One of my most memorable sports experiences was going to the first game following the death of the late great Sean Taylor. I remember entering Fedex Field on a cloudy and cold Sunday in December not knowing what to expect on the field.
I walked through the gate and grabbed the 21 towels they were handing out, a piece of memorabilia that is now gracing the walls in my room. The mood throughout the stadium was sollum, not upbeat like the previous games I had attended that year.
I walked towards my club level seat in my Sean Taylor jersey noticing how things just werent the same within the friendly confines of Fedex field. The weather seemed to match the mood of all 91,704 fans within the stadium, and other Redskins fans across the country.
Anyway, I took my seat as a video tribute began playing in remembrance of Sean Taylor. As quotes from teammates, and highlights and pictures flashed across the screen I found a tear or two streaming down the side of my face. A collection of his greatest hits began streaming across the screen as fans around the stadium began waving their 21 towels and cheering.
Never, have i felt more proud to be a Redskins fan.
Shortly later an emotional Redskins team took the field, only 5 days after the death of a teammate, friend, son, father and much more. The players donned a number 21 decal on their helmets and their jerseys. In the middle of a playoff push, that game against the Buffalo Bills was an important one.
I watched Santana Moss hold up his fingers representing Taylor's number 21 after making a catch. Fred Smoot cried several times after looking over at the position Sean Taylor should have been playing. After scoring the game's only touchdown, longtime friend and teammate Clinton Portis pulled up his jersey revealing a t-shirt that honored Taylor.
The Redskins lost by a last second, 36 yard field goal by Buffalo kicker Ryan Lindell.
Following a 'Skins loss fans can be very vocal on their way out of Fedex field. This time a silence fell across the fans as they exited Fedex field.
Playing and remembering was much more important that a loss on that day. Redskins cornerback Fred Smoot stated it best when he said, "I didn't show up to play this game. I showed up for a tribute for my friend, to send him out right."
The same goes for any Redskins fan that attended, or watced that December 2nd game. They didn't come for the game, they came to remember a player that was on a path to become one of the NFL's greats.
When he passed away I felt as if I lost one of my family members. I'm sure every other Redskins fan felt the same way. I will always remember Taylor as a player who always gave everything he had. You hear that expression passed around alot when describing a player, but he really did give every play his all. He always was around the ball, and played with a passion and intensity that is hard to match
And here we are, one year later after his death.
At Sunday's game against the New York Giants he will be inducted into the Redskins ring of honor as a way to tribute the late great safety.
Again, the Redskins are in the middle of yet another playoff push, with a vital game against the defending super bowl champion New York Giants. I will not be attending the game as I will be on the road Sunday, but I would give almost anything to be there with my Redskins family, supporting the players and my fellow fans as we pay tribute to the late great 21.
One thing is for sure, win or lose sunday, it will not matter. Rememberance is more important than any win.