- Australia court strikes down 5-day-old, gay-marriage law
- Fake interpreter at Mandela service: ‘Sorry,’ I have schizophrenia
- George Zimmerman will not be charged in domestic dispute
- Russian officials press bilateral U.S. trade deal
- Creator of ‘Selfies at Funerals’ blog retires after Obama flub: ‘Our work here is done’
- New Obama adviser Podesta is against Keystone but will steer clear of pipeline deliberations
- 40 Australian adults, children found in ‘one of the worst accounts of incest ever made public’
- Venezuela’s Maduro calls on student ‘price vigilantes’ to hit the streets, report businesses
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Bow before Valkyrie, NASA’s ‘superhero robot’ entry in DARPA challenge
FENNO: For D.C. sports fans, the pleasure comes with pain
Question of the Day
Hope has turned to heartbreak in Washington over the past three months.
The agony of Drew Storen, frozen in front of his locker in October after the Nationals‘ ninth-inning collapse in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, had barely faded. Same with the rolled-up plastic tarps and mob of reporters in rain jackets to protect against champagne that never came.
The agony moved to Robert Griffin III, who gingerly dressed amid clumps of turf on the locker room carpet Sunday at FedEx Field. The Redskins‘ first playoff game since 2008 faded into defeat, overwhelmed by the damaged ligaments in the rookie quarterback’s right knee.
Despair is easy. So is the communitywide throwing up of hands, the search for scapegoats, the angst of a city beaten down by years of mediocrity and desperate for winners.
The heartbreak of the last three months, however, is the price for relevance. Games matter again. These moments accompany the unfamiliar territory of winning. If these games didn’t matter, the way they ended, on the field and in the examination room, wouldn’t sting so much.
If anything, the gut-twisting setbacks represent a demarcation from the bad old days of baseball and football in this city that aren’t so far removed.
Look at what isn’t being discussed, for instance, as the Redskins plunge into the offseason.
No attention is focused on NFL mock drafts (even with the absence of a first-round pick in April as part of the price to select Griffin) in search of the latest franchise savior. No figuring out how to jettison $100 million albatross contracts (hello, Albert Haynesworth). No end-of-season finger-pointing, like former lineman Sean Locklear’s Twitter drive-by on the Redskins a year ago. No lingering off-field problems reminiscent of Fred Davis and Trent Williams being suspended for marijuana use last year. No search for a quarterback to provide stability at a position where 28 players started a game in 27 years since Joe Theismann’s leg snapped.
Better days are here, even if the sting doesn’t allow that feeling yet. What would Nationals’ supporters have exchanged during the lean years of Jason Bergmann, Elijah Dukes and company for just a hint of the postseason, never mind if a late bullpen meltdown accompanied the bargain? Or thought of the NFL’s most dynamic young quarterback coming to Washington, even with that bum knee, transforming the franchise on and off the field and propelling a surge into the postseason?
Every morsel of news about Griffin’s knee, repaired by Dr. James Andrews in Florida on Wednesday, was gobbled up in a city that transformed overnight in the world’s largest concentration of knee experts.
How much damage did Griffin’s ACL, repaired in 2009, sustain? Was the damage old or new? How partially torn is partially torn? What, exactly, does repair mean?
Sources overwhelmed Twitter. Sources about Griffin’s mood. Sources about recovery time. Eight months? Opening day in September? A year? Sources about travel and doctors and rehabilitation and how torn is, well, torn. Everywhere, sources.
Imagine a similar tizzy surrounding the knee of, say, former quarterback John Beck or coming off a 4-12 season (or even the injured knee of former Wizards No. 1 overall pick John Wall that’s sidelined him all season as his team has spiraled into irrelevance).
Even having a quarterback whose knee transfixes the city and much of the country shows the progress, even if the attention is wrapped in furor over the injury’s much-debated circumstances.
The Redskins are relevant again, and no longer as the butt of national jokes over which big-money free agent signing will go bust. The Nationals, of course, may have baseball’s deepest 25-man roster heading into spring training next month in Viera, Fla.
Losses hurt more when they mean something.
Washington’s heartbreak in the last three months points to the change, the sometimes-fitful but never dull return to relevance.
And that’s a reason for hope.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- FENNO: Honestly, Mike Shanahan, why should we believe you now?
- Robert Griffin III surprised at being benched by Mike Shanahan
- FENNO: High schooler Chris Cotillo balances MLB scoops, Spanish homework
- Turmoil now a major part of Redskins' game plan
- Mike Shanahan says he'd like to return to Redskins
Latest Blog Entries
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Rand Paul: Budget deal 'shameful,' 'huge mistake'
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- Teen thugs in D.C. run wild -- even while wearing GPS ankle bracelets
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Obama's antics at Nelson Mandela tribute: Jovial conversation, handshake with Raul Castro
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whisky: U.K.-born expert
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Biden guarantees victory on immigration reform
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- Inside the Ring: China targets Global Hawk drone
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Al Maurer provides a common sense, conservatarian, Constitutional conservative perspective from the battleground state of Colorado
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Buzz on Bees is a column promoting the love and life of God’s greatest pollinators on earth: The Honeybee
Brazen, leading-edge, “call it like it is” columns and reporting from Ohio native, radio host and writer, Sara Marie Brenner.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow