Washington Redskins fans are amongst the most loyal in all of professional sports. This is proven by the simple fact that they still have fans despite two decades of overwhelming disappointment. Regardless, those who bleed burgundy and gold continue to pack FedEx Field and overwhelm the Nation’s Capital.
Like all fans of a downtrodden franchise, only two things keep them coming back for more: hope for a better tomorrow, and the continued loyalty of those around them. See, going through a trying time can often be one of the most important experiences of our lives. The people that help us through and the lessons we learn along the way somehow shed that sour taste over time and eventually are the cherry on top of our already delicious bowl of success.
Having been a diehard fan since I was six years old, this understanding has been my ray of light. However, there can come a time when that joy is threatened…in the most subtle way.
Robert Griffin III is—without question—the best thing to happen to the Redskins in a long time. Earlier this week he made headlines for having the NFL’s top-selling jersey. I couldn’t believe it. My quarterback has a league-wide following. I was simultaneously elated and terrified.
You see, the worst thing in sports is a bandwagon fan. These people show up when times are good, share in all the excitement and then bail once times get tough. They are the sports equivalent of a gold digger. If you’re more of a visual learner, just tune into the Eastern Conference Finals. The most recent “bandwagon fan” is starring right now as one of the many white shirts filling the stands in Miami. Some of you may also remember an old friend who “suddenly became more of a Ravens fan” around the turn of the century. Ugh…Ravens fans.
Luckily, those of us who root for the teams nobody ever plays with in “Madden” don’t have to worry about this phenomenon. At least, not until the national spotlight falls upon us and the media starts predicting success in the future. This triggers something inside the heads of vulturing, opportunistic, morally corrupt fans and leads them to start infiltrating our club. Remember, the most dangerous bandwagon fans are the first ones to jump on board.
Like those who “saw that band play at a bar in Boise before they blew up,” we cling to our loyalty and despise those who reap the benefits of our continued support without having to endure the pain. RG3’s popularity is absolutely a blessing for Redskins fans and something that I truly love. However, if Superman Socks lives up to his incredible hype, people are going to come flocking.
Mentally, Redskins fans need to be aware of this. When the guy at the table next to you wearing an RG3 jersey and “Catch Your Dream” socks is in between ordering shots and giving you high-fives, be sure to do a little digging. Ask him if he thinks Tim Hightower is a better version of Ladell Betts. Ask him what his favorite Jim Zorn face was (which is obviously a trick question, “confused” was the only face Zorn had).
If he responds by saying something like, “Doesn’t matter man, we got RG3 now.” Then you know. Now, I’m not saying take him for a drive as your wife reminds you not to forget the cannoli…just keep your distance.
We Redskins fans are going to be faced with a much different obstacle in the fall. This year, instead of the product on the field making us nauseous, we must be wary of those amongst us. We’ve waited for this moment too long to let some NFL nomad buy low on our stock. It’s up to us to keep our fandom pure. RG3 is ours. The youth movement and excitement about the future is ours. Now it’s up to us to preserve it.
Follow Me on Twitter: @TeamVip33