Monday, September 29: At The Game – Chief J and Chief Z

Everyone knows Chief Zee, the longtime unofficial mascot of the Redskins. Zema Williams has been rooting on the team in his chiefly attire for thirty years now, and Redskins fans have seen him at home games, away games, in commercials, at charity events, at restaurants … I even know people who claim to have run into Chief Zee at the grocery store. My family has pictures of him holding an infant version of me at old RFK stadium. Chris Cooley recently mobilized the entire internet just to find Chief Zee’s stolen property.

Point is, Chief Zee is one of those Washington institutions that you would see in an establishing montage of D.C., sandwiched in with a monument or memorial, a cherry blossom, the exterior of a Metro station, a picture of the President grinning, Ben’s Chili Bowl, and former Mayor Marion Barry. Most of the time, you don’t think about who’s going to succeed an icon.

Unless you’re Fort Washington, MD, native and Redskins season ticket holder Anthony Jordan, that is.

Jordan calls himself Big Chief J Strongbow, and views Chief Zee as inspiration, forerunner, and — he hopes — mentor. “I’m hoping to get the opportunity to meet him and get him to pass the tomahawk on to me when he’s done,” he says. “I’m like his apprentice, a padawan of Chief Zee.”

Have you caught any heat from Dallas fans?

“Oh, no,” he says, sounding surprised. “I love coming to Dallas. There’s so much love here, from Redskins fans AND Cowboys fans, nothing but love.” I’ll admit, Cowboys fans have been much nicer than I expected, but I’m not sure I’d go that far. Do you always head out to games dressed like this?

“Oh, yeah. Well, I used to have a different headdress on, a black one, but for Dallas I wanted to get a new one.” It’s a very intimidating headdress, especially combined with the faux-bone chestpiece he’s wearing, and when I tell him so he brandishes his tomahawk at me. The tomahawk is not quite so intimidating. In fact, I can’t quite tell what it is.

“It’s a handmade tomahawk,” he explains. Right, but what actually IS it? “It’s a helmet on a nerf ball. It’s a new approach to the tomahawk.” It certainly is.

Chief J still hadn’t met Chief Zee when I left the field, and Chief Zee was too busy posing for pictures when I suggested he come around and meet Chief J with me. I left him to it and headed off to the press box, but as I left I could only wonder one, very basic thing: if Chief Zee did agree to mentor Chief J, would they have to ask Roc-A-Fella Records for permission to appear as Chief Jay-Z?

One Response

  1. Ha!…clever Matt. Chief Jay-Z. Nice one. Looks like Chief J represents the hood of Maryland. A much better representation of modern day Landover fans!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: