LYNNWOOD — At today’s Rose Bowl game, they are the mom and dad in Number 9 jerseys.
Lynnwood’s proud — and at times loudest — parents.
What’s up with that?
Robbie and Scott Gaskin are in Pasadena to watch their son Myles, the University of Washington’s star running back, in his final college game as the Huskies take on the Ohio State Buckeyes.
They won’t be taking it sitting down, at least based on Myles’ four years playing for UW. The parents rarely missed a game.
“I’m that hyped dad,” Scott said. “I’m rooting the dudes on.”
Mom is calm when Myles is on the field.
“I’m doing some praying. Watching him, trying to see what he’s doing,” she said. “I am pretty quiet.”
When the defense is on the field, not so much.
“I’m screaming and hollering because I don’t have to think about it, right? It’s not my kid on the field,” she said. “I know fans don’t like to sit behind me.”
The 5-10, 195-pound senior who grew up in Lynnwood is UW’s most accomplished running back. He’s rushed for a school-record 55 career touchdowns. He’s gained more than 5,000 rushing yards in his career — the most ever for a UW running back. He ranks third in rushing yardage in Pac-12 history.
Myles plans to graduate after winter quarter with a degree in ethnic studies.
“He has always talked about being a firefighter,” his mom said.
That might come later. He will be eligible for the NFL draft in the spring.
At today’s game, his parents will be joined by about 20 relatives. The family has been enjoying the festivities leading up to the game. The last time UW played in the Rose Bowl was 2001.
“We’ve met some fans from all over,” Robbie said. “Whenever you have your purple on, it’s like family.”
At home in Lynnwood, Robbie and Scott are the parents next door. They raised their sons, Myles, 21, and his brother Ivan, 24, in a kid-filled subdivision near Alderwood mall. The boys played ball at the Alderwood Boys & Girls Club. Scott coached both in numerous youth sports teams.
“His village was here,” Robbie said. She also credits their church community, Churchome in Bothell.
Now it’s just the parents in the big house where their sons’ rooms remain intact, not as shrines but as bedrooms for when they come home.
Myles has numerous track medals, as does Ivan, whose room also reflects his interest in music.
There’s a downstairs trophy room that honors both sons who were star athletes at O’Dea High School in Seattle. Robbie, a program manager for King County Public Health, would ride the bus to the city with them.
Ivan earned an academic scholarship to Morehouse College. He’s a motivational speaker, real estate investor and tech entrepreneur in Atlanta.
“We feel like we won the lottery twice,” Robbie said of their two sons. “Myles was the mover. Ivan wants to analyze. I have one child who is completely academic and he’s athletic when he needs to be. And I have another child who is completely athletic and academic when he needs to be.”
“We are really blessed,” Scott said.
“It’s all about God’s grace,” she said. She also credits support from fans.
The parents met in college in Denver, where Scott is from. They moved from Atlanta to Washington in 1996 for his contract job at Boeing when she was pregnant with Myles. It led to a staff position for Scott, a Boeing manufacturing engineer.
He had a brief stint as a running back in college. “I walked on at UNLV in 1980,” he said. “I gave it a shot. I got my bell rung but never got dogged out.”
He knows the dangers of football.
“I always pray for these guys to walk off the field as they walked on,” he said. “It’s a rough sport. Guys get chipped up out there.”
His son’s fame has hit home.
“My network has really broadened just because of being Myles’ dad,” he said. “It comes with attention. They ask, ‘Are you Myles’ dad?’”
Robbie said people recognize the last name. “They say, ‘Gaskin … Gaskin. You know Myles?’” she said. “I say, ‘Yeah, I know him.’”
It doesn’t come with the special treatment you might think for the parents. Their tickets are not on the 50-yard line.
“We’ve never had good seats,” Scott said.
They’re what Robbie terms “challenging seats.”
“A lot of times I can’t see the field so I’m looking at the jumbotron. I’m turned all the way around because I can’t see through the people,” she said.
She’s not complaining.
The parents wear Number 9 purple shoes and home or away jerseys. Like so many sports fans, their apparel carries some superstition.
“When we lost to Oregon, I washed that jersey because I was like, I have to wash that off. I have a lot of weird stuff like that,” Robbie said.
She said Myles doesn’t rely on talent alone.
“He knew with his size and the competition around that he was going to have to be the person that worked harder.”
Even so, she is a mom first and sports fan second.
“It’s still like I’m watching him in Little League,” she said. “Like I’m watching my baby play.”