Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hail to the Redskins

Sarah and John are lifetime fans of the Washington Redskins (American) football team.  Months before we traveled to South Africa, we decided it would be fun to buy a few Redskins NFL game jerseys for the kids and teach them to be fans of RG3 and the rest of the Redskins.  It is important to spread the Redskins gospel worldwide.

We didn't want to be in the position of choosing which children got to have the limited number of jerseys and T-shirts we brought.  So we let Berny make the calls.  Berny decided to give them to boys who were either the most underprivileged or had been in the day care program the longest.  In the middle of the filming session, Berny called a few audibles and temporarily switched some jerseys to the most enthusiastic kids.  This included some girls who were really into it.

Skins:  Gandhi, John, Chandler, Royston, Orakpo, Edward, Logan

This pretty young lady gets a turn at being RG3

Berny uses some Redskins shorts as headwear

John started teaching the kids the Redskins fight song, "Hail to the Redskins," on Tuesday of our last week on the project.  This song dates back to 1937.  An additional teaching challenge was that the native language of the kids is Afrikaans, not English.  But they do speak some English, and they were totally game for the challenge.  In fact, our Redskins fan club back in Seattle may have step up their own game in matching the singing quality of these kids.


Gandhi and Logan listen intently to the instructions

We thought we would have 3 days to practice during breaks in our construction work, but fate intervened.  On Tuesday evening, after we left work, there was a pretty serious dispute among the neighbors around our work site.  The police and social services counselors were called in.  For our safety and to let everyone in the neighborhood cool down, it was decided that we would not return to work until the situation got better.  Things had stabilized by Friday, which was our last day on the project.

Since Friday is always a short (3-hour) day, we had to proceed to the photo/film session with only a little additional practice, including several lines of the song that we had not practiced before.  But the kids all did great.  The kids really nailed the "Fight for Old D.C.!" line.  In fact, they walked around after practice singing that line on their own all afternoon on Tuesday.

The team practices hailing victory

We intended to include links to three videos here.  We spent 7 or 8 hours trying to upload them, at our host family’s home, two different hotels and an Internet caf√©.  We finally gave up the quest after almost a week.  Otherwise, we could have posted this blog entry last Sunday.

The three videos capture the kids practicing the first four lines of the song, chanting “RG3!,” and singing a good portion of “Hail to the Redskins” just before we left the site for the final time.  We have the videos on our computer and camera, and they are really entertaining.  We will try to E-mail them to the members of our Redskins fan group once we are back in Seattle.  It will also be fun to see them on a 50” TV screen.

It was an added bonus that Royston, who looks like mini-Obama, was chosen as one of the kids to get an RG3 jersey.  And we were happy that the diminutive Gandhi and Logan, who come from tough backgrounds, were included as well.  Chandler, one of John's favorites, also got the starting nod.  We  brought one Brian Orakpo jersey to let the kids know that the Redskins are not a one-man team.

RG3!  RG3!  RG3!  RG3!  RG3!

Don’t be fooled by the smile; he can tackle like Brian Orakpo

We had so much fun doing this.  Everyone one of these kids is an All Pro.  Our fellow volunteers, Project Manager and some of the Projects Abroad Cape Town office staff were all there on Friday morning and joined in the fun.  I think we converted some of them into Redskins fans as well!

Team photo before the 2013/14 Super Bowl season

Hail to South Africa!  Hail to Cape Town!

UPDATE!!

We are home and back on a cable connection. We finally got our videos loaded. These are too cute to miss!

This is our practice session

Griffining! RG3! RG3!
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Unfortunately the last line got cut off. But these kids are better than a stadium full of fans!

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