When I arrived at my hotel, the beautiful Fairmont Washington on M street, I was immediately taken aback by the height of the surrounding buildings. Compared to other major cities I’ve been to, everything seemed tiny. Ultimately, I discovered there is actually a state law which prohibits any building from being higher than the capital building.
As part of the trip, I was joined by Paul Ferguson from Sunday Life in Belfast Ireland, Eoin Brannigan from the Irish Daily Star located out of Dublin and successful freelancer Lucas Aykroyd who is from Vancouver. Fortunately for me, everyone shared a passion for sports and Heineken beer.
Our first visit was to Nationals Stadium for a baseball game between the hometown Washington Nationals and the Milwaukee Brewers. Obviously, living in Toronto, I’ve attended MLB games before. But to be honest, I’ve never been in a baseball stadium with an atmosphere as lively as Nationals Stadium. There was a contagious buzz in the stadium as the Nationals gear up for playoff baseball. The hometown Nats dominated the entire game and walked away with an impressive 10-2 victory.
With an adequate buzz going on, we made our way to dinner at Smith and Commons where the food and drinks continued in abundance. After a relaxing meal, we returned to the hotel in a food coma and half drunk. It was 11pm and time for bed.
The following morning was spent on a bike tour of Washington. I was surprised by the beauty of all the monuments and riveted by the history. Standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, all I could envision was Forrest Gump yelling “Jenny!”
After a two hour bike tour, it was time to head to Fed-Ex Field for the Redskins/Bengals game. I’ve been to my fair share of NFL games, but none like this. The stadium was packed with 91,704 people, three quarters of whom seemed to be sporting RGIII apparel. I met one guy who said, “I don’t have a religion, but if I did it would be Redskins football.” This mindset appeared to be contagious.
The game was great and finished very dramatically. However, the story of this game cannot be seen in the stat line. After three short weeks, RGIII has reached savior status in Washington. You could just feel it. Even after a routine throw, the entire stadium would erupt into “RGIII, RGIII” chants.
This young quarterback has clearly captivated a city and fanbase. Does he have the tools to be a dominant NFL QB? Without question. But whether he has the tools to deal with a frustrated fanbase if the season goes south is another issue. Only time will tell.
After the game, we headed to RFK stadium to catch an MLS game between DC United and Chivas USA.
Sadly, the MLS has a lot of work to do. The fanbase is small and the quality of play isn’t on the same level as their European counterparts. That being said, the ticket prices for MLS games are more than reasonable, so it makes the level of play less worrisome. Whenever a goal was scored, the fans threw beer in the air in celebration. This tradition was obviously created by someone who was under the influence.