My last stop in my world record setting adventure was our nation’s Capitol for my final Monday Night Football game (this year at least) between the Redskins and Cowboys. I was beyond thrilled to end my trips with a primetime rivalry matchup. To kill time before the game I walked around The Mall and visited museums as admission was free. I dressed up, put on makeup, and dumbly wore heels for my day excursion. For some delusional reason, I thought I would meet an intelligent, sophisticated man in a museum and we would hit it off. I’d invite him to the game with me, and blah, blah, blah- we’d live happily ever after.
That was the dream, now let me tell you about the reality. My feet were sore after an hour of walking around and there were no single men out on a Monday- they were at work. What I did meet at the museums were tons of children on field trips. I need to be more specific on what age I want these single males to be next time. One moment at the Natural History Museum does bear repeating though and largely made up for my lack of soul mate meeting. A little boy ran by me in an exhibit yelling, “Boobies!” only to get grabbed and chewed out by his teacher. This made me laugh pretty hard because 1. Boys and their love of boobs- starts so young! and 2. I had sent a similar SnapChat to my friends ohhh maybe 10 minutes earlier. Gotta be more discreet next time little dude!
Fast forward a couple of hours of museums and sightseeing, my friend Chihil (his actual name is Nick) and I were on our way to the game via the Metro. If you read my previous blog, Ballparks on a Budget, you will remember him from both my Orioles and Nationals exploits as well as my off topic post about the 2012 Ohio State/Michigan game. Anyhoo, we took advantage of public transit and rode about 45 minutes to the Morgan Boulevard stop that’s about a mile walk from the stadium. Glad we opted to take the Metro over driving as it was heavily backed up with about two hours to kickoff. I was amazed at the traffic, as well as how many people were already tailgating as we crossed the lots next to the stadium. Single guys were not at museums or work it seems. They were all tailgating next to FedEx Stadium- noted.
Being America’s team and all, there were a ton of Cowboys fans present and the bases appeared to be cordial with one another- for now. Chihil and I approached the stadium and saw Marines collecting Toys for Tots and I immediately noticed a large sign on the stadium promoting the Purple Heart Foundation. After visiting all the other stadiums and seeing the pro-support your troops and military appreciation ceremonies, I’m not sure why this one felt so forced to me. Maybe it’s because this team is located in DC, it feels like an extension of the government or maybe it’s from knowing the organization is doing anything and everything to look good as the media rips them for their team name.
Let’s briefly turn to that for a moment. Washington Redskins. The name doesn’t offend me one bit, but I am no parts Native American. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why skin color of anyone is offensive. I work as a brand ambassador for a high-end cognac and am in urban bars almost every month. People address me as “white girl” all the time. Do I think it’s a little odd, yes because if I went around yelling “black girl/guy” at people I’d probably get beat up (by other white people), but am I offended- nope, not even a little. Also, these colors are so arbitrary- black, white, red, yellow- obviously a bro (won’t insult all guys here) came up with them because they’re so basic. I have seen zero people that are actually these colors, so find it odd anyone would take offense to being called a generic skin color. That being said, I also realize I don’t speak for everyone and all of our opinions are based on individual experiences and perceptions. Just because I believe something, doesn’t make it right/true, it just means it’s my opinion. If people in that community are truly offended, then change the name and let’s move on.
I do wonder once the “offensive” names and mascots are all gone (Indians, Chiefs, Braves- be on the lookout you’re next) how many Americans will even give pause to think about the Native American community and the real issues they’re facing. Do we as a country really care about the quality of life for people living on reservations or are we more concerned about appearing to care through a social media rant and catchy hashtag? What does eliminating this name actually do for the Native American community? Sorry for the detour, but this sort of stuff weighs on my heart often. I wish we could all live harmoniously (celebrating our differences- live and let live!) and stop being so angry on the internet. Can we get a little cyber world peace up in here for 2016? No? Ok, well I tried.
Back to the stadium and the Bud Light Party Pavilion that we entered and where we almost instantaneously ended up playing Golden Tee Golf in an arcade tent. Video games are so darn addicting to me and after about 10 minutes I told Chihil we needed to go or I’d be in there all night. We walked back out to the pavilion and looked around. It wasn’t very crowded as the game was still over an hour from starting, but there was a live band and bar area where a few people were milling around listening to the music. The band was called Amish Outlaws and they were entertaining and had a fan (who they obviously knew) up there in full headdress singing and pumping up the small crowd. He was one of a handful of people I saw in costume at the stadium. I saw more people in Kansas City wearing headdresses and whatnot than here in Washington. My guess is because they’re not under the same level of national scrutiny.
The Redskins were another team that ignored my emails, so I needed to find a stadium employee to serve as my witness at my final stadium. Chihil had a great idea of asking someone at a guest services window, so we entered into the main concourse to find someone. This was another stadium that I thought was newer, but after a quick Google, I found myself mistaken. It was a 90s stadium and the concourse definitely reflected that. We found a guest service window and as I explained what I was doing and that I needed their help, the two people in charge looked at me like I was asking for their kidneys. The female ended up agreeing, but I found her untrustworthy and knew I needed to ask someone else. We decided to ask the usher in our seat location, but before going up to our seats we went down to the lower bowl seats to have a look at the field. The ushers were crazy rude and you weren’t allowed down without a ticket even if you just wanted to take some pictures. I was going to get my needed pictures, so I waited for an usher to get busy with someone else and walked by. Not saying I’m in the right, but I needed to gather some picture evidence for Guinness and wasn’t going to come up short at my last stadium.
