Everyone meet my nephew, Grant. He is six years old, his favorite activities include riding his bike and swimming but most importantly, he is a HUGE Redskins’ fan (or at least he is well on his way to becoming one).
I’m not talking about how your average six-year old football fan. I am not talking ‘Burgundy & Gold spirit day at school, extra Twinkies in the cafeteria, I’m wearing my Dad’s old Michael Westbrook jersey today’ fan. I’m talking ‘already calling defensive formations, he knows more about football stats than his parents, rocking my own new RGIII authentic jersey’ kinda fan.
A chip off the ole Williams’ block, if I do say so myself. He is going to make a lot of money one day schooling fools at bars on bets placed on useless Redskins trivia. And as his uncle, I couldn’t possibly be more proud.
Understanding the level little Granty’s fanhood, I was taken aback a few days ago when my sister (Grant’s Mom) told me Grant was inconsolable after the Monday Night spanking at the hands of the Eagles. The loss was so upsetting, he was in tears after the game.
Ah, you have much to learn, young grasshopper.
I remember the days when Redskins’ loses used to break me down. So many Sunday afternoons of my childhood were ruined by Richie Petitbon or Norv Turner. But learning to deal with disappointment is part of being a Redskins’ fan (and life in general). Being a fan of the Burgundy & Gold isn’t easy or fun. Its a roller coaster ride filled with rises and falls and usually leaves you feeling a little nauseous, but in a good way. The sooner he knows, the better off he will be.
I’d like to pass this knowledge along to my young nephew (as well as a few other tidbits).
1. ABANDON ALL HOPE. Every last ounce. Don’t catch feelings because having hope as a Redskins fan gets your heart broken.
2. Its Burgundy & Gold, not Maroon & Black. Don’t be a buffoon like Jim Zorn. Breaking this rule is punishable by a swift karate chop to the jugular.
3. Not only learn all the words to Hail to the Redskins, but don’t screw up the “Beat ‘Em! Swamp ‘Em! Touchdown,!l Let The Point Soar,” part. You have to be able to belt out the fight song fearlessly like a drunk at the Karaoke bar.
4. When you’re old enough to vote, you would give serious consideration, regardless of political affiliation, to voting for Joe Gibbs if his name appeared on the Presidential ballot (using him as a write-in is acceptable).
5. You have to use ‘Redskins’, ‘Warpath’ or ‘TonyRomoSux’ as your e-mail password at some point in life .
6. You have to know what the term ‘70 Chip‘ refers to without using an internet search engine or phoning a friend.
7. You have to learn to love Joe Theismann the player, but also must tolerate Joe Theismann the sideline commentator/tanned douche bag.
8. You weren’t alive to experience it, but just know that RFK > FedExField. Trust me on this. RFK was cold, dank and musty. It was a undersized and out dated dump of a stadium, but has more heart and personality than 10 FedEx’s. Don’t believe me? Ask your grandpa Vaughn and uncle Chris how epic those games down on the Anacostia were.
9. You have to have at least one piece of Redskins memorabilia in your car when you get your Driver’s Licence…
10. …and in you office when you get your first real job…
11. …and in your casket when your die (sorry, just took it too far. Moving on).
12. Not only do you take no guilt, but you enjoying watching this over and over again
13. You have to have a go-to-beer man at FedExField (or whenever the Skins are playing home games when you turn 21).
14. Whenever you stop thinking that girls have cooties and you get interested in females, understand that wearing a Pink Redskins’ jersey is a break-up-able/divorcable offense (Women of Washington Breast Cancer Awareness being the only exception).
15. You have to be one of Clinton Portis‘ alter-ego’s for Halloween at least once (my favorite is Kid Bro Sweets, but the choice is yours).
16. You can’t feel any sense of shame starting or participated in at least one “We Want Dallas” chant in a place that is not exactly Redskins appropriate.
17. Richard Sherman got what was coming to him. Don’t let anyone tell you different.
18. Redskinettes > Cowboys Cheerleaders.
19. Develop a deep hatred of the Cowboys’ Triplets. I don’t care if you end up marrying Emmitt Smith’s granddaughter. Learn to live with the hate.
20. You have to know who the Hogs were
21. You have to know who the Fun Bunch were
22. You have to know who the Over The Hill Gang were
23. The following years have meaning, even though you weren’t alive: 1982, 1987 & 1991.
24. Its okay for you to wear 21 in Pee Wee league, but not okay to see it worn by another Redskin. Respect the deceased by honoring their legacy.
25. I don’t care if they’re not in our division. I don’t care if the Redskins only play them once every four seasons. The Baltimore Ravens are your rival. You must hate them with the red-hot passion of 20,000 burning Suns.
26. Doesn’t dare utter the name Albert Haynesworth. It’s a cuss word around these parts…
27. …same goes for Heath Shuler…
28. …same goes for Jeff George…
29. …same goes for Adam Archuleta, TJ Duckett, Mark Carrier, Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Brandon Lloyd, Antwaan Randle El, Donovan McNabb…
30. …and same ESPECIALLY goes for Jim frickin’ Zorn
31. You have to learn to laugh at yourself and how dumb your team can be. I did.
32. Although it feels wrong, it is always okay to debate a Cowboys fan in an inappropriate setting (church, business meeting, funeral, etc.)
33. If you haven’t already signed a petition to get Brian Mitchell in the Hall of Fame, please do so immediately.
If you can’t find one, start one.
If you don’t know who Brian Mitchell is, then I think I need to have a SERIOUS discussion with my sister and brother-in-law about how they’re raising their kids.
34. Get your hands on a Sean Taylor 21 Towel and never lose it (Don’t worry, I have extras. I’ll hook you up with one).
35. You spend a portion of your day watching RGIII highlights on YouTube
36. …cheer at the YouTube clips as if they were live television (don’t be embarrassed. I do it all the time).
38. If the Redskins lose Sunday, you’re emotionally unavailable until Wednesday…
39. …if it’s a divisional game, make it Thursday…
40. …and if its Dallas, then your week is pretty much over already. Have yourself a juice box, i’ll have myself a double Jack & ginger and we’ll both move on.
41. You always have a ‘Crack Kills’ joke ready in the holster for the thirsty Michael Irvin fans…
42. …or a ‘Just For Men’ joke for Emmitt Smith.
43. It is okay to make an off-color joke about Tony Romo and not feel bad about it.
44. Add the terms “Cerratos”, “Cerratoed” or “Cerratoing” (meaning “To mess something up in an irresponsible and incompetent manner”) to your vocabulary.
-Example: “I really didn’t study for the test. I totally Cerratoed it.”
45. You have to have a pet, car or child named after a Redskin. Any combination of the three will do, but all three is ideal.
46. I taught you about Griffining last year. Do it as often as you can. It isn’t old until YOU decide its old.
47. Remember what I said about laughing at your own team’s stupidity?
48. We don’t acknowledge the Steve Spurrier era. At all. It didn’t happen. No Fun ‘n’ Gun offense. No visor. No nothing. You understand me, boy?
49. If you ever find yourself engaged in a ‘the Redskins should change their name’ debate, do yourself a favor and walk away. It’s like debating religion or politics. It’ll go no where. Trust me.
50. Most importantly, forget what I said about rule No. 1. KEEP THE HOPE. Being a Redskins fan is one of the more frustrating thing I’ve endured in my 29 years on Earth, but for some reason, I come back every Fall wanting more. Once you’re a Redskins’ fan, you’re one for life. You’re part of one of the best fan bases in football now. Take pride no matter how bleak things get. Its a great feeling. Enjoy it.