By Ron Newberry Whidbey News Times
Gone were the curls but not the Super Bowl smile.
Greg Goebel recognized Russell Wilson right away when he sat down next to him after boarding a flight from SeaTac to Newark, N.J., two weeks ago.
Goebel, an Oak Harbor resident, was headed to the East Coast for his job as a pilot for FedEx. Wilson, the quarterback who led the Seattle Seahawks to their first Super Bowl title in early February, was bound for New York City for television appearances.
“It was like sitting next to any other polite person,” Goebel said of the five-hour flight. “He was just a real gentleman.”
Goebel asked Wilson if he wouldn’t mind signing a football for a Boys &Girls Club of Oak Harbor auction.
Goebel purchased a special Super Bowl XLVIII commemorative football and personally delivered it to Seahawks headquarters in Renton with a note to remind Wilson and a FedEx box to send the ball back in.
Wilson honored his promise, signing a ball that will be one of the marquee items at the 15th annual Boys &Girls Club of Oak Harbor “Bids for Kids Dinner &Auction” on Saturday night at the Roller Barn in Oak Harbor.
“To the Oak Harbor 12th man,” Wilson wrote on the ball.
The event, sponsored by Island Thrift, is the Boys &Girls Club’s biggest fundraising event. Chalfant said the ball is one of the more anticipated items. He guesses it will take at least $1,000 to acquire it from the buzz it’s already created.
“It will include the box and the pen it was signed with,” he said.
Then, he held the pen, laughed and added: “Russell Wilson touched this pen.”
Other auction items include a condominium stay in Puerto Vallarta, dive lessons, glass art, even a chicken coop built by Chalfant and Rai Mundi.
The 5:30 p.m. event includes a dinner catered by Max Dale’s Steak &Chop House in Mount Vernon. Tickets are $65 and are available by calling 360-240-9273 until 6 p.m. Friday. No tickets will be sold at the door.
Sitting five hours next to a football star just weeks after his team won the Super Bowl was an experience Goebel will never forget.
Wilson wore slacks and a black dress shirt and had headphones with Seahawks colors.
Goebel wanted to respect Wilson’s privacy and try not to ask too many questions.
“He asked me what I did. I told him I flew for FedEx,” Goebel said. “He asked me about flying. I told him I flew in the Navy and this and that.
“I was talking about football and what life was like now. We were sort of comparing jobs.”