The 5 o’clock club is published several times per week during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.
I moved to Thailand from Australia in 2005, and on my first day of work, Rich LeMarie was the guy who was responsible for training me. I left that job after about a year, while Rich stayed on for a while longer. He eventually started working at Chulalongkorn University, and, seeing how much he enjoyed it, I followed him there in 2011.
Rich and I are very different people. He’s just about the most phlegmatic human being I’ve ever met, while I’m impatient and short-tempered much of the time. We have a few things in common, though; we both grew up in Virginia, we both live in Bangkok, and we are both Redskins fans.
I thought it might be interesting to see what Rich had to say about life as an expat and as a Redskins fan, so I asked him to answer some questions.
BiB: I’ve been living in Thailand for about 14 years, and I know you’ve lived here even longer. What prompted you to move abroad to Thailand?
Rich: Well, I was kind of ‘between jobs’ and living in Chicago before I moved here. I had also decided I wanted to get out of my previous line of work as a government pension systems analyst, which is every bit a boring as it sounds. I wasn’t having much luck in transitioning to something else though. A friend of mine who had a taught English in Thailand suggested I give that a try. I’d been to Thailand before on vacation and enjoyed it, so I figured “why not?” That was about 16 years ago, and as you know, you can get comfortable with the lifestyle over here pretty quickly.
BiB: How did you become a Redskins fan?
Rich: Like most ‘Skins fans I was born into it. My dad worked at the Pentagon and decided to stay in the area after he retired. I grew up watching the games at home every Sunday with my dad yelling at the TV.
BiB: Funny, I thought my father was the only one who did that!
BiB: Do you follow the team closely these days? How do you keep up with NFL news and watch games?
Rich: I do. I forked out the cash for NFL Game Pass and usually watch the games live, which of course are on in the middle of the night over here. That’s the one silver lining to my chronic insomnia. I also follow Redskins news on social media - mainly Twitter - so I get all the Hogs Haven articles along with following a few specific sports writers.
BiB: The team has been one of the least successful franchises in the league for well over 20 years. In fact, the last really successful season they enjoyed was 1991. How does that affect you as a fan?
Rich: To be honest it seems to get a bit tougher to get excited about the team every year - especially having seen it go from one of the most respected and well-run organizations, to well, the opposite of that. My siblings have long given up on the skins and just follow the Nats now. Hope springs eternal though...
BiB: Can you share a favorite Redskins-related memory with us?
Rich: I suppose it would have to be the ‘83 super bowl. It was a crazy season with the strike going on. The skins beating Dallas that year with the ‘scabs’ was also fantastic. I was a kid in the 70s and have some memories of the disappointment after losing to the Dolphins in ‘72 (probably because we had neighbors who were Miami fans). The ‘83 super bowl was pretty much the beginning of the Gibbs era, though, and there was a lot of energy there.
BiB: If you could offer any advice to the executives, coaches or players in the Redskins organization, what would it be?
Rich: Well, it seems like a lot of the dysfunction stems from the top. No doubt Jack Kent Cooke had his faults, but was smart enough to put up the money and leave the decision-making to the football people. I know Dan Snyder grew up a Redskins fan. Too bad he doesn’t emulate that example. I think he prefers being the one to call the shots and having his friends around him rather than putting the best team possible on the field.
BiB: Tell me your opinion of Dwayne Haskins.
Rich: He looked phenomenal at Ohio State and he’s got a hell of an arm. Since Ohio State runs a pro-style offense, I thought he would be able to plug in right in the QB position, so I’m not quite sure what to make of the reports that he hasn’t gotten the playbook down yet. He seems like a smart young guy though. I’d like to see him on the field - maybe after the Patriots game.
BiB: Moving beyond the Redskins, what do you think is the biggest threat or issue facing the NFL these days, and what does it mean for the future of the league?
Rich: Well, the injuries - especially concussions - are already having an effect on the game, and I don’t think anyone knows what’s going to happen with that in the future. I guess a lot flags we’ve been seeing so far this season are related to protecting players (all the holding calls against the skin’s O-line notwithstanding). The constant stoppage for penalties is definitely slowing down the game it making it less enjoyable. Hopefully they get it sorted out.
BiB: I know you like music and play a little bit of guitar. Can you give us some tips on some decent bands or songs that you like?
Rich: I’ve got nothing remotely interesting I say for this one. I’m still listening to the same old stuff I was 20 years ago.
Not only am I not the only Redskins fan in Bangkok; I’m not even the only one in my office. It seems that, in addition to our choice in football teams, Rich and I listen to the same music as well.
I hope you enjoyed a quick look at living and watching football in Southeast Asia.
If you decided to live outside of North America, which of the following cities would you most likely want to live in?
This poll is closed
Rio de Janeiro
I’d never want to leave the USA