The Hogettes in Canton
For Redskins fans, Russ Grimm's induction into the Hall of Fame is an excuse to break out the 1980s nostalgia. Thus, there are John Riggins jerseys and Hogs tchotchkes and Grimm t-shirts all over Canton.
There are also eight grown men dressed in dresses and pig snouts.
"It's a celebration for us," said Michael Torbert, aka Mikey T. Boss Hogette, who founded the Hogette crew 27 years ago. "Did I think we'd still be doing this in 2010? No, no, but we're having fun."
This story's been told as many times as the regurgitated hot dog, but hey, this is the weekend for nostalgia overdosage.
Torbert, a nuclear energy engineer from Fairfax, had a soft spot for the Hogs of the early '80s, and felt like they weren't getting enough recognition, especially outside of Washington. He figured if he and his buddies dressed up in weird costumes, that might help. Dresses and snouts, particularly. The costumes, minus the snouts, were supposed to be an homage to early NFL cheerleaders.
"Cheerleaders used to wear dresses," said Torbert, now 65. "They wear bathing suits now, and I'll tell you, you don't want to see these guys in bathing suits."
Anyhow, Torbert recruited 10 of his co-workers, buddies and friends, "guys I thought would have enough brass to go out in public in dresses." Some he just had to ask. Some he had to do more.
He recruited his neighbor Mike McCartney, a Giants fan, by taking away the ladder while McCartney was hanging a 20-foot 2x10 joist. McCartney agreed to go, without quite understanding what the costume entailed, but soon, he was dressing up in his wife's maternity dress, which remains his costume to this day.
Torbert and McCartney -- aka Big Mac Hogette -- both said they're in it for the charity appearances, but they also have maintained relationships with some of the original players. Grimm invited the eight Hogettes in Canton to attend the party being thrown in his honor Saturday night.
"It's about time the Hogs were recognized for all the contributions they made to the NFL," said McCartney, a 57-year old who works for the Postmaster General. "The whole NFL feared playing the REdskins. They would call a play, and the other team would know what they called, and they wouldn't care. They would run right at 'em anyhow. To me, that's what football's all about."
"The Hogs were the keystone back in '83," Torbert said. "They knocked people down and helped win football games. We haven't gotten back to that quality of line play since '92. You can't win without an offensive line."
There were 11 Hogettes at the beginning, and have been a total of 28 over the years: 13 are still active, and 15 are referred to as "missing links" -- they moved out of the area, or had too many kids, or got too busy. McCartney has gone through about 20 snouts. Torbert is on his fifth dress; the original, which he stole from his grandmother, "looks like a junkyard dog got a hold of it." Only four of the original members remain, none of whom imagined that they'd be doing this gimmick for nearly 30 years.
"No way dude," Torbert said. "I've had some people say we want to return to the '80s, but hey, we're in 2010. We don't want to return to the '80s, we want to return to winning ways. We're looking forward."
Posted by: destewar | August 9, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse
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