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For These Redskins Fans, It's Wait 'Til This Year


Good things come to those who wait.

In this case, the good things are Redskins' season tickets. They're finally in the hands of Kyle Spitzer, a fan who grew up in New Jersey and now lives in Saunderstown, R.I.

Spitzer says he put his name on the club's waiting list for general admission tickets about 10 years ago and didn't know if his time would ever come.

"My basement is an absolute shrine to the Redskins. I've got the yard lines, jerseys with my kids names on 'em painted on the walls, everything," he said while watching practice in a No. 47 (Chris Cooley) jersey. "I'm a little bit of a nut, so I put my name up for season tickets. I got the call back in February, and my wife said 'Go ahead, you paid your dues,' so I did it."

The Redskins have been sold out at home for every game since 1967 and the scroll of eager customers continues to grow. FedExField has capacity for 91,704, the most in the NFL.

"Tens of thousands of fans add their names to the wait list every year. Fans wait years after they put their names on the list to be offered the opportunity to buy tickets," Redskins chief executive officer David Donovan said.

It is an article of faith that Joe Fan shows inordinate patience in the face of such high demand.

It was true of Joe Phan, too. He's 34, lives in Laurel, Md., and signed up nine years ago. He could not accept the ticket offer in 2009 with the birth of a daughter occupying the family's time but he gladly accepted this spring.

"My wife (Helen) and I are really excited. No more scrounging on the Internet for tickets and paying double," he said. "She loves to tailgate and organizes all of that. I do the yelling and screaming."

Kids often factor into the decision to try for tickets. Cheryl Wilner of Bethesda, Md., decided to do so when she gave birth to twin boys, Ethan and Brandon. She and the 7-year-olds are now ticket holders. They will be out of town on opening day, though, so, she says, "the baby-sitters get to go. We'll be there for the Houston Texans game" on Sept. 19.

Brad Boothe of Roanoke, Va., got the call just after the Redskins made the Easter Sunday trade for quarterback Donovan McNabb.

"Maybe it's destiny," said the 31-year-old marketing specialist for a financial company.

He had attended games in the past, on tickets bought in the secondary market or with those offered to him by his boss. Now he owns two and he said he will never let them go.

"I was beaming for a week after I got the call," Boothe said. "I've been a die-hard fan since I was five years old. I put my name on the list about seven or eight years ago after I got my first real job and thought it would take 15 years so it was a pleasant surprise when my name came up."

The good news? He'll be at FedExField on opening day against the Dallas Cowboys. The bad news? He's bringing his brother Casey, a Cowboys fan.

"I've let him know that if he starts running his mouth, I'll be the first one to hit him," Boothe joked. "I won't have his back."

Spitzer and his dad, Fred, drove seven hours to make it to a couple of last week's practices. He plans to attend four games this season – he and his 5-year-old son Brady will fly, not drive.

"I hoped one day it would happen but I put it out of my mind and watched the games on Sunday Ticket. It was a hope and a prayer," Spitzer said.

Prayer answered. When he doesn't attend, he'll give the tickets to his buddies.

Lucky friends. Good things sometimes come to those who don't have to wait too long.

Larry Weisman, an award-winning journalist during 25 years with USA TODAY, writes for and appears nightly on Redskins Nation on Comcast SportsNet. Read his Redskinsblitz blog at *** and follow him on **.*

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