Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015 by Trevor Baratko, Anna Harris and Kate Murphy, Times-Mirror Staff Writers
Thirty years and thousands of miles have done nothing but strengthen David Ramadan’s relationship with the Washington Redskins.
It was in his native Lebanon in the late 1980s when Ramadan first signed on with Redskins nation. He wasn’t clinging to a sport or specific athletes or burgundy jerseys. He was clinging to a symbol: America’s game.
“Football is part and parcel of the American dream,” said Ramadan, now a two-term Virginia state delegate from Loudoun County. “The team stands for history, for pride. It’s an American symbol. American football is one unique sport to America. No other country in the world really plays football.”
So it’s a case of the small worlds that Ramadan, following his emigration to the U.S., landed in Loudoun, a place that has undeniably become the Virginia home of the Washington football team.
Here, local officials go gaga any time a team representative appears at board meetings – the local Board of Supervisors in 2012 unanimously agreed to send at least $2 million in tax dollars into the team’s coffers. The supervisors and most of the VIP-suite politicians are fans, just like the thousand-plus people who withstood a scorching August day just for a glimpse of the action.
“I ride for them all day, no matter what,” said Ralynee Simpson, a fan since age 2. Simpson feels like a part of the team, she said.
Football fandom isn’t silly, Del. Ramadan noted. It’s a choice we’ve made.
“It may be just a game, but it’s a game we chose to make part of our culture,” he said. “People are entitled to prioritize in life what is important and what is not. We Americans have decided that football is part of our culture and it’s important to us. Just like other nations around the world have decided other sports are important.” …Read More