I always knew there was a reason why my family loves the Redskins, and I learned exactly what that reason was on Sunday. After sitting in the rain at FedEx Field for the entire ‘Skins/Bucs game, I learned something about life: I learned it takes heart and hard work to be good at losing.
Even though we had club level tickets, with the option of sitting inside, I knew it would be sacrilegious for me to be with my brother and not sit outside. Nick would have taken it as a personal insult to the Redskins.
So, we stayed outside in the rain. Nick and my sister-in-law Joanie braved the rain during every single moment of play in the game, and I only chickened out of the cold for a few minutes myself. Like a true fan, Nick smiled and jumped with every victory and was depressed with every botched play.
In the Blackwell family, the Redskins aren’t just a team, they are a way of life. We are serious fans: my one Uncle Joe played in the ‘Skins’ band for decades, my other Uncle Joe tailgates every game with a Redskin’s painted RV and a crew of 50, and every Sunday in my family rotates around what time the ‘Skins game starts.
When the ‘Skins botched a brilliant opportunity to tie-up the game in the last few seconds, the crowd moaned, groaned, booed and ran out of the stadium. My brother Nick did not move from his seat.
There were 9 seconds left in the game, and his loyalty to the team was expressed in supporting them every second, no matter how disastrous. Nick said something that stuck with me during those 9 seconds as he encouraged me to sit back down. He said that the admirable thing about the Redskins is that there is no other team in the NFL that puts so much heart and effort into losing. There is something venerable about that.
No matter how bad things get, you have nothing to lose by keeping on keeping on. And so it is for the ‘Skins — they put their heart out on the field, and often it gets crushed, but nevertheless, they never stop trying; and, more importantly, their fans never give up on them. It’s a lesson we all could learn.