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My Redskins Hangover


You know the feeling.

The first painful rays of morning light reach your retina like red hot pokers. You rise. The routine motions and sounds of the beginning of a normal day bring not comfort, but dizziness and nausea. Bile rises in the back of your throat. An all too familiar sense of inexplicable failure and disappointment hangs in the heavy air.

You’re a Redskins fan in February. And your team hasn’t played a meaningful football game in months.

Again.

You’re smack-dab-in-the-middle of a raging Redskins hangover. Go ahead. Drink a couple of Bloody Marys, snort down a little hair-of-the-dog-that-bit-you. It can’t hurt anything. But nothing from a bottle or can will offer cure or solace for what ails you. You’re emotionally spent. You long ago spotted a beautiful creature, sauntered confidently up to her, got to know her, feeling the full swell of adolescent infatuation. Then you fell in love with her.

Horribly, inescapably, irretrievably in love with her.

Turns out, she’s just a cruel bitch who’s only after your money.

What to do, what to do? She’s out of town for awhile now. Something about renegotiating a contract at work. But in a few months, or a year from now, she’ll be back. She’ll ride back into town in all her glory. She’ll be in the best shape of her life, looking better than ever before. She’ll have 'gotten it together’. 'This time it’ll be different’ she assures you - wasted words, as you’ve already repeated the mantra to yourself a hundred times before the intoxicating smell of her perfume wafted again into your life.

She is a cold, hard, beautiful, mesmerizingly heartless bitch. And she’ll be back any minute now.

This time, it really will be different. Won’t it?

For the sake of the lovestruck, woeful, forlorn fans of the Washington Redskins, we certainly hope so. There’s only so much a fella can take.

But why should we believe it’ll 'be different’ in 2011? There are precious few reasons to believe. Some fans, myself included, lay our hopes squarely on the seeming competence and experience of Mike Shanahan. He’s done it before, he can do it again. Shanahan shouldn’t be held hostage to the unrealistic first year dreams of starved for success Redskins fans. The 2010 Redskins did improve. But there were signs of cracks in Shanahan’s legacy. He inherited some problems, to be sure. Acquiring Albert Haynesworth wasn’t on Shanahan, but his bungling management of the situation did nothing to either make him a productive Redskin or increase his trade value. And Shanahan made bigger errors all on his own. Playing draft pick craps and rolling the dice on Donovan McNabb was the biggest of them all. Apparently the dealer, who looked remarkably like Andy Reid, played with loaded dice. Shanahan’s less than forthright management of the McNabb disaster only set the Redskins back further in what fans hoped would be a season of steady progression and fundamental improvement.

So how will we cure our massive Redskins hangover? What are the ingredients of the magic elixir that will soothe our pain, settle our stomachs, clear the redness from our eyes, and bring us the hope and courage to face another burgundy and gold colored dawn?

One thing is clear – the Redskins who will help quieten the throbbing pounding in our heads are probably not on this roster yet. The Redskins must begin to find them. Despite a scarcity of picks, there may not have been a more important NFL draft upcoming than the 2011 version. The Redskins have so many needs – quarterback, offensive line, wide receiver to name just a few – they simply can’t afford a single blown pick.

Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen deserved and received the benefit of the doubt in their freshman term. Even rabid fans understand, organizational change does not happen overnight. But having had a year to rediscover the lay of their NFL land, and assess the state of this franchise, year two is go-time. We’ll need every ounce of their savvy, competence, and steady-handed leadership to move this team forward to a winning paradigm.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll gargle and rinse the last final remnants of our 2010 season hangover from our mouths. We’ll start to think about how satisfying and good that first taste of Redskins football will be again. We’ll begin to remember how incredibly sexy, attractive, and alluring that formerly cruel and unsatisfying woman we love can be.

And God help us, we’ll start to pine for her again.

Here’s to hoping, in 2011, that love is just a little bit less unrequited.

Author
Boone
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