- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 8, 2020

The last time Richard Crabb saw his beloved Washington Football Team play in person, he took in the game from RFK Stadium. That was 1982, before he left the area as a member of the military.

On Sunday, though, Crabb was at FedEx Field — he and about 3,000 others. One of his good friends couldn’t make the game, and Crabb was the lucky beneficiary, seeing his favorite team play in person for the first time in nearly 40 years.

He didn’t care that FedEx Field would only be filled with a smattering of fans, or that he needed to wear his Washington mask throughout the day due to the coronavirus pandemic. He’s just grateful to be there to see a game, after all this time, no matter the circumstances.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” Crabb said. “And it’s 3,000 people who are going to make a whole lot of noise.”

Wendy Conway joined Crabb for her first Washington game, and while it took some persuading from Crabb to get her to attend, her excitement built during pregame, feeding off the atmosphere.

The pair, both from South Boston, Virginia, figured any chance to watch football from the stands was better than from the couch.

Washington welcomed back fans from the general public for the first time this season on Sunday, receiving approval on Oct. 23 from Maryland and Prince George’s County. Tickets were limited to the lower bowl and a limited number of suites.

Jay Jacobson, a season ticket holder for nine years, attended the game with his son, Jonah. For the Virginia Beach native, walking around a nearly empty concourse just an hour before kickoff was a weird feeling compared to the usual scene.

But even with the changes to a FedEx Field gameday atmosphere — fewer fans and no tailgating, for instance — Jacobson was glad to a return to some sense of normalcy.

“I’ve been anxious to get to a game,” Jacobson said. “I’m used to all the COVID protocols, and I knew the team would be taking them, too, so I’m not too worried.”

Ray and Addison McCaleb, attending the game from near Blacksburg, Virginia, are also big Virginia Tech fans. They haven’t been able to attend a Hokies game yet this year, either — although they didn’t miss much from Saturday’s loss to Liberty.

Ray McCaleb, a fan since the 1970s, received the tickets from his brother-in-law. And while the two of them were excited to see how Washington would play against an NFC East foe, there was another positive to come from Sunday’s experience, a byproduct of just 3,000 or so fans inside FedEx Field.

“We didn’t have to fight all the traffic,” Ray McCaleb said. “That’s probably one of the better parts of the day right there.”


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