Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My 1st (and so far only) Letter-To-The-Editor

Published 5/26/1984, in the Washington Post.  Co-authored (and co-signed) with a friend, we added my wife's name as a fellow season ticket holder.   Doesn't seem like 27 years ago......

Off Side!

We were surprised and angered by the article "Fumbling Federals Losing Their Hold on Fans" [Sports, May 81. This is only the latest in a year-and-a-half long series of generally shoddy reports on the Washington Federals. It now seems as if The Post has taken up the tactic of trying to run the team out of town. Even the photograph that accompanied the article went out of its way to accentuate the negative by showing as few fans as possible (while ignoring. the fact that most fans had moved under cover to avoid the rain).

We were also surprised by The Post’s inability to find any "diehard" Feds fans. Perhaps it should have tried looking behind the 12-foot-long banner that hangs in the upper deck during every home game and proudly proclaims, "Go Feds." But The Post would rat well on the negative by saying that the Feds have "lost what followers they had" and that the only reason anyone goes to the games is that they "couldn't get Redskins tickets."

Perhaps if The Poe gave the Feds more attention, they might get the support they deserve. The Post's Sports section carried a page-one article on May 7 about Brian Sipe (New Jersey Generals) and Doug Williams (Oklahoma Outlaws), while burying an article about the Feds' exciting overtime loss on page 8. The article on their first win of the season did make page one, but it was the shortest article ever run about a Feds game. The only issue that has received significant coverage was the departure of Craig James--a talented player who had never contributed much to the team because of injuries.

Many of the great teams of today were not always dominant. The Pittsburgh Steelers were 1-13 in 1969, before winning four Super Bowls and being named the ''Team of the Seventies." The Redskins were equally bad before rising to the prominent position they now enjoy. Unless a city-along with its local media-is willing to support a losing team and help that team develop, professional sports can do nothing but stagnate. Remember that when the Federals develop into the great team that they truly are-while playing somewhere else.

There's not much I can say, except we were guilty of a littel hyperbole in declaring The Feds "the great team that they are".  The did leave Washington after 2 years, moved to Orlando and Portland (OR) before folding with the whole USFL.  Their overall record was 7-29.  And yes, the statement: "The article on their first win of the season did make page one, but it was the shortest article ever run about a Feds game" was based on a careful evaluation of each game's reporting.  Which is pretty geeky.

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