Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate says he's essentially been preparing his whole life for this Seattle playoff run.
"My first word was ball. Not mom, not dad, not bottle, it was ball. They [Mom and Dad] used to tell me stories about how I'd be in the crib and everything I had I would throw, and I always wanted to catch something," Golden Tate tells KIRO Radio's Dori Monson.
Being a spectator wasn't enough for Tate. Even as a kid, he says he wasn't content to just watch the action on the field.
"What I remember is being 5 or 6 and I never could watch NFL football. Anytime I saw any sport, I would go outside and want to play it," says Tate. "As a youngster, it was a dream to be a professional athlete and it was something I prayed about every single night. 'Lord, please help me be a professional athlete at some point.'"
Today, it's become a reality for Tate, who is in his fourth season with the Seattle Seahawks.
"It's a blessing," says Tate. "It's something I worked my whole life for. It's something I take a lot of pride in."
Playing in the NFL he says takes a lot of passion, work, intelligence and talent, and he's well aware not everyone makes it.
"Growing up, I saw a lot of guys who had just as much talent as me, but they took other routes and I just, I stayed with it, had a dream, and was fortunate enough it came true with lots of hard work."
Preparing for a NFC championship game is a first for Tate and he says he can't wait.
"This is something I've never been a part of, I've never experienced before. It's a dream that is coming true," says Tate, who adds that while they're trying to focus on one game at a time, he can't ignore the potential Super Bowl that sits just one game away.
"We're in the playoffs. The whole point in playing in the playoffs is to get there. At this point, that's where we want to be," says Tate, who thinks the key to winning this week is a good week of practice. "We're just going to keep being who we are and see how far we can go."
"I feel like the ball is in our court. We're playing at home. We've got 12s behind us. We're playing a divisional rival. It doesn't get any better than that."