Fatpickle: I Heart The Redskins

I am 34 years old and I have spent all my life building a relationship with the Redskins. To say we have had our ups and downs would be an understatement. But in the end, they are my oldest and dearest friend. Here is a little history of our relationship.

My oldest memories of the Skins date back to the late seventies. I’m not sure how I remember the games from that era, as I was only 5 years old. My Grandmother owned a bar in Herndon, VA around this time. Pictures of the Skins hung throughout the walls, and lots of Skins were customers. My Grandmother moved to another bar in the early 80’s. I would hang around the bar, as guys such as Riggins, Jacoby, Grimm, and others hung out curling 12 ounces. Another fond memory of this era was the open tryout my uncle “Mo Joe” attended while George Allen was coach. Mo is about 5’9” 260. He decided to try out for the Over the Hill Gang as a punter. The legend is that uncle Mo really got his foot into one, so much so that he lost the flight of the football. The tryout came to an end after the football landed a couple yards behind him. No “Invincible” moment there.

The glory years of the Skins, and my full blown love affair took place in the 82-92 seasons. 4 Super Bowls, 3 Titles, life was good. You got the feeling that it would be this good forever. This was along the time that I switched from hanging out in the bars (until later in life) and moved directly to Redskin’s Park. My mom would drop me off at Redskins Park and pick me up later in the day after she got off work. I met and got autographs from all the players, media, and even retired players like Charley Taylor and Sonny Jurgenson.

I also got to do cool things like toss the Football with Mark Rypein, Ricky Sanders, and Gary Clark. I can still remember like it was yesterday hitting Ricky on a post pattern. Many of the players were awesome, I do remember some that were not. It’s amazing that I spent many days at Redskins Park, but I never saw Joe Gibbs. I guess he was always hard at work. My favorite memory by far was the day that I snuck onto the field and filmed practice. It was Super Bowl week before the Denver game in 87. Gibbs was always worried about spies, so I’m unsure how I was able to film 10 minutes of practice before getting kicked out. I later got the chance to ask Dexter Manley what he was going to do to John Elway in the Super Bowl. “I’m gonna kill him” Dexter replied. Sorry Cooley Bros.

I am lucky enough to be married to the greatest Wife and Mom in the world. Rebecca and I were high school sweethearts and we have been together for the better part of 18 years. We have a 4 year old son, 3 cats, and we lead the perfect life. All except for one thing, Rebecca is a Cowboy fan. So for a couple times each year things can get pretty tense. I’m happy that the Redskins have gotten the better part of the Cowboys the past couple years. My wife and son have taught me a few things. I don’t need to yell and scream obscenities while watching the game. The silent tirade I have in my head works just fine. Betting on the Skins and an over is probably not a good idea, the little man needs new shoes and to eat. A 24 hour period to be in a bad mood and get over a loss is enough, no need to be angry the whole week.

The opportunity came a few years back to convert Rebecca to be a Redskins fan. Rebecca was chosen from several hundred applicants to work for the Skins. My dreams were coming true. I was back in Redskins Park, getting tours of the locker rooms, the meeting rooms, and the field. We had season tickets, I was meeting players, and man life was good. Rebecca started on a Monday, which coincided with my annual canoe trip on the Shenandoah River. I bragged the entire weekend to all my buddies about my new found fortune. When Rebecca came home from work that Monday, the dream started crashing. The moment I saw her I could tell. She hated the job, hated the people she was working for. She wanted to quit. Dan Snyder had walked by her desk said “who are you” then walked away without waiting for a reply. Nice introduction Dan. I talked her into returning for her second day, but she resigned that day. The dream was over, and now her love for the Cowboys, and hatred of the Skins had intensified. “How can you root for that team when they made me cry?” is a question I get a lot.
The answer is I love the Redskins. Sure I feel like I have put a whole lot more into them than I have received back, but things are looking up. The team is looking great, and I am forever optimistic about our chances. The Super Bowl is in Tampa this year, which happens to be where I live. It would be wonderful to end 17 years of frustration here in my backyard. But, that’s still a couple months away. For now, there is only one thing on my mind.

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