Scenes From Fan Appreciation Day
There was no mass chaos at Redskins Park on Saturday. The team said it more than doubled the number of parking spaces from a year ago, and that Loudoun County tripled the number of officers directing traffic. Fans who came in close to the 1:15 or so start time told me it took them about a half-hour longer than it would have with no traffic, which isn't too bad. On the other hand, the team claimed there were 29,000 people here; if that's true, then the Nats are in the midst of a 10-game sellout streak.
Anyhow, without stories of traffic woe to relate, here are a few other vignettes from Fan Appreciation Day. They're not really about football. I'll leave that to the Redskins Insider.
If you were on the wrong side of the wall, and you had a pulse and a writing hand, you were asked for an autograph. Among the people I saw who were asked to sign, Minister of Accuracy Larry Michael, Redskins.com blogger Matt "Mr." Terl, Chief Zee, Ethan Albright, Danny Smith, many cheerleaders, me, and the wives of Chris Cooley and DeAngelo Hall.
"Kind of weird, huh?" Christy Cooley said as she signed a football.
"My little claim to fame," Jada Hall said. "I am just in total amazement. This is crazy how much these fans love the Redskins."
Still irritated by the DC Wants Vick folks from the opening day of camp, Charles Scites left College Park at 5 a.m, nabbed a front-row spot, and proudly displayed his sign in support of Campbell. The TV cameras flocked, and the fans obliged with "Camp-bell, Camp-bell" chants.
[Of course, Colt Brennan still got louder cheers than Campbell in pre-game intros.]
"All Jason saw the first time was DC Wants Vick, and I'm a Campbell lover," Scites said. "We need to boost up his ego, baby, boost up his ego. Gotta have faith."
On the first play of the scrimmage, Campbell ran out of bounds, and a fan near Scites yelled out "We want Vick, we want Tebow!" But that's being negative. Anyhow, Scites was about the fourth person, including Joe Bugel, to tell me he bleeds burgundy and gold.
I expressed doubt.
"I got some mustard in my back pocket," he said. "I'll mix that in. Ketchup and mustard, baby, burgundy and gold."
"Bleed burgundy, [urinate] gold," someone else suggested.
I've previously written about rookie undrafted free agent Doug Dutch, from Gonzaga, and his family's great love for the Redskins. Well, the family showed up, 14-strong today, with homemade t-shirts to match. [Read more here.]
Doug Dutch Sr. called his son's arrival "the ultimate, but we'd rather see him on that 53."
At this, his wife Veronica approached. She told me that her husband had long wished for this, once saying that if Doug made the Skins, "just give me a cold glass of water and then throw that dirt on me, because I'll be ready to go."
"But then I had to ask the Lord to forgive me," explained the elder Dutch, who was wearing Redskins sneakers. "I didn't really mean that, because I want to see him on the field now."
The Dutch clan is bringing 27 to the Ravens game next week. Also posing for photos were Chase Daniel's relatives, who came in for the weekend. "Unbelievable," Bill Daniel, his dad, said. "Surreal. Man, you could hear people yelling his name. It was really cool. It was really neat."
One gang of fans who all shared the same birthday gathered together at the very front of the crowd. At least two of them were seeking kisses from Jason Campbell.
"But if I can get a kiss from Santana, that'd be even better," Deana Bowers said on her 21st. "I'd pass out. I'd need somebody to catch me. I just hope it's him that catches me."
Also in the crowd was Sharon Collins, and Dennis Price, whose daughter wanted a kiss from Chris Cooley.
"I'll kiss his wife, if he doesn't get mad," said Price, who turned 45 on Saturday.
Anyhow, after the scrimmage, there were hordes seeking autographs of everyone, from Ethan Albright to Campbell. Richelle Manansala was yelling to Shaun Suisham that he's her favorite player; "because he's so cute," she later told me. She had him sign her shirt in a spot that required a delicate touch. I asked Casey Rabach if fans ever said he was their favorite; "yeah, the guy that cleans the toilets in there," he joked, nodding toward the locker room.
Anyhow, I caught back up with Collins, one of the birthday girls, and she reported that she had gotten a peck on the cheek from Sellers.
"I just about lost my breath," she said.
"A lot of people take it for granted; I don't," Sellers said. "I appreciate the fans."
Posted by: richelle18 | August 9, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse
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