Lesson 1: Do not trust Redskins.com TV director of production Marc Dress. He is made of lies. Dress called me Saturday morning with some kind of half-baked story about how there was an emergency production meeting at the stadium and I should probably get there to blog about it. “Don’t rush too much,” he said. “Theismann’s running a little late.” Bank of America Stadium — which is really nice, from what I saw — is located right in downtown Charlotte, maybe a ten minute walk from the hotel. Not too far, but far enough that I was mightily annoyed by having to walk there just to amuse Marc Dress. Welcome to the NFL, rookie, etc, I suppose.
Lesson 2: Yes, the team is upset after losses. It’s every fan’s worst fear, I think, the idea that watching your team get demolished is more painful for you than experiencing it is for them. I didn’t see a lot of the players on the trip back, but the vibe among those I did see — and among the staff — was notably subdued. So that, at least, is one thing not to worry about anymore.
Lesson 3: People will wait for and watch the team just about anywhere. When you do a normal, everyday thing like get off of a bus, there will be people pointing camera phones at you just in case you are someone interesting. Even when they realize that you are not someone interesting, they will continue to take video of you in case the person behind you is more interesting. This will happen even if it’s four in the morning at the Newark, NJ, train station, and it feels very, very strange.
Lesson 4: Folks who like autographs are very patient. The autograph collectors were camped out in and around the lobby of the team hotel literally around the clock. They were waiting for the buses to arrive, they were there when I went to grab a slice of pizza, they were there late at night, they were still there the next morning. If I were more of an autograph guy, maybe I’d understand this, but it’s completely foreign to me and reflects a level of patience (and a fondness for watching people write their names) that I simply don’t possess.