When Bob Young makes the 52-mile drive to Richmond from Williamsburg, Va., he expects to have quality player interactions like he did with his favorites in the 1970s and 80s.
As soon as he walks through the fan gate at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, he isn't disappointed.
Young makes his four to five trips to training camp every year worthwhile, obtaining autographs from his favorite players. After Wednesday’s walkthrough, tight end Jordan Reed stopped by the section he was in and autographed a sign for the fan in addition to posing for a picture.
What makes the Redskins Young’s favorite team is not the results on the scoreboard, but how the players treat him and the rest of their fan base.
“We never had nothing like this,” Young said. “All these [players] out here are class guys. My favorite out here right now is Ryan Kerrigan. He’s just a nice person, he always smiles and he does a lot of autographs.”
Growing up rooting for the Redskins, Young had to miss watching football because he was fighting in the Vietnam War. While he was overseas, there was hardly any communication about football. He remembers he heard about the Jets winning the Super Bowl in 1969 a few days after it happened, not having any word of the season before or after that.
When Young returned from war, he attended his first game at RFK Stadium during the Redskins’ Super Bowl run in 1972. He had the privilege of witnessing one of his all-time favorite players when he got to see linebacker Chris Hanburger play in person.
Even though Young is a football of all different levels, he says that there is nothing like watching Washington play in person.
“It was exciting, man,” Young said. “It was fabulous watching how good these athletes are. I used to follow college and high school and even military football. But [watching] the Redskins is something.”
The former war veteran also had the opportunity to enjoy Military Appreciation Day at training camp on Saturday, earning tickets in the VIP section. Young got to watch practice from a closer view and get a few player autographs, and won a raffle.
A major reason that the Redskins are Young’s favorite team is because of the way they show their appreciation towards the military.
“They honor the military,” Young said. “Even before I was in the military, I was thought highly of the military. My father is a retired soldier and every time they would take the flag down or whatever, we used to have to get out of the car and get out all of us, my mother included and we honor the flag. I think as our country, our free nation, the greatest country in the world, that we should support our troops.”