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Posted at 1:30 PM ET, 11/19/2010

Being a fan - the long view

By Jason Woodmansee

I arrived in Washington, D.C., in 1989, as a freshman at The George Washington University and a man without a football team. My dad was a baseball guy, and as a young kid, I just followed whatever team was popular at the time. This did lead to a brief flirtation with the Dallas Cowboys in the late 70’s, but I lost interest in them just like I lost interest in the plaid pants my mom made me wear. (Alas, my brother was not so fortunate - he’s still a Cowboys fan. It’s an embarrassment to us all.)

My first roommate was a Browns fan, and he was the one that cared about football. I remember us writing a strongly-worded letter (yes, an actual letter - with a stamp) to Channel 4 when they didn’t show the Browns-Broncos matchup they had been advertising all week. Years later I realized that it was because a Redskins game must have blacked it out, but I’m still mad at WRC for not even writing to explain.

But as I read The Washington Post every day (another anachronism), I couldn’t help but follow the Redskins. During the 1990 season, I started actively rooting for them, even if I didn’t pay super close attention. I remember missing the Body Bag Game because I was having a fight with my then-girlfriend. By the time the 1991 season was getting started, I had made the official decision - I was a Redskins fan. I was going to try to watch every game that year. I got a schedule that had been attached to a pizza box and posted in on my fridge, planning on tracking each game. As I filled out every “W” on that schedule, I got completely and irrevocably hooked.

April 1992, I now realize, was the high-water mark of my Redskins fandom. The Redskins drafted the Heisman trophy winner Desmond Howard, which just didn’t seem fair to the rest of the league. They had just won the Super Bowl and were now getting one of the greatest prizes in the draft? They would probably win three or four more Super Bowls!

Of course, from that moment on, the Redskins have mostly disappointed me. Howard being a bust, Joe Gibbs retiring (the first time), Richie Pettibon, the long rebuilding process under Norv Turner, the 2000 free agent bonanza, Martyball, Spurrier, the death of Sean Taylor, Joe Gibbs retiring (the second time), the Audacity of Zorn. We’ve endured a lot of the last 18 years.

I spent this week thinking about things and looking back. I read the very convincing articles that the Redskins should not have traded for McNabb. I watched the clip of Fat Albert lying down on the field instead of trying. I even thought about writing an article saying the Redskins should try to sign Mike Vick in the offseason. This made my wife apoplectic. "I am sick of your whining," she said. "Be a fan. Support your team. Do you want Tony Romo when his collarbone heals? Should we see if Eli Manning is available? It's Shanahan's first year. Maybe it will be better, maybe it won't. But don't expect miracles or look at players on other teams. Suck. It. Up."

You know what? My wife, who I'm contractually obligated to say is right, is right. Being a fan is a long road and it doesn't make sense to overreact to one game. I'm going to try to take it easy. Of course, if Chris Johnson torches the Redskins for 300 yards I may start going crazy on Jim Haslett and the stupid 3-4 defense, but let’s take things one step at a time...

By Jason Woodmansee  | November 19, 2010; 1:30 PM ET
Categories:  Jason Woodmansee, Redskins  | Tags:  Jason Woodmansee, Redskins  
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That last Redskins' Super Bowl win was when I was in high school. Leading up to that point in my young life, I can be forgiven for thinking I lived in a winning town. The Redskins won three Super Bowls in my childhood. The Bullets (my father's favorites) won a title when I was young. My boyhood idol led our hometown (then, anyway) Orioles to a World Series win. That's five championships before I turned 18. And I'm not even counting the Hoya's winning a title behind Ewing.

I'm as disappointed as anyone about the sorry state of DC sports. But I'm a grown man. I'll get over it. Who I really feel bad for is the kids in town who've never had a winner. Please won't someone think of the children, etc.

Posted by: bryc3 | November 19, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

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