September is quickly approaching, and that can only mean one thing: My one year anniversary…No, wait, my wife’s birthday…Hold on, I mean FOOTBALL.
For some, it’s a time of the year where you can pull out your old jersey with the numbers flaking off, grab your trusty, worn out slouch cap and sit back in a comfortable recliner with your favorite beer to watch your team dominate their division each and every week.
For all others, it’s that time of year when you go out and buy a new jersey because you are certain that this is the year for your team. A new jersey brings new hope. This is the year your team will win it all. Super Bowl bound.
It’s a great feeling to have at the beginning of the season. But it hurts when you begin to realize that after week 4, your team’s chances of making it to the playoffs are slim to none.
“Playoffs? Are you kidding me? Playoffs? We’re just trying to win a game!”
Football season frustrates me beyond belief. It’s frustrating because as many of you may care to know, I’m a Washington [Insert Color Here]skins fan. Need I say more?
Side Note: I read somewhere that the owner of the Washington [Insert Color Here]skins is suing people for defamation when using his team name. Therefore, since I know this post won’t be all glitz and glamour as the common folk say, I will have to refer to them as the Washington [Insert Color Here]skins. Apologies for its break in fluency while reading a lackluster post :End Note.
Growing up as a [Insert Color Here]skins fan was, needless to say, tough. As far back as I can remember, my father preached the holy gospel of the Monk (Art that is) and spilled the hymn of Hail to the [Insert Color Here]skins! It was embedded in my DNA at the hospital the day I was born. I imagine it went something like this:
“Doctor, the procedure must be done now, time is running out,” my father said.
“Alright team, Operation [Insert Color Here]skins has been initiated. Begin phase 1 of burgundy and gold injection,” Dr. Gibbs replied.
“Phase one complete, Doc.”
“That’s great news! Initiating phase 2. Fire up the engines for [Insert Color Here]skins download. Almost there, the history is rich. This may take a while. Operation [Insert Color Here]skins was a success. Congratulations, Bobby, your son is now brainwashed. He will bleed burgundy and gold forever!”
I’m not a rocket scientist, nor have I been to Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, but I am certain this operation took place. It had to take place. My father is infatuated with the [Insert Color Here]skins, and his love for the team has permeated down the family tree; systematically placed in our central nervous system.
I’ve only seen my father cry twice, when his dad died and when the [Insert Color Here]skins lost in the playoffs of 1999.
My sister and I had to be a [Insert Color Here]skins fan growing up in the Bean, Sr. house. Cheering for another team was not an option. I remember coming home one day and telling my father I liked the 49ers because one of my cousins liked them. Ten minutes later my clothes were on the lawn, a cab was waiting for me and I was saying my goodbyes to the family.
But in all seriousness, my father would threaten to kick me out of the house if I didn’t like the [Insert Color Here]skins. I would like to think he was joking, but looking back on it, I’m not so sure. Therefore, to save myself from being homeless at the tender age of 11, I decided I should probably like the [Insert Color Here]skins.
And boy did I? My father took me to several games as a kid. I can remember my first game like it was 16 years ago. It was at RFK and the [Insert Color Here]skins were playing against the St. Louis Rams. This was back when the Rams had the bright blue and yellow uniforms and just relocated from LA. We were about 20 rows from the field and the stadium was literally shaking from all of the cheering.
I followed suit with my father to FedEx field, where the [Insert Color Here]skins currently play today. Around the age of 16, my father bought me a season ticket to the [Insert Color Here]skins. What a treat! I was able to go to every [Insert Color Here]skins home game to cheer on a team I grew up with.
It was around this age that I began to develop a passionate interest in the sport, picking up tidbits of knowledge here and there for the daily cafeteria sports argument at school. I was falling in love with the [Insert Color Here]skins.
I didn’t know a lot about football at this time (I still don’t know a lot about football). All I knew was that the [Insert Color Here]skins were signing some of the biggest names on the market, which to me, sounded like the Super Bowl was a sure shot every year. The [Insert Color Here]skins would go after the biggest and most well-known names, regardless of their fit in the [Insert Color Here]skins organization.
I bought into it. Every [Insert Color Here]skins fan bought into it. Many die-hard [Insert Color Here]skins fans wanted to relive the magic from the 80′s and 90′s. I wanted to experience the magic; the glory of my favorite sports team winning the ultimate prize in their profession.
We supported the cause the owner put forth. We bought season tickets; we ordered the hottest jerseys and signed up for the lengthy season ticket waiting lists in hopes of one day owning our own season tickets.
We did our part. We bought into the product the owner was selling us. And what did we get in return? Ten years of being a crap shoot team in the NFL. Ten years of high hopes built on empty promises.
That’s been the culture of consumption in Washington. Spend a lot of money on useless players and expect the [Insert Color Here]skins fans to buy into it. We can only blame ourselves. And it has taken this long for [Insert Color Here]skins fans to realize that the owner has been pulling our leg and leading us down a dark path. A path only traveled by a few teams (insert Raiders here).
But now, I think the owner is starting to see the other side of things (fingers crossed). Perhaps he is starting to realize that if he can’t put a product worth selling on the field, people won’t buy it. This is evident in the lack of ticket sales for this season and the amount of disgust voiced all over blogs/forums across the nation.
A [Insert Color Here]skins revolution is happening, my football fanatic friends. And with this billion dollar industry called the NFL, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Give it time for the process to take place and unfold. It WILL happen…Eventually. The [Insert Color Here]skins will win a Super Bowl sooner rather than later. Laugh all you want, but it will eventually happen.
I believe this not because I’m a brainwashed [Insert Color Here]skins fan, but because it’s part of the NFL cycle. All teams will go through this phase and all teams will eventually prevail (unless you’re the Bills). It takes time and a lot of mistakes to get things right.
I will always remember what my father drilled in my head as a kid; Joe Gibbs created the earth and populated the empty terrain with the [Insert Color Here]skins, Jesus is a [Insert Color Here]skins fan, and that I should, “Remain calm. All is well;” you know, things of that nature.
Until then, fight on for victory, Washington [Insert Color Here]skins…Or at least a .500 season .
Regards – RJ