Six months ago, Josh Cashman was sitting at home crafting a uniquely goofy style of internet videos to celebrate the resurgent play of his favorite NFL team, the Seattle Seahawks.
Posting under the Twitter handle @CableThanos_, Cashman’s work became a viral sensation, propelling him to the upper ranks of “Seahawks Twitter,” an online universe with its own collection of characters and team analysis.
On Thursday, Cashman wasn’t sitting at home. He was on a couch next to Russell Wilson, the Seahawks’ star quarterback and the first player on the team to send a shoutout to Cashman — calling the 23-year-old Western Washington University student “a legend” in a tweet on Dec. 12.
Cashman got the chance to meet his hero because of a challenge issued on Twitter, in which he simply asked Wilson to play him in “Super Smash Bros.,” the fighting video game featuring characters from various Nintendo franchises.
Wilson finally made it happen this week with a “challenge accepted” tweet on Tuesday, and the two got together — along with Wilson’s teammates D.J. Fluker and Jaron Brown — at the Seattle offices of Wilson’s brand management company West 2 East Empire.
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) May 15, 2019
“That was so fun. It was the highlight of my life for sure,” Cashman told GeekWire when reached by phone, driving from Seattle back to Bellingham, Wash.
About 32 minutes of the encounter were streamed live on Facebook by Wilson as a team of photographers and videographers could be seen capturing the gathering for his social channels.
Cashman brought his own Nintendo Wii because he was afraid if Wilson’s people supplied one, it wouldn’t be loaded with enough characters, or they wouldn’t have a controller he liked. He even got the players to sign the console.
“I’m actually better than I thought I’d be,” Wilson said at one point during the stream. “I haven’t played in a while. I need my man Josh to teach me.”
Cashman had heard beforehand that Wilson hadn’t played video games in about 10 years, so we wasn’t expecting much.
“Honestly, he was better than I expected,” Cashman said.
At certain points during the livestream, Wilson is heard yelling at the TV and his own play.
“C’mon Luigi! C’mon Luigi!” Wilson shouted. “They set me up with Luigi, man. No powers. Nothin’.”
At other times, the quarterback was left commentating on the play of the other three.
“I’m out. I’m just over here moderating,” Wilson said. “Thanos battling! Josh is battling. Battling. It’s coming down to an epic battle! … Oh man! Thanos out! Thanos out! Thanos out, y’all!”
The entire experience felt a bit surreal for Cashman, a Seahawks fan with a knack for meme-infused video content on Twitter who happened to catch the eye of the team’s biggest star, and the NFL, too.
When asked whether he was Wilson’s new buddy and whether they would naturally just get together now to play video games without the hype, he said you never know. He would play again tomorrow if asked.
“You think about meeting people all time, and you’re like, ‘It’s going to be so weird in person,’” Cashman said. “But I’ve seen him on TV so much I felt like I kind of already knew him. And after the initial reaction of seeing him in the flesh, he just felt like a normal person. … I feel like I’ve always known him, and now I feel like I actually know him.”
As for whether there’s hope for Wilson’s video game skills, Cashman was diplomatic, and realistic about what the NFL’s highest paid player should be concentrating on.
“I definitely wouldn’t advise him to get good at ‘Smash,’ because you just have got to do it a lot,” Cashman said. “He’s got other stuff to worry about.”