By Greg Asimakoupoulos
MERCER ISLAND, WA (February 5, 2014 )— Ninety-seven-year-old Bert Pound was as thrilled as anyone at Covenant Shores Retirement Community watching the Seattle Seahawks thrash the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl on Sunday, but he was getting tired as the game went on.
He had been doing one-armed pushups for each point the Seahawks scored, plus an extra thrown in for the crowd each time, and he did so cumulatively. So after the safety, which occurred in the first 12 seconds, he did three pushups. When the Seahawks next scored on a field goal, the scoreboard read 5-0, so Pound did five pushups, plus two extras for the crowd for a total of seven, and so on.
When the Seahawks had put the game out of reach at 29-0 in the third quarter, it wasn’t just Broncos fans who had had enough. At that point, Pound had done 87 pushups.
“I didn’t want to kill myself!” he said. “I know when to quit.”
Pound started the ritual in 1975 when he was in the University of Washington alumni band when the Huskies were playing Navy. He watched as the Midshipmen’s cheer squad knocked out the pushups and told his friends, “If they can do that, we can too.”
A group of the alumni band lined up in the end zone and did the pushups accumulatively just as Pound did on Sunday. As the Huskies score got higher, the line of band members doing pushups got shorter. Eventually Pound, whose first Rose Bowl as a band member was in 1937, became the one who kept going.
Pound is known in “Husky-ville” as Mr. Pushup because he still does them in the end zone whenever the Dawgs score. “People expect me to and I don’t want to disappoint them,” he said.
He does the pushups despite having had both hips replaced. Pound started his routine doing pushups with both arms, but switched to using one arm several years ago, although he isn’t sure when.
He got the idea after watching a Washington cheerleader do some pushups at the game, and she finished by doing a single one-arm pushup.
Pound couldn’t have someone outdoing him.