Erikka Resendiz hesitated and glanced around as her husband Josh tried to lead her down to the field during a first quarter stoppage of play against the Kansas City Chiefs. She wondered where her fellow FAN Ambassadors were, the others that were supposed to be walking these steps down to the turf alongside her. Once on the field with Josh, Resendiz's confusion transformed into surprise and then excitement as she realized what was unfolding. The 29-year-old audiologist was being announced as the Washington Football Team's Fan of the Year presented by Captain Morgan.
"I can't believe it. It's just amazing," Erikka said, as she processed the moment in her dedicated Fan of the Year suite after the presentation. "It just makes me feel that much more connected to a community that I didn't grow up in, but welcomed me in."
Not only was Resendiz not born into the Washington Football Team fandom, she doesn't even live in the DMV area. In fact, she lives just outside of Philadelphia, surrounded by die-hard Eagles fans, including those in her own family. As an outsider Washington fan, Resendiz possesses a uniquely passionate love for this team -- a devotion that has been a haven through hardship and a conduit of unforgettable joy.
Resendiz's Washington fandom can be traced back to high school when she fell in love with Josh Resendiz, whose family had long supported the team.
"Loving Josh was easy and loving Josh meant loving the Washington Football Team," Erikka explained. "His passion rubbed off on me, and over the years, they were no longer just his team; they were our team, my team."
For Erikka, Washington being her team meant going all in as a fan. She joined Washington's FAN committee. She set up a Twitter in order to connect with other fans as well as players. In 2020, she doggedly rallied behind Nick Sundberg in the Walter Payton Man of the Year social media challenge and he rewarded her with tickets.
"She puts in hours and hours after her job for the FAN Ambassador stuff and this team," Josh said.
While showing up in these ways is important to her, Erikka is also inspired by how Washington -- as a source of entertainment, as an organization with a cast of impressive characters -- has showed up for her.
"One of my personal inspirations is Coach Jennifer King," Erikka said. "I am just as excited to see her on Sunday as I am to see the players. She is forging the path for women in football, and that's what my household will stand for, too."
Washington's presence in this superfan's life took on unexpected significance in March 2020 when a then-pregnant Erikka learned she had suffered a miscarriage.
"I had a difficult time grieving, and it [her fandom] helped me to focus my energy into other areas of my life," Resendiz said. "I used this team to help me look forward to better days."
In May 2020, she found out she was pregnant again. In January 2021, her and Josh welcomed their daughter into the world. They named her "Kerrigan" in honor of Erikka's all-time favorite former Washington player, Ryan Kerrigan.
Now, Erikka is Washington's 2021 Fan of the Year, presented by Captain Morgan. As the team's selection, Erikka received a flurry of prizes, including tickets to the Super Bowl, access to exclusive NFL events, an engraved game ball, a Captain Morgan cooler, a custom-curated Spotify playlist called "Erikka's Era" and more. One gift that gives her a special jolt of excitement though? Tickets to the rest of this season's home games.
"I always appreciate a game against Philadelphia," Erikka said with a laugh.