Here at The Sports Fan Journal, we hope to evolve and deliver something not found in any other corner of this here internet. We bring you Mark Trible and Dillon Friday's NFL Countdown project. A fan from each NFL team will be featured as we anxiously await the season's kickoff.
Someone needs to tell the fans' stories. What better place than their trusty Journal?
Without further ado, meet Washington fan Lizz Robbins.
There’s a first time for everything.
While attempting to recall every single detail can be a tall task, there are some things one can never forget. Lizz Robbins will never forget her first game at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium watching her favorite team, the Washington Redskins.
“I remember going to my first game with my daddy,” Robbins recalls. “I don’t remember who they played, but I remember them winning and I remember RFK shaking so hard from the crowd noise, I thought it was an earthquake.”
It wasn’t too long after that when Robbins’ favorite fan memory took place. Washington won its second Lombardi Trophy in franchise history over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII. The historical significance of the winning quarterback, though, resonated with her even more than Washington's victory.
“It was great to watch my team win,” says Robbins. “I watched with family and friends, and even through the majority of my family were Cowboys fans, they were happy for Doug Williams. We were literally witnessing history with him as the first African-American starting quarterback to win the Super Bowl.
“I was a preteen, so besides jumping up and down, I didn't celebrate too much,” adds Robbins with a laugh.
The Frederick, Maryland native continued to attend games as a fan, soaking in the atmosphere that only being at a game can provide. From tailgating prior to kickoff to congregating with fellow fans, those were times that helped mold her not only as a Washington fan, but a football fan in general.
“I didn’t know much about football back then. I just knew when the team scored, RFK would rock, literally,” says Robbins. “When I was younger, the energy and excitement drew me to the games. It was a lot of fun.”
As time passed, Robbins attended games less frequently, but her love for football continued to grow. The advent of fantasy football has made the game more interactive for her. Fantasy brings out the competitive spirit in some. For Robbins, it’s about joining fans together and making the sport even more exciting to be part of.
“I’m a Redskins fan to the core, but I’m also an avid fantasy football player,” says Robbins. “We used to do drafts in person, but now we do it online simply because life does get in the way and people need to be at home.”
Despite being “all in” with fantasy football, she’s able to separate fantasy from reality. When it comes time to pick her fantasy teams, she picks the players who can give her the greatest chance to win. However, that doesn’t mean she roots for her fantasy team to do well at the expense of her Redskins.
“I don’t let it have an effect on my team or any rivalries,” says Robbins of her general manager strategy. “Even though LeSean McCoy is on my fantasy team, I still want the Eagles to lose when they play my Redskins.”
Being a fan in the NFC East is a battle in itself. Outside of Philadelphia, each team has won the Super Bowl. Still, the rival Robbins gets up for the most remains the Eagles.
“Their fans are very passionate,” says Robbins. “They’re fun to go back and forth with, and it’s always a pretty fun time when we do so. Plus, I can always pull out the ‘no rings’ card on them, which makes it even more fun,” she adds with a smile.
Despite the division rivalries adding a layer of excitement to her fandom, it is all about the Redskins. Fantasy football is fun and going back and forth with opposing fans is cool, but Robbins is ready to see what this year’s Washington team will bring to the table.
“The chemistry between RG3 and DeSean Jackson is something I’m excited about being able to see right away,” says Robbins. “I’m also excited to see Jay Gruden and what he can do as a head coach.”
She’s also cognizant of the fact that Gruden has some pretty big coaching shoes to fill. Being the brother of a Super Bowl-winning coach cannot be easy.
“I hope Jay doesn’t get called Jon too much.”
>> Be sure to catch the rest of the "Meet the Fan" series:
Kenny Masenda is a fan of the game, and an admirer of the culture. You can find more of what makes him tick at his Facebook profile located here.