First in a series on locals involved with professional sports
Dave Musselman has been a firefighter in Kitsap County for 33 years, but for seven years he worked security at Seattle Seahawks home football games.
“The whole experience has been eye opening to me because there is a lot of comradery,” Musselman said. “I probably met more family members than players. I remember meeting Richard Sherman’s mom, Marshawn Lynch’s mom, Ciara and Russell Wilson’s kids. It made me feel connected to the team.”
Musselman stepped away from the Seahawks organization in 2020. As COVID-19 began to raise eyebrows, Musselman believed he would not have the same enjoyment working for the team. “They were going to have no fans, and I didn’t want to go over there and be a COVID-19 police officer,” he said. “I didn’t want to sit around and tell people to put their mask on.”
When Musselman stepped away, he knew he was going to miss the kindness within his favorite team’s organization.
“I’ve been able to experience a lot of things, but I am blessed to be able to be in public and community service for as long as I had,” Musselman said. “That is through the fire service and into the stadium work. I always felt connected to people and treated people the best. The Seahawks remind me of the fire department because it’s family-oriented and has a great vibe.”
He began his firefighting career at Chabot College in Hayward, CA. After struggling to find a job, Musselman and his brother moved to Kitsap County to reunite with their mother in 1976.
Musselman began working at Subase Bangor near Silverdale. At the same time, the Seattle Seahawks were first introduced to the NFL. As a teenager new to the area, Musselman decided to leave the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers, and became a Seahawks fan.
Through his career as a firefighter, he worked in the juvenile fireman center, as an administrator, a public relations coordinator for Kitsap professional firefighters and Community Assistance Resource Education Services. CARES follows up on calls from the fire department and referrals from police.
Musselman and the Seahawks crossed paths 36 years after Musselman arrived in Washington.
“One of my co-workers and I went to Seahawks camp in 2012,” Musselman said. “We sat on the grass and watched these guys play football and said let’s do this again next year. The next year came and I went to get the tickets, and it was sold out.”
He was determined to get in somehow. “I called up the Seahawks and asked if they were looking for EMTs,” Musselman said. “The guy shrugged me off and told me to check the website. I went onto the NFL employment website and saw security, filled out an application and sent it in. About two weeks later, the Seahawks called me for an interview.”
Musselman said he stood out because he has first aid and CPR training. So, Musselman was offered to go to training.
On his first day, he was stunned.
“We were through all the customer service stuff and that came natural to me,” Musselman said. “Then, they brought us out to where they wanted us to work, and I didn’t know what to expect. I remember walking through the tunnel and onto the field for the first time. It was my first time standing on an NFL field, and I thought this was really cool.”
Each guard was shown where they were going to be placed. Four were placed on the corners, known as rabbits, and were responsible for any fans on the field. Musselman received one of the most luxurious spots for security.
“The position I was given was the 50-yard line in between the Seahawks defense and offense,” Musselman said. “I was in the thick of what was going on on any given day.”
On game days, Musselman experienced what many can only met several players and broadcasters before the games, including Tony Dungy, Bob Costas and Trent Dilfer. However, the atmosphere changed drastically when the whistle blew and the Seahawks took the field.
“You can really feel the energy in the building,” Musselman said. By the time they kick the ball, it’s like, ‘Here we go.’ You feel the energy from the team, it’s indescribable. Plus, as an employee and not a player, you feed off that energy.”