I was asked by a fellow sports writer who we all read regularly if I thought naming this movement "The Revolution" would help or hurt our chances of being taken seriously. It was a great question that I had spent some time considering prior to rolling this thing out. And my answer to him was what I wanted to discuss today...after the jump.
[Don't think we have forgotten about Kansas City by the way. All of you out there wishing to get to the game that matters this week, have no fears--we will.]
I landed on "Revolution" for a few reasons:
- We have been at this for a long time (rooting for a team that seems to continue making the same mistakes/decisions over and over), and I can't recall something in the last decade that attempted to rally folks in a way that wasn't overly negative or detrimental to what I think is at the core of being a fan. So the "call to arms" idea fits into the name.
- I think being upfront and honest about what we think--while at the same time stressing that chanting "Sell the Team", or "Impeach Snyder" is not only counter-productive but not fun--is quasi-revolutionary.
- I think Redskins fans have been divided and conquered over the years. Snyder has been very successful catering to individual groups of fans and keeping the discontent at arm's length and on a very micro level. I think the idea that a shared sense of disappointment can be channeled positively while also being blunt is appealing to people who are close to being at the point of apathy.
- Redskins fans are emotional beasts. The name had to elicit some kind of guttural reaction in folks. I wanted people to feel like they could participate in something that was going to have a little bit of bite without being excessively "biting" (does that even make sense?). People feel like they have been squashed. The name had to be something that would inspire the will to fight for what they love-in this case, the team.
- In my experience, a name with such broad connotations offers much in the way of possibilities as we go forward. I am eager to pursue some ways to make this fun and entertaining.
- The name "Revolution" carries a very deliberate sense of fight and abrasiveness, and I resigned myself to the fact that it may very well initially turn off some or all of the intended "powers that be". The trade-off was of course to build a following first and in the meantime keep the focus and spotlight on the idea that we are (albeit begrudgingly) with Dan Snyder-if we didn't care at all, we would be joining the bags-on-their-heads people and screaming for Snyder to leave town. Tough love is sometimes the best love and while it might be small potatoes now, there is a very real possibility that this could offer Snyder a unique opportunity to bond with what we feel is his greatest asset: a group of fans that will not throw their hands in the air and say "F it"; a group of fans that is not so short-sighted to think the road back to respectability does not include Snyder (because he is not going anywhere.)
I am by no means suggesting that I am reinventing the wheel here, but I have no interest in leading a silent majority (or even silent minority) of people who are not represented by the venom-filled callers that dominate sports talk radio. Even when many are hating on the team, it doesn't feel in unison. Even when many are feeling that negativity, it won't offer a chance to effect real change in a positive manner. Our goal is to unite fans who still have some fight and spirit left and funnel it into a focused message with defined goals. The idea that we are still willing to get in the trenches with Snyder after everything he has done in the last ten years is Revolutionary.
Above all else, there has to be a point when this team decides that the way they have been doing things is not working and is not getting them closer to a Super Bowl. That may or may not happen soon. That may or may not happen in the next 5 years. I (we) want to be part of the solution, and the only way I thought I could do that right now is by making sure that there are people out there still willing to emotionally invest in this team. The Revolution is the place for those people.
Your comments and emails are encouraging. We won't stop after our opening letter. If our ability to stay Redskins fans over the last decade tells us anything, it is that we can sustain an arduous effort for a long time. And we will. We will make it fun and entertaining. We'll see it through.
I like the ideas of people latching onto the message and sending it in themselves. I only ask that you keep the core of the message intact--that our ultimate goals are aligned with the organization's goals. They might not respond to us at all. But they definitely won't respond to hate mail. If people are interested in some kind of visual show of support for the Revolution, the best suggestion so far is that you wear a burgundy or gold armband. Rip an old jersey or t-shirt and tie it on. No words or handshakes are necessary...the armband will identify us at the stadium as well as the bars and other places we intend to watch the games.
Have fun with this...it is after all only football. But it might be the first time in a while that being a Redskin fan was fun--might be the first time in a while that you feel like being a Redskin fan has some meaning.
Viva la Revolution!