In the 18 years since Joe Gibbs’ first retirement, the Washington Redskins’ combined record has been 124-168-1. That’s a winning percentage of 42%. Score a 42 on a test and you’ll receive an ‘F'; no grading curve will save you. During that time span, the Redskins posted a winning record in just five seasons – 2007, 2005, 1999, 1997, and 1996. They qualified for the playoffs three times – 2007, 2005, and 1999. The ‘Skins earned a .500 record three times – 2008, 2001, and 2000. That leaves ten years of losing records. Ouch.
Ten year-old Kyle Brewer has rooted for the Redskins his entire life. He’s been tempted to jump ship, asking his Mom why he should keep rooting for a team that hardly ever wins. He’s pondered rooting for the New Orleans Saints. They have a huge following in northern Mississippi, which is where Kyle and his family live.
If Master Brewer did make the switch, the Brewers would be a three-team family. His lovely Mom is a former Redskins’ cheerleader; his Dad (not as lovely) is a New York Giants’ fan. Actually, they’d be a four-team family – you have to count their beloved Arkansas Razorbacks. So, why not jump ship Kyle? That brings me back to Mom.
Being an NFL cheerleader doesn’t pay you enough to be worth mentioning. That didn’t prevent Kyle’s Mom from telling her parents when she was twenty-something that she was going to live with them and cheer for the Redskins rather than get a real job. A native of Montgomery County, MD, she joined the Redskinettes during Joe Gibbs’ first tenure. Can you imagine being on the sidelines as the ‘Skins racked up victory after victory and plowed their way through the playoffs? Can you imagine staring up at tens of thousands of fans as RFK Stadium shook on its foundation? What a rush! She felt that rush week after week, year after year. Sweet.
So, why hasn’t Kyle Brewer switched teams? It’s not as if he’ll be grounded or have his cell phone taken away if he does. Nope – Mom isn’t like that. She’s turned the discussion into a life lesson. She told Kyle that, by remaining loyal to the Redskins, he’s developing character. That’s right – you heard it here first – rooting for a perennial loser builds character. Mom may be onto something.
How much better would the world be if kids learned to be loyal and patient at a young age? How much better off would kids be if they learned to exercise wisdom before they reached their teen years, and learned to take a long-term view of life rather than an impetuous one? How much better, indeed. I like it. I like it a lot.
As I observed Kyle talking to his parents, I noticed how personable and bright he is. He won’t have any problem with the ladies when he’s older. Add to that wisdom, and the young man has a leg up on his peers. And who does young Kyle have to thank for that? His former Redskinette Mom, and the Redskins themselves. Warms the heart, doesn’t it?
I figure it’ll take Mike Shanahan two more years to transform the Redskins into a winner. They’ll be younger, faster, and hungrier. Maybe Clinton Portis is right – maybe they’ll play scared. Whatever it takes. So Kyle, heed your Mom’s advice. Hang in there at least through the 2012 season. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll be on your way to a bright future fueled by the knowledge that you’re able to tough it out when the goin’ gets rough. You’re a part of Redskins’ nation sir – we’re toughing it out with you. And Mom, don’t you dare give into temptation and go over to the dark side to root for Dallas. The very thought of that gives me a stomach ache.
I’ll end on a light note. It’s amazing how much the Redskins’ cheerleaders’ uniforms have changed since the Redskinettes were founded in 1962. Today they’re called the First Ladies of Football. And today more than ever, they put the ‘skin’ in Redskins. Take a gander …
1962 squad –
1989 squad –