ASHBURN – I write today as a fan and friend mourning a tragic loss; as a very close friend – whom the entire Northern Virginia area called its brother – passed away Monday morning after attending the NFC East Championship game at Fed Ex Field, Sunday night.
Andreas loved his Washington Redskins and the Burgundy & Gold pumped through his veins from birth. I hold special memories of ‘Dre’ from several Redskins games we attended together, some of which occurred more than 20 years ago. One Sunday morning during the 1991 Super Bowl season, Andreas and I drove to RFK in hopes of obtaining tickets from a scalper.
This was of course before the Internet and you had better odds of hitting the lottery than finding someone willing to give up their Redskin tickets.
Unfortunately we were duped by a seedy- looking gentleman, with seats that were not together. So instead of sitting apart, we roamed the stadium in search of empty seats to “hold” until the proper owners returned to kick us out. Many fans might find this scenario a nightmare, but not us. It turned out to be the second best game we had ever seen. (The best would soon follow.) We cheered and chanted from views near the field, the 50-yard-line, the corner end zone, and the nose bleeds. And in the fourth quarter we watched the ‘Skins finish off the Cowboys from under the bouncing, steel rafters at the 10-yard-line; All the while carrying our beers in hand, as Andreas and I had recently turned 22 and 21, respectively.
A few weeks later, my father took me and Andreas to the famous “Seat Cushion Game” where Washington annihilated Atlanta, 56-17 in the playoffs. Dre and I agreed this was the best football experience imaginable, in spite of freezing temperatures and a torrential downpour. Actually, those elements helped make the game special because 65 thousand fans chose to withstand the weather and watch their beloved Redskins fight their way to the Super Bowl.
I have a few friends who are not sports fans and they always find the unrelenting need to argue the importance of sports, or lack there-of-it, with me. Their main argument is that football is “just a game” with no impending effect upon humanity. I strongly disagree and believe sporting events to be enormous parties where people, who share a common bond, can celebrate that love together. These experiences create brilliant, life-long memories like the ones Andreas and I shared 20 years ago. Magic exists in these memories – as they never end. Whenever Andreas and I got together, those experiences usually came up in conversation. It was as if we transported ourselves back to RFK stadium, but without our hair gel and tightly cuffed jeans.
Andreas found humor and love in everything he did throughout his life and I feel extremely fortunate and proud to have experienced many of those times with Dre, his family and our friends. Our brother in friendship will forever be missed, but the memories and love which he bestowed upon us shall forever change all who knew him, for the best.
God bless you Andreas, and thank you for being my friend…