Chihil took some pictures for me and we surveyed the stadium and crowd. A whole lot of Cowboy fans were hanging out just like when I visited Miami. They’re football’s Yankee fans, travel well and they’re everywhere. Nothing wrong with that! Looking around the stadium, I thought it was incredibly average and I was starting to feel disheartened about ending my whole GWR journey here. It was a real shame because I was very pumped up upon arriving. On our way up to our upper bowl seats, we stopped to see the field from the end zone. Again the usher was in my face, but after a polite request, he let me stand next to the concourse entrance and take a few pictures. I noticed the end zone scoreboards go right not to the seats, which is actually pretty neat looking. We took our pictures, thanked the usher, and made our way up to the upper level. We stopped to look for the Capitol Building and Washington Monument (which I refer to as “the stick”) and were surprised by how far away we actually were from the city. If you’ve been to Nationals Park, you can see the Capitol Building from the stands fairly well, but this stadium is much farther out.
The upper-level concourse was nice and open, though a little skinny compared to downstairs. We stopped to watch the Redskins marching band, cheerleaders, and team introductions from a concourse opening on the 50-yard line. They were slightly laxer up here. It was way far up… this stadium is huge. I noticed that to get rid of what would be empty seats, they’ve covered some of the upper bowl in a FedEx colored tarps and there’s standing room in the upper levels. This usher was really sweet in this section and I asked if he would act as my stadium witness (backup to the chick downstairs). He said yes and looked at my hat and mentioned he liked the Buckeyes. I hugged this guy. The band was entertaining and I have to say from the shots of the girls they were showing on the video boards- this was the most attractive cheerleading team I’ve seen all season. I also loved that they were called the “First Ladies of Football.” The Redskins are running hard with the Capitol associations which are probably a safer route than going with their actual mascot.
We found our seats after the anthem and settled in for the game. Whoa, talk about a snoozefest- this game was terrible, even the team logo painted on the field looked bored. Neither team could get it together on offense. All we got were some boring field goals to take us into halftime. I’ll admit seeing people receive Purple Hearts for their braveness in battle was a different and very neat halftime experience (and explained the outside banner). Chihil and I were also happy that most of the stands around us cleared out during halftime so we could have a minute to reflect on the ish-show that was the people sitting/standing around us. Once seated, we had quickly learned we were in the only sane row of our section. The guys next to him were Bears fans- polite and impartial like us, while the people next to me despite being Redskins fans seemed like fine, upstanding citizens and didn’t partake in any of the name calling and rowdy behavior going on all over the stands surrounding us. I had to take a moment to commend their sanity and couth because everyone else in the area- bananas.
I get that it was an evening game between conference rivals, but people were trippin’. I think the entire second half we listened to two guys behind us argue with one another over whose team sucked more. Seriously, they didn’t say a single thing other than, “Your team sucks” “No your team sucks” “Your team has a backup quarterback starting” “Your team has a backup backup quarterback starting.” I wanted to stand up and yell, “Both of your teams suck and have backups in, that’s why no one is scoring more than field goals!!!” but I felt like that sort of logic would be lost on them. It did get a little juicy once the Redskins pulled ahead. The Washington fan actually said the word scoreboard (winning by three points) and then told the Dallas fan he was ugly. Supreme arguing skills right there. We decided we would be pulling for the Cowboys just because their fans were slightly less annoying to us. For as boring as the majority of this game was, the final two minutes made up for everything. Touchdowns happened and it. got. crazy. The stadium came alive and yes this amped up the fan base animosity, but dang what an exciting finish to a game! I was on my feet, riding the emotional rollercoaster to the end as Dallas kicked a game-winning field goal (duh). Really, I won the most here as whatever the actual outcome, I got all the feels and none of the disappointment.
With a finish like that there was bound to be foolios in the stands acting up. We saw people grabbing gear off Cowboys fans and throwing it over the edge of the stands to the lower bowl. Rude. Chihil said there would probably be fights on the walk back to the train station and we decided to not rush out into the masses. We stopped and had my usher sign my witness log and then headed down to guest services. I was right to be suspicious of that girl, as she wasn’t there. I’ll give her the benefit of doubt that she was just busy doing her job elsewhere in the stadium. We left FedEx and walked back to the train station without anyone misbehaving and I was grateful for that. Some peace and quiet from these fan bases’ bickering was appreciated at this point. We talked about the game and the experience we had during the ride home and I came to the conclusion that I don’t need to return to FedEx Field in this lifetime. That place wasn’t for me and I’m a little sad my NFL stadium journey ended on a slightly sour note. Guess I’m just going to have to get myself out to another game… oh darn.
Remember I am raising money for the Ronald McDonald House in Central Ohio. Please donate by clicking here.
Special thank you to my usher Justin for his time and assistance during my visit!
*Also wanted to note that I don’t think all Redskins fans (or any fan base) is full of terrible people. I’m just commenting on my personal experience at this stadium and hope you find some humor in it because in reflection it’s pretty funny and was memorable.