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Wednesday, August 26: Remembering A Redskins Fan

Posted by Matt Terl on August 26, 2009 – 10:10 am

Nick Adenhart would’ve turned 23 this past Monday.

The Silver Spring native, a pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, was killed by a drunk driver on April 9 of this year. And this month has to be particularly tough for his friends and family, not only because of his birthday, but because football season is starting up. Redskins season, specifically. And Adenhart was a passionate Redskins fan; it was one of the things that he shared with his loved ones.

I know this because his friend Paul DiTomasso emailed to tell me so.

When I heard the news that Adenhart had passed away, it was distant — sad, because a young man had lost his life, but removed from me by 3,000 miles and any personal connection. Then I found out that he was from Silver Spring, the town I was born in, and it seemed closer. Then I realized that I had read a profile of him from his high school days five years ago in the Washington Post — a profile written by blogger Dan Steinberg, coincidentally enough — and it seemed closer still.

And then I got the email from DiTomasso, and the way DiTomasso described Adenhart’s feelings for the Redskins, and his group of friends and family, and the way all those things combined … it was all very familiar, and it changed Adenhart’s story for me. Instead of a distant celebrity tragedy, I understood as a much more human-scale loss.

DiTomasso was kind enough to allow me to reprint some of his memories of Adenhart, and to send a couple of photos of Adenhart and their friends celebrating at Redskins games. This week, following Adenhart’s birthday and the first home Redskins game since his passing, seemed like an appropriate time to share them.

Here’s DiTomasso:

I was a season ticket holder for the past two seasons, and as soon as baseball season was over Nick flew back to the east coast so we could attend games together. (I chose to not renew this upcoming year, would be way too difficult.)

I could tell stories for days about the games we went to, the games we watched together…but one story really sticks out in my head, and it comes from the Cowboys-Redskins game this [past] year at FedEx.

I had just completed my first year of law school at Liberty University, so when this past November came around the work was piling up. As difficult as it was, I decided that I was not going to be able to attend the Redskins-Cowboys game. I sent Nick the tickets. Instead of asking any of our numerous friends who are huge Redskins and Cowboy fans Nick asked his father to attend the game with him- that’s what kind of person Nick was. Nick’s dad Jim is a retired member of the U.S. Secret Service and a lifelong Skins fan.

Thinking about being at a Redskins-Cowboys game at FedEx on Sunday night football with your father is one of the feelings that gives you goosebumps, a feeling and memory that lasts forever. I am so glad I did not attend that game with Nick, the thought of how much fun he had with his dad that night puts a smile on my face, and at a time like this smiles are hard to come by.

Shows how being a part of the Redskins, and being a fan of a sports team is not about the wins and losses, but the memories that come out of having a mutual love for something. Nick was able to share that with his father that night.

Nick and I attended the Giants game the following [home-game] week, the Sean Taylor tribute game; that was the last time we would watch a Redskins game together.

[The top picture] is from the Redskins-Giants game from 2007 and the other from the Redskins-Steelers Monday Night game from this past season. For the Steelers game Nick treated (as he often did) our close friends with tickets to the game. The crew that we grew up with cheering for the Redskins was all present and we were able to take a group picture.

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