- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Washington has long been known to possess many of America’s most colorful football traditions. In the professional ranks, despite this year’s performance, the Washington Redskins, with their hallowed history and ever-loyal fans, have become one of the NFL’s most beloved teams. Similarly, the region boasts a plethora of collegiate football programs, and now with this year’s EagleBank Bowl Dec. 29 at RFK Stadium moving into the heart of the college football bowl schedule, the region will be able to capitalize on the excitement bowl season brings across the nation.

The game’s title sponsor, EagleBank, in conjunction with the D.C. Bowl Committee Inc. and the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, created the EagleBank Bowl in 2008, in part to honor the men and women of the armed services whose courage, sacrifice and tireless dedication continuously protect our nation both here and abroad. As part of that commitment, and in tribute to the host city’s status as the nation’s capital, the EagleBank Bowl last year had Navy paired against Wake Forest in the inaugural game, and this year it hopes to host Army, with both the Army and Navy again in future years.

Since its inception, organizers of the EagleBank Bowl have made a commitment to the community a top priority. By bringing the excitement of college football bowl action to Washington, the game helps boost the regional economy and raise money for local charities. Also, a variety of programs and activities, such as the Youth Football Program, which assists local youth football teams with fundraising and gives local players the opportunity to participate in the bowl-game experience, helps further the reach and the influence of the game.

The EagleBank Bowl proudly supports our nation’s men and women in uniform. The game continues its official charity partnership with the Wounded Warrior Project, which is dedicated to honoring and empowering the nation’s military by raising awareness and enlisting the public’s aid for the needs of severely injured servicemen and -women and by providing unique programs and services to meet the needs of those men and women.

For those who didn’t get a chance to attend the game last year, the 2009 EagleBank Bowl experience promises to be much more than just what occurs on game day. This year, in addition to having the game air live on ESPN, its organizers have unveiled a new theme, “DCember Rocks at RFK,”and designed a whole host of activities for the entire family to enjoy. Bowl Week begins Dec. 25, with events such as team welcome receptions and the Teams Luncheon. A pre-game tailgate in the D.C. Armory will provide fans with a chance to hang out with the teams, meet favorite players and experience why the EagleBank Bowl is fast becoming one the premier football events in the region. With tickets to the game starting at just $30, this year’s EagleBank Bowl offers something for every taste and budget. And it’s more than just a football game.

The EagleBank Bowl marries three of America’s most powerful communities - the government, the private sector and philanthropy - to aid two of its most precious resources - the nation’s youth and its men and women in the armed forces.

c Chase Cates is a writer living in Alexandria.

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