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Whistling Past the Graveyard

I’ve noted a strange adaptive strategy employed by war-torn and battle-scarred Redskins fans for most of the past 20 years. 'Whistling Past the Graveyard’. Belief is a risky proposition for NFL fans, particularly fans of one of the most volatile, topsy-turvy franchises ever, one that’s had a parade of head coaches, coordinators, front office staff, and supposed saviors that rivals Kevin Bacon connections.

With belief comes possibility. Occasionally, fans who’ve closed their eyes, gritted their teeth, and stepped from the cliff of skepticism and dire negativity have been rewarded. Twice during Joe Gibbs second tenure and the magical 2012 season were rare moments of reward and vindication for fans brave enough to believe.

But far more often belief has brought pain, heartache, and suffering. Being a Redskins fan over the past 20 years has felt a lot like that old Sam Kinison bit about opening the door when love comes knocking.

'Ohhhhhh NOOOOOOOO……Love lied to me again!!!!!!’

Given the obvious truth – it’s been a bitch being a die-hard Redskins fan – it’s understandable that many, perhaps even most, of my Redskins brethren have devolved into snarky, cynical, sarcastic doubters. I have tried hard over the past several years in particular not to judge my fellow fans. I understand how they 'got there’ and have been precipitously close to sinking into the wallowing abyss of misery on many occasions. If Redskins fans are suffering from 'beaten wife syndrome’, it’s because they’ve been beaten, repeatedly, with no end or savior in sight.

But sometimes, no matter how ugly and painful the past has been, you have to pack all that suffering in a bag, lock it away forever, and open the front door of the miserable place you’ve been living and walk away. There is the potential for a brighter better future.

We have a talented front office that knows how to find talent. We’ve got a tough-minded, determined head coach who has a lot to learn, but who is learning. We’ve got one of the youngest offensive coordinators in the league who may be a budding star who can help us win for a decade or more. We’ve got a defensive coordinator none of us wanted, but who has squeezed the best out of an injury-riddled, talent-deficient group all year long, and whose defense has gotten it done when it had to be done. And we have a starting QB, a guy who has ignored his critics, inspired his teammates, improved in every facet of his game, and thrived when no one thought he could or would. We like that.

Redskins fans – we just walked through that front door.

It’s time to smile. It’s time to feel the warm sun on your face. It’s time to embrace possibility and believe anything can happen, even glorious, triumphant things.

And it’s time to cease with the snark, the blamestorming for past failures, the fan Civil War, and the cynical skepticism and give your unqualified, passionate, positive support to these 2015 Washington Redskins. It’s time to shuffle up to the edge of that cliff of belief, swallow hard, and step off of it again.

It’s time to stop whistling past the graveyard. We’re all going to die. But not today friends, not today.

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