I don’t cry, it’s just not in my DNA. Perhaps a product of my upbringing, perhaps it is my muted hold of emotions, regardless me and tears rarely happen. I have exasperated a few women in my day with my lack of tears. I remember my last cry well when my great aunt died. I was about 15 and a pallbearer in her funeral; the mental and physical weight were too much and this weird water came spewing from my eyelids. This isn’t an attempt at propping myself up as some uber-masculine cowboy, rather an attempt at providing context.
Last Sunday I attended the Redskin game against the Bills, the first game since the passing of Sean Taylor. Anyone in DC had heard there was to be a tribute prior to kickoff and I was going to be there. I went with an old friend who I played pee wee football with and we had grown up cheering on the burgundy and gold together. This meant as much to him as it did to me; as it did to thousands upon thousands in the stadium, in Miami, and any where else Sean Taylor affected. Approaching the stadium there was an eerie calm over the crowd, significantly different than the usual well lubricated chaos that accompanies the FedEx Field parking lots. Everywhere you looked Sean Taylor was present; jerseys, t shirts, hand made tributes and signs, and unfortunately carpetbaggers selling anything and everything with#21 or Taylor written on it.
We arrived in the stadium about 12:35, super early in the era of $5 hot dogs and $8 beers. Not knowing what to do or what was going to happen we collected our tribute towels and went to the seats. As I’ve written before there is a sense of community spirit present at Redskin games that is practically absent from the rest of this city. This sense was never stronger than the twenty minutes before game time on Sunday December 2nd.
The band marched onto the field and began playing, the crowd was asked to quiet. Hail to the Redskins was played at a pace the elderly would appreciate and the video tribute began. Pictures of Sean as a Redskin, as a Hurricane, as a high school star, as a friend, as a young boy. The emotion continued to pour from the jumbotrons as different players and coaches recounted what 21 meant to them. As a teammate. As a friend. As a brother.
My eyes watered and my muscles clenched. Goosebumps ran down my arms. Finally a picture of Sean holding his baby daughter and the thought of little Jackie Taylor growing up without her father shuddered in the minds of 90,000. Not a dry eye in the house.
Thank you for your time here Sean.