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Final FedEx Lot Thoughts

Jay Wills, Mike Hall and Josh Shunk, monks all.

Let's face it, love them or hate them, the DTC (see below) are a bit crass. Let's step back and visit with some equally earnest but considerably less crass Redskins fans: The Redskin Monks.

If you've been to a Redskins game in the past two decades, you've likely seen some of these guys, who, since 1985, have dressed up in burgundy and gold monk robes but have left their incense at home. The gimmick was originally a tribute to Art Monk, when he still played. Now, it's but one more bead on the "Put Monk In the Hall" prayer chain. The faces have changed; the three Monks I talked to on Sunday were all relatively recent converts. The robes change too; the newer models used on Sunday only had fleece arms, keeping the unseemly sweating to a minimum. (It's hot out there for a monk.) But the religious imagery holds strong; the Monks' MySpace page calls them the "Keepers of the Faith," and Jay Wills used much the same language on Sunday when speaking of his devotion.

"We just come here and try to preach his praises," said Wills, one of about a half-dozen active monks.

The founder, Joe Junkin aka "Papa Monk," is a bit ill now, which is why the younger generation has stepped up to keep that flame burning. Anyone who thinks younger Americans are not properly devoted to social causes need only talk to these guys on a Sunday afternoon to have your faith renewed.

"How is the all-time receptions leader not in the Hall?" Josh Shunk asked.

"I mean, look at his stats, look at what he's accomplished in the game," Mike Hall agreed.

"How he keeps getting passed up is mind-boggling," Wills finished. "He's a class act, and Michael Irvin...."

Well, you can probably guess what they think about Michael Irvin. I know smarty-pants intellectuals have long compared sports fandom with religious devotion, but frankly, it doesn't get much more explicit than this. I never managed to ask about celibacy, but I did wonder just why Hall of Fame entrance for a long-retired player would be enough to cause young men to wear massive robes in a steamy asphalt lot.

"It's worth it," Wills said. "It's for the love of the Redskins, man. It's for the love of the fans."

Before I put Sunday to rest, I would highly urge you to visit Chris Mottram's site, for some tremendous photos and a video of a motorcycle gas-powered blender. And I wanted to include this photo of a $10 t-shirt; similar shirts were much in evidence. I watched a man attempt to barter the price down to $8.50. You really start to think at NFL football games. In this case, I was thinking about how the t-shirt salesman does at, say, happy hours.

Ain't that America.

Girl: So what do you do for a living?
Guy: I sell profane t-shirts about visiting teams in NFL parking lots. Some of the letters are bleeped out.
Girl: Wow, wanna come back to my place?

By Dan Steinberg  |  September 25, 2007; 10:28 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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