Seahawks fan goes the extra miles to show his ultimate dedication
Growing up on Bainbridge Island just a ferry ride from CenturyLink Field, the Seahawks have always played a big part in Greg Nance’s life.
He’s traveled the world since high school, earning honors at the prestigious University of Chicago, in business school at Cambridge in the UK, and is now building an education access startup in Shanghai.
“All the while I was homesick. And the one thing that I could always count on to keep me connected was the Seahawks. So it’s been a big part of my journey. I’ve been away from home now for 10 years,” he said via Skype from Shanghai, where it was 3:00 a.m.
That’s pretty normal for the hard charging young entrepreneur. At 28 years old he’s already founded two companies. Moneythink teaches disadvantaged young people the ins and outs of making and managing money and paying for college. Dyad.com connects students and young professionals with mentors for expert college admissions and career advice.
In his spare time, he’s a world-class mountaineer. For fun, he runs ultra-marathons. Like 150 miles or more marathons.
He sounds like someone Pete Carroll could love, so it’s little surprise Delta Airlines found Greg during a worldwide search for a super Seahawks fan.
You might have seen him in recent weeks in a commercial chronicling his Shanghai game day ritual. The commercials feature former Seahawks great Jordan Babineaux and members of the Blue Thunder drum line surprising him in his Shanghai sports bar.
The ritual starts in his apartment with stretching three or four hours before game time.
“And while doing that I put on You Tube and listen to Coach Carroll and Russell Wilson’s press conferences,” Greg said. “I throw on my running gear, Seahawks jersey, Seahawks hat over that. And then I run 15 miles, actually, from my spot here in the very north of the city all the way to the west side.”
And as if that wasn’t enough, the games start around 1:00 or 3:00 a.m. on Monday morning because of the time difference. And he runs regardless of the weather or conditions. He’ll even wear a particle mask to avoid inhaling carcinogens when China’s notorious air pollution gets really bad.
When he finally gets to the sports bar, he’s got plenty of company.
“There’s like 60 of us that were at the wild card last weekend,” he said. “We watch these games together, and so NFL China knows about us. There’s actually a really big community of 12s in Shanghai.”
That’s how Delta found him for the spots. But he’s found 12s all over the world.
He always wears a Hawks hat wherever he goes, and it never fails to draw attention, even in the most remote parts of China.
“It’s incredible when you’re in the middle of nowhere and someone says, ‘Oh my god, are you from Seattle?'”
But he’ll have to go without his beloved hat for Saturday’s playoff tilt with the Falcons.
That’s because he’ll be in Davos Switzerland, where he’s been invited to speak at the World Economic Forum, which brings together world government and business leaders ranging from presidents to Bill Gates.
“I’ve got to be in a suit and tie for the conference stuff,” he said. “But I’ll be wearing my lucky green Seahawks socks, for sure. But I’m really superstitious so I hope that brings us a little luck.”
Greg seems like the kind of guy who makes his own luck. And he’s learned to never quit despite seemingly overwhelming obstacles. Just like his beloved Seahawks.
“I learned that lesson running 155 miles across the Gobi desert. I sprained my knee like halfway through. And it was unbelievably terrible – the pain and the anguish,” he said. “And that’s been a guiding moment for a lot of my business work since that kind of crisis out on the course.”
It’s that kind of attitude he hopes will rub off even remotely on the Hawks in their quest for a third Super Bowl.