The moment a person chooses their favorite team is often the most profound memory a person has of their team. Whether it was watching football for the first time at the age of 5 and seeing them win a Super Bowl, or whether you started idolizing a team because your dad kept one of their Hall of Fame players’ autographed jersey hanging up on the wall in a frame in his bedroom, whatever the reason people always seem to become die-hard fans when a team or a specific player is at their best. The fondest moment I have of the Redskins is the moment I knew I was a die-hard fan, and it didn’t come when I first became a Redskins fan nor did it come when they were at their best. Actually, it came when they were at their worst.It came on a record setting night, but my team wasn’t the one setting them.
It was week 10 of the 2010 season when the Redskins played against the Eagles, it was the second time Washington had to play Philly that season and I was so excited because we had beaten them in week 4. Even though we had lost to the Lions in week 8 I felt that things would get better, because the team had a chance to recuperate over the bye week. I’ll also admit like most people I was still on cloud nine because Donovan McNabb was the starting quarter, even though going into that game we had a 4-4 record. What made things really seem like everything was going to be on the up-and-up was the fact that my older brother David received three tickets to the game at Fed-ex Field as an early 21st birthday present from our dad. It seemed like a good omen at the time.
It was a giving that my brother and I were going to the game, but we had to find a third person to go with us, because our dad is a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan who didn’t attend any games if they weren’t playing. Coincidentally, the only person who was able to go was our bestfriend Gregg, who is a die-hard Eagles fan. We took our father’s car to the game and every second of that ride was cruel and unusual punishment, because we had to listen to Gregg go on and on about how the game was going to be a blowout and how we weren’t going to score. When we got to the stadium we sat up in the nose bleed seats, but we could see everything from the jumbotron. The conflict that broke out on the field between Washington and Philly set the tone for the game right away, heck by that point I felt like getting into a shoving match with Gregg, because he was one of those heckler that didn’t know when to quit.
As the opening kick-off started to commence my brother and I rose up out of our seats and started yelling "GO SKINS, GO SKINS!" However, Gregg just sat in his chair and in a smug tone said "ya’ll going be sitting down real soon." Moments later the Eagles were inside their own 20 on the 12 yard line, after the snap Michael Vick faked the hand-off to Lesean Mccoy and rolled to his left to find Desean Jackson open after beating Laron Landry in coverage on a deep route and scored an 88 yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage. "I told you, you ain’t seen nothing yet!" Gregg exclaimed from the seat next to me. I replied "the game just started, it’s our time to score now!", but on the next drive we didn’t score. Before we knew it the Eagles were inside the 20 yard line on our side of the field and they were primed and ready to score. My brother and I stood up again and started screaming "PROTECT THIS HOUSE!", and for a split second it looked like they would. Lesean Mccoy motioned to the left and when the ball was snapped he ran out to the flat but Michael Vick got caught looking so the route was taken away, which left no one open with a defensive linemen closing in. However, that split second of assured glory was ripped away as we watched Michael Vick scramble to the right and score a touchdown.
At this point I was so anxious for the offense to get back on the field that I could have been the quarterback sitting on the sideline, so as the offense began marching back on the field I kept saying to myself "come on guys we need this" as I nervously balled up my left hand into a fist. However, the offense produced little yardage before a 3rd down situation was staring them in the face. So there it was a chance to get the offense firing on all cylinders, it was 3rd and 4 on Washington’s own 32 yard line. As the stands erupted with cheers for the offense the ball was snapped and Donovan Mcnabb dropped back, but before he could finish his drop back a pass-rushing linebacker was in the backfield and got a hand on him. Donovan was able to buy himself enough time to get the pass off, but he wasn’t fully able to set his feet which led to a misfired throw. The ball was off the mark and the safety Kurt Coleman was able to react and make a play on the badly thrown ball. Suddenly, I hear Gregg screaming beside me saying "OH! OH! I KNEW HE WAS GONNA INTERCEPT! I KNEW IT! YOU LUCKY HE AIN’T TAKE IT BACK TO THE EAGLES NEST!" My brother and I just looked at each other in silence and just shook our heads, I knew that we both badly wanted to get up to go get some hotdogs or sodas so we didn’t have to see the blow out that we felt might be about to take place, but neither of us did. We both watched the Eagles score two more touchdowns, including one that Jerome Harrison ran into the end-zone from mid-field, before the end of the first quarter. It stung to look at the score board, because the image of the zero underneath the Redskins name began to burn into my mind. The score was 28-0. I couldn’t look at it anymore so I got up from my seat to go buy some hotdogs and sodas for the three of us.
When I got back the second quarter was about to start, I didn’t get a chance to seat down with the snacks before Gregg started shooting off his big mouth. He said, "Thanks man! This is the best day ever; I’m at a free game, getting free food, with two friends that love a score free team." "Just shut up and eat your hotdog." I responded. The stands began to erupt again as the second quarter got underway, but it was short-lived because the second quarter was more of the same thing. The Eagles scored again on the first play of the quarter. I just put my head in my hands and started shaking my head, I’m pretty sure Gregg had some snide remark to say, but if he did I couldn’t hear him, because I was tuning everything out. While my head was down I heard the crowd erupt in cheer again, but this time it was the loudest it had been all night. I quickly picked my head up and asked my brother "What happened?" "You missed that play. We in the red-zone!" he said. Donovan Mcnabb had faked the hand-off and rolled out to his right to throw the ball deep across the field to Fred Davis the tight end for a 71 yard gain.The next play from the three yard line Donovan Mcnabb rolls to his right and dumps it off to Darrell Young and we finally scored. "That’s the only touchdown ya’ll gonna get!" Gregg said, but soon after we got the ball back again and scored another touchdown. The score was now 35-14; even though it was a long shot we still had hope. You could hear the stands roaring, we were all hoping for some miraculous comeback.
We all thought it was possible for a while until a few drives later when it was 3rd and 12 from Washington’s own 11 yard line. The ball was snapped and Donovan dropped back, with no imminent pressure he made a bad read and threw the ball into coverage which led to it being intercepted by the cornerback Dimitri Patterson. At that exact moment I knew the game was over, all the other Redskins fans knew it to. People started leaving the stadium in droves. I overheard some of them talking about no longer being Redskins fans. As bad as we wanted to leave with them we didn't, my brother and I endured Gregg’s arrogant boasting and watched the Eagles continue to run the score up. It was late in the fourth quarter when Gregg said "alright, I’ve seen enough of this massacre. I’m going to wait in the car until ya’ll ready." My brother handed him the keys while he was leaving his seat. It wasn’t easy, but my brother and I sat there until the last whistle was blown and the clock ran out.The final score was 59-28.
We watched from the stands as our team wearily walked off the field into the tunnel leading to the locker room. On the way out of the stadium we saw a man passing out what looked like business cards, but in actuality they were message cards. When my brother and I walked passed he offered us one so we took it, it read "To be a winner you must know what it is like to lose, so this year or next year may not be your glory years, but when it is your year your triumph will be amplified. Never forget you are a son of Washington." Once we got in the car it wasn’t long before Gregg started talking trash from the backseat saying "Ya’ll suck. Ya’ll ain’t going nowhere this year!" My brother and I looked at each other and I could tell we were thinking the same thing I was just the first to say it. I turned around to look at Gregg from the passenger seat of the car and said with a huge grin on my face "there’s always next year my friend, there’s always next year." In that moment I knew that whether they won or lost I would always be proud to be a Redskins fan.