In February, I wrote a piece about a dedicated Redskins fan, Michael “Big Mike” Young. For those of you that aren’t familiar with Mr. Young, I’ll give you a recap.
Michael Young is 48 years old and hasn’t lived your average life. At the age of 21, Young was involved in an automobile accident in southern Prince George’s County that left him for dead on the side of Route 4.
I died three times, twice in the helicopter that took me to the hospital and once inside of P.G. Hospital.
Michael has since been through years of agonizing physical rehabilitation after suffering partial paralysis on the right side of his body, all the while completing more than 4,000 hours of community service. I met Michael as a security guard. He would roll through at least twice a week and talk Redskins with me for a little longer than my then-supervisor may have liked. He would also personally say hello to every singe person that passed him by. He imparted some wisdom on me that I won’t soon forget. He told me that “you never know when you’re going to need somebody’s help.” So he treats everybody as if they are his friends. If you haven’t read my previous article, then you may be wondering where I’m going with this. Well, I decided that Michael’s story was a compelling one and wanted to spread the word about him and his positive message (thank God he was a Redskins fan). I had found out that he was actually featured in the Washington Post, for helping to dig out his friends during a snow storm at his apartment complex. I also found out that he was featured in his employer’s in-house magazine, for his hard work and dedication to the job. Michael revealed many amazing things to me, until he said something to me that I couldn’t believe.
We began to talk about the Redskins and their great teams of the eighties. Michael was a huge fan of Art Monk and Darrell Green. I told him about my first experiences at FedEx field and then proceeded to ask him about his experiences seeing the Redskins live.
Here’s an excerpt of our conversation:
I asked him if he’d ever seen the Redskins play at FedEx Field. His answer was no. Surely then he must have seen the team back in it’s heyday at RFK Stadium, right? Again, he replied “nope”- I didn’t know what to say. He then told me about his favorite players in Art Monk and Darrell Green, when the Redskins beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XXII, and how Doug Williams was “one hell of a quarterback.” He talked to me about his new Ryan Kerrigan jersey and how he would always just watch the game at home. When I asked him why he had never been to a game before he responded simply “because nobody had ever asked.”
I couldn’t believe it, so I had to ask why.
When you get hurt, sometimes other people don’t want to see you. It’s like you have a disease they can catch. When you’re alone, you can get down, and then you’re not going anywhere. People need to keep in touch.
After that, I had no choice but to get Mike to a game. As a true fan of the sport, I believe everybody has the right to see their team play. You have the right to see the game played as it was meant to be, by professionals. I’m not a saint, or representing a cause, or trying to gain anything by doing this (other than a little notoriety for a well-deserving fan). So, the first opportunity I had to get tickets, we made it happen.
After 47 years of self-proclaimed fanhood, Michael Young took that metro ride to Morgan Boulevard and made that trek to FedEx Field as I followed on foot. He got to his seat, in the pouring rain, and had a $9 beer and a $7 italian sausage while watching the burgundy and gold warm up down on the field. These trivial things don’t matter much to those of us that frequent Danny’s house, but to him it was everything. What Michael didn’t know was that he was helping me much more than I was helping him. Almost a year ago to the date, I had lost my father to heart disease before we had a chance to see the Redskins together live. Mike reminded me of my father in the way that he was kind to everybody, regardless of circumstance, and an ultimate supporter of his Redskins. Seeing our boys take on the Colts was beneficial to both of us and just another step in the healing process. (I’ve probably divulged a little more than most sports bloggers would at this point, but hey, this is a “personal piece”, right?)
Michael also requested a few personal shoutouts.
He wanted me to let his mother know that he loved her and was thankful for everything that she does. He also wanted to recognize his coworkers at Holy Cross Hospital in Montgomery County, Maryland, for all of their hard work. His final request was to make sure that Paul was mentioned for being a great friend.
The next step is to get Michael to a regular season game, hopefully before it gets too cold. If you have any thoughts for Big Mike, you can send us an email at [email protected]. I hope you all have enjoyed my sincere thoughts and we appreciate you tuning in!