s a lot of Seahawk fans that work on this base,” Mora said. “And we’re showing a little love to them and appreciation for what they do for our country and keep us safe and allow us to live the wonderful lives we live.”