"Time makes heroes but dissolves celebrities." - Daniel J. Boorstin
Part I: Where It All Started
For me? The now defunct Columbia Women’s Hospital in Washington, DC. September 22, 1994. Those who know me as a former regular poster know that I’m not very old. How old does that make me in 1999, when Daniel Snyder bought the team? Five, and still figuring what the hell that gray square thing is in the middle of the living room and why there are so many pretty changing colors. I really liked cartoons then.
When did I first discover football? Much, much later. Probably around nine years old. I’m a Redskins fan since birth, semi-knowledgeable fan (depends on who you’re talking to, of course) since 12. Point is, I’ve lived through suffering, through high, wasted draft picks and organizational dysfunction. No sense of stability, no ray of hope. We all have. And it sucks. I would use some profanity here, but I fear that would ruin the nature of the post, so I’ll stifle myself.
And here’s where the quote comes in. Over time we’ve had our unfairly large share of celebrities and very few heroes. We haven’t had a hero develop before our eyes, and I think we can here. There’s something very mesmerizing about celebrities. Robert Griffin is coming here and he’s already a celebrity. But he’s not a hero yet. Heroes are made, developed, and heroes win... at least the good ones do. The thing is, heroes aren’t infallible. They do fail. However, then they get back up and they save us. They have a drive. Celebrities often wait for good things to come. Heroes make it happen. Which brings me to my next point...
Time moves in one direction, memory in another. - William Gibson
Part II: What it Means
The speed of life is way too fast for me. I need to slow down. When I look at our future, I try to forget our past. I really want to forget what it’s like to have Rex Grossman or John Beck or Donovan McNabb or Mark Brunell or Patrick Ramsey etc. etc.
But I can’t. I want to move forward, and my conscious mind seems to be doing that, while my pool of memories cannot be erased. Those bad moments we remember, though, can be erased with a good memories. RG3 throws a game-winning touchdown pass, Rex Grossman throws a game-ending interception. Ultimately, ten years down the road, the happy memory is going to stick with me, and the sad one is gone forever.
Essentially, we have a collection of frustrating memories because they outweigh the good ones. Our memory bank is overpowered by gloom. And what can Robert Griffin do? He can make that pain, that anger go away. He can put a smile on our face. He can make us forget. And, he can make us remember, too.
"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?" - John Wooden
Part III: Why it Had to Happen
It wasn’t easy, and it was a risk. But time was running out. We needed a quarterback. It could pay off, or it could set our franchise back years. I was in shock when I heard about the trade. There’s so much room for mistakes. I was doubtful, a little resentful, and utterly speechless.
Mistakes, ultimately, come from rushing and unpreparedness. If we don’t think, we don’t act like we should. We were pressured, and we had to do it. Maybe if we had more time, more of a chance, things might be different. Yet, as I was thinking about all of this, my muscles tightened slightly. I was sitting there, staring at my computer screen. There was no going back. We can’t do it over. The potential for damage is done.
I was in shock, then in awe. We no longer have the luxury to make mistakes. And that’s what this trade has done. If we do something wrong, we don’t have the time to fix it. That’s okay, though, because perhaps we won’t make mistakes because now, more than ever, we know we can’t afford to.
We are navigating dangerous, murky waters. Time will pass and we can reflect on what we could have done better or could have done different. In the end, time will prove whether our decision was a good one. If he turns into a hero, check. If he makes good memories, check. If he gives us a safety net, check. If not, maybe we’ll do it very, very differently next time. That is, if there’s even a need.