I pledge my allegiance, to the Redskins, and all that make them great, for they are my team, through thick and thin, through good times and bad, in championships and in basement dwellers, till I can no longer take the heartache..........................
If there was a pledge of allegiance to our beloved team, I imagine it would go something like this.
So I wanted to explore the question: What made you a fan of the Washington Redskins?
I became a fan of the Washington Redskins when I was five years old, and my family moved from Pennsylvania, to Martinsburgh, WV for my dads job. We were less than an hour away from D.C., and the Redskins were everywhere. Although my first ever NFL jersey was a Steelers one, I quickly turned my allegiance towards the burgundy and gold. I absorbed everything Redskins. I would beg my dad for jerseys when we went to the local mall. I collected cards of Art Monk, Darryl Green and Charles Mann. I filled my Topps sticker album with Redskins first, before I would put in players from other teams. As I began to watch, and understand football, my passion for the team grew stronger. My dad and I would go to training camp, local malls where players would be signing autographs, and even the occasional game. Although my dad was not a true Redskins fan, he supported my rabid fandom like any good father would.
My bedroom had posters of The Fun Bunch plastered to the walls, and atop my dresser sat a 12" Redskins troll doll(yeah, it was kinda creepy). In my closet hung Skins sweatshirts, tee-shirts, jerseys and my prized possession; a burgundy silk-faced team jacket(believe it or not, they are popular again).
As I grew up and moved back to Pennsylvania, my fandom grew even stronger. This was during the dark years, so it was difficult being surrounded by Steelers and Eagles fans, whos teams were both doing well, but it only fueled my passion.
Two of my fondest Redskins memories ever happened when I was in college.
In 2000, the Redskins had the second and third overall picks in the draft. The second pick was spent on LaVar Arrington, my favorite college player of all-time, and a friend of mine. I still remember getting drunk that night with a bunch of buddies, and climbing on the roofs of cars on campus with our shirts off singing "Hail to the Redskins".
The second memory happened two years later, right after I graduated. My dad and I made the trip to Carlisle PA for training camp, accompanied by my sister's boyfriend, who was a Falcons fan, but loved football. The night before I had gotten into a little scuffle, and had a big shiner on one eye, and stitches over my brow. We had sideline passes for practice that day, and after the session was over, my dad and I were interviewed by a local TV station. The reporter asked about my eye on camera, and it aired that night on a local TV station(which my dad had a friend tape for us). After the fan fair of being on TV was over, my sister's boyfriend and I were invited into the lunchroom to meet some of the players. Overall, it was a pretty cool day!
My first job out of college was for Cintas as a sales rep. We had a regional meeting in Virginia during my second year with the company. We had it at a nice hotel not too far away from Redskins Park. The opening morning of our sales meeting, we were all told to go outside, and get on one of two busses parked in front of the hotel. No one told us where we were heading. A few days before the meeting however, my manager, who knew I was a big Redskin fan, hinted to me that I may want to bring a piece of memorabilia "just in case", but he would not tell me why. I knew something was up when we got on that bus, and I had a throwback mini-helmet tucked inside my book bag just in case. To our surprise, the busses pulled up to Redskins Park. It was amazing. We walked inside, got to see the three Super Bowl trophies, and were ushered into a film room. Of course, I got a seat in the very front row. Five minutes later, in walks Joe Gibbs! I was awestruck. He gave us an inspirational speech focused around competition, and what can drive us to be successful. It was awesome. When he finished speaking, I reached into my bag and retrieved my mini-helmet. I wasn't sure what to do, but I knew I couldn't let this opportunity pass me by without at least trying. Gibbs began to walk off the stage, and I stood up, helmet and sharpie in hand, and said "hey coach Gibbs, would you sign this for me". He smiled and said "of course". I told him how I have been a fan since I was five, and what a great experience this was for me. He shook my hand, signed my helmet, and left the room. Big "J", small "Gibbs" with the letters HOF below! Afterwards we got a tour of Redskins Park, and got to meet a few players who were there.
So, this is how my roots were firmly planted in Redskins soil.
Share with us in the comments section how you became a Redskins fan, and any cool stories you have experienced along the way!