It all began on Saturday night as I headed to Roanoke to meet with my friend Jeff. We were driving to D.C. to take in the Redskins came against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon.
We were really looking forward to seeing the legendary Brett Favre. Happily, he was still standign this week even though he has multiple injuries and is 41 years old, ancient for a quartback in the National Football League.
I made a quick stop at the bank, then moved toward the highway which led to Interstate 81. This road, 460, was a parking lot.
I couldn’t even get on the highway. A saw a line of cars, like a snake, lined up under the underpass on the ramp leading in.
I knew it couldn’t be the crowd leaving the Virginia Tech football game. That match had ended over two hours before.
Smart as I am, I stayed on 460 Business and went past the mall, on into downtown Christiansburg. I went toward I-81 from the south, drove onto the ramp, and joined another parking lot.
It was a sea of red tailights as far as I could see. I couldn’t even get off on the next exit ramp.
I was in the far left hand lane and the other lanes were packed. Even if I could have moved over, the long service road leading to the exit was packed as well.
So I sat and sat, inching along with the traffic. Almost two hours later, I was still sitting.
Finally, I passed the scene of the accident. The only remaining vehicle was up on a platform truck and there was a little debris in the road.
I was now home free. I arrived an hour and 15 minutes late to Jeff’s place, even though I had left an hour before the time we were supposed to meet.
Thankfully, although I saw more red taillights the next four hours, they moved. We arrived at my mother’s place about midnight, having had an uneventful journey.
The next morning we arrived at Fedex field outside of D.C. for the game. We parked about a mile from the stadium and walked.
There’s a huge church next to Fedex field as you walk in. There I had an introduction to the motif of the day; there were red pickup trucks in the parking lot.
There was an alternate color at the game if you weren’t into red. The opponent’s colors are purple.
We handed over our tickets and walked into the stadium. We made a stop at the Redskins Store. but didn’t buy anything. I couldn’t afford it and Jeff had some political reason for not giving his money over to these folks.
As I sat in my seat, I was impressed that there really wasn’t a bad seat in the house. And of course, I also was taken in by the amount of burgundy and gold everywhere.
Jeff told me that when the Redskins score, he has a tradition. He sings their fight song all the way through.
I am an old Redskins fan and know the tune well. I just couldn’t remember all the words. Here they are:
Hail to the Redskins!
Braves on the warpath
Fight for old D.C.!
Run or pass and score
We want a lot more
Beat ’em, swamp ’em, touchdown
Let the points soar
Fight on, fight on
‘Till you have won
Sons of Washington!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Hail to the Redskins!
Braves on the warpath
Fight for old D.C.
Fed Field in 360
In addition to the red color all around me, I began to see red because of another fan. He was I think somewhat inebriated. In his state, he sought to lead cheers in our section.
I wasn’t the only person in our section a little aggravated. A girl near us began to cuss him out under her breath, and the lady next to us way annoyed.
We got a chuckle out of him, though. He would run up and down the stairs, slapping high fives with us and anyone else who would give him a “backatcha”.
As the game wore on I began to appreciate him. At one point he was gone for a while, and our section became deadly quiet. I actually began to miss the enthusiasm and atmosphere he provided.
As I left, I gave him a fist pump and said,”Good job”. He replied,”Thanks for your support.”
Jeff later jokingly noted how self absorbed that response was, as if he were the show. In some ways, he was.
Our dedicated fan
We made good time out of the stadium and made it back to I-81 with hopes of going beddy pie at a decent hour. It was at I-81, of course, that I began to see red again.
Once again, the highway became a parking lot, several times in fact. The sea of red tailights stretched as far as the eye could see.
It got so bad that we finally got off onto Route 11 north of Harrisonburg in the Shenandoah Valley and took it most of the way back to Roanoke. We didn’t make any better time, but at least we were moving. I suppose the traffic we hit could be expected for a Thanksgiving weekend.
My one regret was that I missed seeing red in one fashion. I left my mother’s house before eating her delightful strawberry cream cake my mother had saved for me. I just forgot.
Just thinking about it makes me see red again.