Three men, all with the first name William, all diehard Redskins fans stopped their legacy this year.
I didn't choose to be a Redskins fan, just like I didn't choose to be short and scrawny. I was born into this life of ups and downs, highs and lows. My first week on this earth I was draped in a t-shirt with the number 44 printed on it. Just like the name William was passed down, so was the unrelenting devotion to the Redskins.
It started in 1960, when my grandfather first purchased season tickets while living in Washington, D.C. For years he took my father to games. My dad still tells me stories about being with my grandpa in the NFC Championship game against the 49ers. My grandpa was at the game when Theismann broke his leg. They went to the only home playoff game of the Snyder era together.
I remember being about six years old and hearing my grandpa scream "GOD DAMMIT RYPIEN!" That was a regular three word phrase around his house.
Then my dad started taking me to the games when my grandpa died. It's a rite of passage, a family tradition. Father and son go to see the Redskins.
Watching the 27-6 beating of Dallas in 2007 (that was a cold, miserable and hungover experience), last years opening day game against Dallas are some of the better experiences we've had there.
Maybe the team wasn't what it was in the first Gibbs era or even the Allen era. But like being born a Redskins fan, I didn't choose when I was born, so this era has been cast upon me. But I stick with the team year in and year out. 5-11, 6-10, 8-8, 10-6 it doesn't matter. This team is part of my family and I have to stick with them.
It hurt a little bit when my dad told me he wasn't renewing the tickets this year. It's not just a game, it's like taking your kid fishing or teaching them to ride a bike. Going to Redskins games is part of our youth, part of our existence and part of who we are.
I don't have kids, but I would like to take them to games when I do.
Fifty years is a long time, covering three generations of fans. That's a lot of cheering, a lot of yelling, a lot of quarterbacks and coaches but a lot of fun.
The Redskins have been calling my dad, leaving messages about great offers. So I told him, "Dad, 50 years is a long time, we don't care for the owner, the seats are nosebleed, we usually get some drunk moron beside us...but you didn't quit on me when I went through a tough time. Maybe you should reconsider."
But with our luck, we don't renew the tickets and this will be the year the Redskins host a home playoff game.