I was born in September of 1982. That year the Redskins would go on to win our first Super Bowl. My mom always tells me this story about how my dad would yell and scream while the Skins played that year, which would, in turn, always wake me up from my pacifier-induced sleep causing me to yell and scream as well. It's as if I was being born and bred to be a Redskins fan, enculturated into our family's sports world. My dad would die seven years later. Now, I'm not writing this to dampen anyone's holiday mood, but its during this time of year when I remember him the most, the time of year in which we celebrate many things, among them family.
Some of my earliest memories revolve around sitting in my dad's lap watching the Skins' games, and while I may not remember who we were playing or what the final score was, I always remember the excitement surrounding Sundays. I think all these memories are a reason the Redskins, and in general the game of football, mean so much to me. For many of us, we all have some type of memory involving our childhood, family, and this game. It's what underpins our emotional investment in the Redskins, it's one of the reasons we spend hours on here debating and dissecting our team. It's because we care. We spend so much time learning about our team that we can't help but be emotionally involved on game day. But I also can't help but think, especially around the holidays, that we do this because of the shared experiences we have with our family and football.
Our team is rich in tradition and our fandom can be traced back generations. There's something special about that I believe. Something unequivocally empowering about what this team means to not just us as individuals, but to our respective families. It's the reason my dad woke me up with his hooting and hollering as John Riggins busted a 43 yard touchdown run on 4th and 1 in the 1983 Super Bowl. Likewise, it's the reason I screamed in exuberance as Santana Moss caught two long bombs from Mark Brunell in our come-from-behind victory over the Cowboys in 2005, and its also the same reason I cried when I heard Sean Taylor had passed almost two years later. For those on the outside looking in at football, or sports in general, they don't seem to understand how a mere game could cause such a wide range of emotional displays, but for those of us dedicated to a team, we understand.
We understand that it's not just a sport, and it's not just about any one player or any one game. This "mere game" of ours has brought many of our families closer together. For me personally, it has given me a medium from which I can better remember my father. As I now scream and yell on Sundays just as he did 29 years ago, I feel, in some way, that I'm carrying on a family tradition as well as his memory. It's about the team, the organization from the owner to the coaches to the players to the fans, we are the Washington Redskins. We, in a way, are a family, so from my family to my Redskins family, happy holidays all!!!!