A Burgundy and Gold Obsession
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Cake or Death?

Love, Hope and Risk

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To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

That pretty fairly encapsulates the Washington Redskins fans and organization over the past 24 hours, dont you think? In fact, the first part, the part about love? That takes us back as fans for 20 years. Heath Shuler. Gus Frerotte. Tony Banks. Shane Matthews. Patrick Ramsey. Jason Campbell. Rex Grossman. Do I need to go on? How many times at the start of the season did we convince ourselves that the Skins could win with one of these guys? How many times did I call my dad up, and say, ya know, if ___________ doesnt turn the ball over too much, I can see us making the playoffs this year? How many times did I call up friends and say man, this team we have around _____________ looks so solid to me, that as long as he doesnt screw it up too bad.?

Yeah. You too?

And then the other side of that coin. Anyone else ever get to that point during one of the last 20 disappointing seasons where you started to think that it just wasnt worth it anymore? You loved the Redskins, but by God, they sure as hell didnt love you back. Sound familiar?

And once you get to that point, it becomes harder to truly hope. To yearn for success. To WANT to believe that good things are going to happen. To hope. I know. Ive been there. I actually talked myself into Rex-who-loves-turnovers-and-judging-by-his-waistline-he-likes-the-pastries-too-Grossman last year. I told myself that he had grown as a quarterback. Ive got a friend who is a Bears fan who delighted in posting messages on Facebook to me every time Rex did something stupid. After a while, even he got tired of it. Easy target and all. Watching him make incomprehensibly dumb throws and stupid decisions were enough to make me question why I love this team so much.

And I dont think I was alone. Last year sucked. Hard.

And I suspect the Redskins organization knew that. Not that they care about little ole me; but I suspect they greater fear a larger malaise that can infect a fan base desperate for any degree of success. And Ive heard the arguments that an organization desperate to please its fans so much would be willing to pay too high a price to draft that potential savior.

So what?

Do motivations really matter that much here? Mike Shanahan knows a thing or two about quarterbacks (McNabb aside). He had ample opportunity to select one of the quarterbacks in last years draft, and did not. Didnt like any of them enough to NOT trade down, nor did he like any of them enough to give up the farm to move up. You know who he does like? RGIII, apparently. So you know who I like? RGIII.

To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

The Redskins are trying. Shanahan has pushed all his chips to the middle of the table. If he fails at this, his Hall of Fame resume will be judged accordingly. And dont think he doesnt know that. Imagine the alternative to this trade: sign Manning (maybe, no guarantee), draft Tannehill, fill some other holes, become mediocre, maybe even moderately good at some point. And he could have played it safe and retired in two years without another Super Bowl, and looked at the Hall of Fame and said, the damage that Vinny and Dan wrought was just too much for me to overcome, but I have laid a solid foundation for the future, and you know what? Not many people would have thought but so much less of him.

But Mike isnt playing it safe. At all. Hes swinging for the fences. Hes all in. This is a move designed to win multiple Super Bowls over the next ten years, and frankly, anything less than that will be a disappointment. He could have played it safe and protected his resume to some degree.

But he didnt. So why are you, as a fan? Give in to hope. Yes, you risk pain. Pain we Redskins fans are all too familiar with. But you stand to gain such joy! Shanahan is willing to stake his HOF credentials on RGIII.

Thats good enough for me.

Is it September yet?
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