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The thing Mark Wills (left), of Washington, D.C., remembers most about the Redskins is RFK Stadium’s shaking concrete.
“That’s when we had a home field advantage,” he said. “That’s when we adopted the 12th man. You see, the 12th man really started in Washington, it didn’t start in Seattle. It started in Washington, D.C. We were the 12th man, because when things got tight, that third and one, the defense was going to rise up and Dexter manley and all those guys man they came together and got it done.”
Now a barber, Wills recalled working at the stadium as a child, selling peanuts with his father, who was a vendor.
“I had a chance to sell peanuts so I had a chance to see Redskins games for a long time,” Wills said in a deep, baritone voice. “[I was] walking around the stadium, so I had a chance to mix it up with the people.”
He loved the camaraderie and community of that building, but, along with his longtime buddy, Purpose Barringer, he thoroughly enjoyed a day trip to the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, too.
“It’s really been an experience, watching the transition from then to now, coming out to this great facility,” Wills said. “I’m really enjoying it thus far.”
“Easy to get to, easy to park, the staff is personable, outstanding. Everything’s convenient,” said Barringer, who lives of Bowie, Md. “Food, water, great experience.”
Barringer grew up in North Carolina. But without a Panthers team there, he fell in love with the Redskins and soon moved to Washington, D.C., in 1991, the year they won their third Super Bowl.
“The memorable moment that I was really entrenched was John Riggins’ run against the Miami Dolphins,” he said, a popular refrain over the course of training camp. “I had a high school number, it was 44 when I played football. Then had the opportunity to go to my first game, RFK, with the Seattle Seahawks. We lost but it was cold, right near the field, and that changed everything.”
The two sit in lawn chairs, both taking vacations, continuing to bond over their team, excited about a new general manager and direction for the Redskins, hoping to rekindle that 12th man again.