Advice for the new Redskins’ fan

21 Sep

© Bernard Gagnon

Due to DC’s transient nature, the city has a reputation of not being a great sports town. It’s true: for every Washington Nationals hat you see walking down the street, you might see three Phillies or Yankees hats. Our city’s transplants don’t seem to adopt our teams.

But despite hometown allegiances, suspect ownership and the fact that the team hasn’t been good in 20 years, the Washington Redskins are the exception to the DC sports rule. Natives and imports alike are kooky about this football team. Comcast SportsNet has a daily Redskins show all year long, despite the fact that there are only 16 regular season NFL games. Every year when football season approaches, it’s a matter of life or death in this area. With every win and loss, so goes the collective zeitgeist.

If you want to fit in here in DC, there are a variety of commonly accepted topics regarding the Redskins. You can talk about the terrible decisions made by the team’s universally detested owner, Dan Snyder. You could reminisce about their plethora of Hall of Fame players. Or you can mention how much you hate the Dallas Cowboys.

This season, the first game was at home vs. the Cowboys. They are not just an in-division opponent, but the Redskins’ biggest rival. Redskins fans are repulsed by any spotting of the Cowboys’ distinctive star logo. Expectations are always sky-high for the team going into the year, particularly with new quarterback Donovan McNabb, and new head coach Mike Shanahan. And their first game was against the team’s biggest rival.

They won, 13-7. While not a particularly confidence-inspiring score, for Redskins fans there are two settings:
1. OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!! WE WON!!!!!!!!!!! 16-0 SUPERBOWL YAY YAY WOO HOO CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD!!!!!!!!!
2. OH MY GOD WE LOST. WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE. FIRE THE WHOLE TEAM. LIFE IS NO LONGER WORTH LIVING.

So, the win was a big deal. It was a a week of thinking that a true change had occurred. The team could have finally returned to its glory days!

The Redskins went on to lose their second game in overtime, after blowing at 17-point lead. Just like that, the bubble has burst.

Welcome to being a Redskins fan.

— Sports editor Rachel

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