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Originally published February 6, 2014 at 5:28 PM | Page modified February 7, 2014 at 7:57 AM

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Editorial Notebook: A once-in-a-lifetime parade for pint-sized Seahawks fans

For the kids who skipped school on Wednesday, the Seahawks historic party was a civics lesson on an epic scale. At least that’s what opinion writer Jonathan Martin tells himself.

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IN the hourslong wait for Wednesday’s Seahawks party, a miniature Legion of Boom proved its grit. A scrum of middle-school-aged boys from Ballard’s Salmon Bay School stripped to bare chests painted with blue 12s and tossed a football, happily oblivious to the windchill.

Seattle Schools Superintendent José Banda had admonished parents to keep our kids in school during the Super Bowl victory party. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said “heck, yeah,” kids should come down.

Call this one another blowout win for Carroll.

More than a quarter of Seattle school kids — including mine — skipped out to join Carroll’s party. So many teachers skipped that the district struggled to find substitutes.

Judging by the hobbit-sized contingent at the parade, mine was a popular choice for parents across the region.

And for good reason. Wednesday was a civics lesson on an epic scale.

The parade, attended by some 700,000 people, was the largest gathering in Seattle history. It was peaceful and joyous. The team’s stars — Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman — are celebrated for their brains as well as their speed. The team succeeded because of tenacious preparation. Surely those are worthwhile lessons.

The Seahawks fan base is the broadest cross-section imaginable in a region stratified by class, geography and race. Seattle looks down on blue collar Auburn, and Auburn mocks the insular progressivism of Seattle. The urban industrialists and the urban cyclists duke it out on opinion pages. South Lake Union explodes with artisanal beer bars while jobs dribble out of rural Washington.

But when it comes to our God-given right to throw Skittles at Marshawn Lynch atop a duck boat, we were shoulder to shoulder.

I floated these ideas to other parents shivering in the cold. Some laughed, leaving unsaid the idea I was thinly justifying my kids’ skip-day. One mom said, “When are they going to get this chance again?”

The parade started. A pony painted like a blue and green snow cone trotted by. Players filmed the crowd, as the crowd filmed them.

I respect Banda’s predicament. Some kids rely on school for meals. But the kids who braved the icebox saw a region, at least for a day, defining itself with shared joy.

Jonathan Martin

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).

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