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I love football.
I mean, I FUCKING LOOOOOOVE football with the fire of a thousand suns. The beers, the weather, the tailgates, the hopes, the dreams, the eats, the treats, the general merriment, the freight train of a hangover that holds you hostage each Monday… Jesus, I could go all night.
My annual wave of Euphoria arrives like clock work every year right around Labor Day. It’s unparalleled. It’s American as shit. It is, as the Romans say, “everything.” Yet, it has its limitations. As pure and unadulterated as my affection for the game is, there has, for all of my nearly 28 years on this planet, been a shadow looming large and daunting over all that is sacred.
I’m speaking, of course, about my NFL team: The Washington football Redskins.
Yes, I’m one of those. I’m a Native northern Virginian whose incredulous and, largely asinine devotion to the dumpster fire that is the Skins is second only to the cosmic amount of shame I gulp down each time I feel even the most minimal amount of joy over a play that doesn’t result in negative yardage.
The Redskins are a caricature of themselves.
We’re still banging the drum of a storied legacy** that last hung a Super Bowl banner in nineteen hundred and ninety two while leaving the strewn, dismembered and defiled bodies of legions of would-be quarterbacks along the way and managing to grin a shit-eating grin through it all. We mortgaged the near future of our franchise on a college phenom whose muscle fibers are made of dry spaghetti noodles and who may or may not know how to differentiate primary colors.
Fuck Adidas and fuck your fiber glass skeletal structure, Bob.
Our front office probably, absolutely, definitely attempted to bribe Native American tribal leaders.
We payed Albert Haynesworth, prolific shit head, to not play football and be a prolific shit head.
Our stadium is literally a cement toilet in the middle of one of the most burnt out, run down areas of the DC area (big fucking area, mind you). When our owner isn’t busy filing down his forehead horns, he’s literally ruining people’s lives and doing everything even remotely possible to shake down his fan base for everything but grandmother’s fine china.
Not to mention, based on recent advances in bio-tech and genome research, Danny boy will be able to buy his own cryogenic freeze chamber and take ice naps for 20 years at a time. He’ll never die. He’ll still be charging $400 dollars for room temperature Bud light. He is actually Lazarus from the Bible.
Misery, thy name is Redskins nation.
So, I’m here to tell you that I, (redacted), am officially abandoning ship. I cannot, in good conscience or sound mind, continue to tread water in a sea of actual human tears. I cannot physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, philosophically or any -ally for that matter, do this any more. I am, for all intents and purposes, a refugee seeking asylum. I’m a pigskin Ronin in need of a master.
I need a new NFL team.
I’ve strongly considered several potential destinations that, up to this point, make a decent amount of sense.
The Ravens, for instance, could work. The proximity of my front door in northern VA to the inner harbor is better than any of the other 31 NFL teams. Fells Point and Camden are solid bar-hopping spots. My three bandmates are all Baltimore natives. Crab. Other foods with crab on top of it. Crab flavored things. The idea of crab. The Ray Rice incident aside (which was a fucking clown show), the Ravens also have a winning pedigree and an established on-field identity. There’s a Harbaugh patrolling the sidelines which at any given moment is either terrifying or mesmerizing or some weird marriage of the two.
Even Natty Boh is alright, as far as shittier beers are concerned.
The Broncos too are in a different conference, different division and happen to reside in an awesome city. Denver is a fantastic town. The climate there is favorable for all the outdoor activities and wearing the maximum amount of Patagonia while one walks his retriever/yellow lab/Australian shepherd. The food scene there is all about the lean, exotic proteins and is therefore epic. The Broncos win. Peyton Manning, while having a ribbon dancer for a throwing arm, is one of the greatest ever and an all-around incredible American. Denver, in short, knows no shortage of chill.
Then there are the New Orleans Saints. My best friend lives in New Orleans. Mardi Gras isn’t even the fourth best party that city hosts on an annual basis. It has probably the best food scene in the country. Have you seen some of the women there? Music there, my god, that city is oozing music from its pores. Drew Brees is always a threat in between the hashes and the Saints have a track record of winning football in a conference that’s about as hard to win as it is for Drake to fuck up someone’s afternoon. That is to say, not very.
New Orleans, I’ve found out, genuinely loves their football team and supports them.
I’m aware that a couple of these teams/cities/fan-bases are far flung. I 100 percent don’t give a shit. I have carte blanche, kids. This is square one. When you’re starting fresh, like I am, you don’t need to base your modus operandi on anything other than doing what you have to to find happiness.
For me, the path to happiness exists outside of the burgundy and gold. I’m fucking done, man. The newer and farther flung, the better. This is about making tough choices to enact necessary change.
Is this an easy decision? Far from it. I don’t want to divorce myself from the team I’ve followed my entire life. But I also don’t want to turn into a Ringwraith. I’d like to hold onto the human soul that I’ve no doubt tarnished via years of cheering on the goddamn devil.
Say it with me: THIS. IS. NECESSARY.
So, as I embark and begin my journey to find a new home, I welcome your comments/advice/disparaging remarks below. Help guide me. Invite me in, if you’re so inclined.
There is a promised land out there, and I’m going to find it. Until then, I can feel secure in the fact that I’m 100 percent married to my college team (Big XII champs this year, I promise) and that I don’t have a single Redskins player on my fantasy roster.
Dan Snyder and his ilk can have fun hanging out on the bridge of the death star, pulling the wings off of flies. One day congress is going to shoot a legislative proton torpedo down the block and rain glorious fire on that knob’s parade and the ensuing party will last for a week.
I’ll be watching it all happen from afar. Drink in hand and smile on my face, I’ll be clapping the slow clap of a man who walked away from a colossal, jet fuel garbage fire that has long cast its ashy glow over the Blue Ridge foothills. It’ll be righteous victory. Songs will be sung, laughs will be laughed, dreams and ACLs alike will remain intact.
It is, as they say, a beautiful dream. .
Image via miker / Shutterstock