Friday, December 29, 2023


As published in The County Times (

By Ronald N. Guy Jr.

Foiled by a crashed ticket service (nameless, for now, to protect the guilty) last fall, and with time slipping away, the prospects seemed bleak.  There was still a way through the gate, but the cost resembled a mortgage payment, not a few hours of entertainment.  Two young hearts weren’t broken, but with time running out and no viable options, they braced for disappointment.

Then light fought through the clouds. 

“Dad, I just got a ticket notification…what do I do?”  “Where?”, I asked.  “Philly…on Saturday night.  The tickets are still a lot…oh, and we have four minutes to decide”, said my daughter.

Let me offer a couple things.  First, “a lot” was a A LOT less than I had been tracking on the secondary market, so this flicker of hope had my attention.  But it came out of nowhere.  The four minutes to decide were trimmed to two-and-a-half once my slowing, middle-age brain processed this unexpected possibility and the adrenaline it stoked.  Pressure.  With no idea if this date worked for our family, no hotel, no clue if that other fragile heart I mentioned was available or could get from school in Boston to Philly, I gave my daughter the go-ahead.  Details, details.  Two dreams were on the line.  “No” or “Let me think about it” weren’t on the menu.  “Yes” was the only option. 

And that’s how my daughter and niece, after months of struggle, researching, checking and crying (lots and lots of crying), survived Ticketmaster’s debacle and scored seats to Taylor Swift’s concert.

In the end, all those unknowns worked out just fine – the drive to Philadelphia, my niece’s availability and train from Boston, the two hours of prep (two hours!) the ladies needed before the concert and finding our way through the maze of Swifties.  On the drive home, one word dominated my thoughts: moments.  All that struggle, all the worry, the time, the cost: none of it mattered now.  Those two young ladies (besties) had a moment together, one that created a precious, lifetime memory.  Priceless stuff.    

With the sale of the Washington Commanders moving closer to completion, long-suffering fans of the Burgundy and Gold are starting to view the future through a decidedly different lens.  At the very least, prospective owner Josh Harris seems capable of building a professional organization that fans can be proud to root for again.  And what if the team wins?  Regularly.  Can you imagine?  Maybe, maybe not (you to be at least 40-years-old to remember when this franchise had sustained success).  I can…and it was glorious.  At its peak, the team cut through every petty difference even a town like Washington, D.C. and its surrounding region could muster – a razor sharp knife through buttery political sludge. 

From 1981 into the early 1990s, D.C. had a football moment.  The scramble for tickets, the pre-game prep, the euphoria of the event, the absolute and unqualified togetherness of those wearing the colors – it was very similar to a Taylor Swift concert.  Wins put a spring in your step all week.  Loses hurt until at least Wednesday.  And then, as Swift says in her song “August”, it all “…slipped away into a moment in time.”

It can happen again.  The Caps hoisted the Stanley Cup in 2018.  The Nats had their World Series moment in 2019.  Sometimes moments are more like “Eras” (see what I did there, Swifties?).  The Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s.  Duke basketball.  The Packers of the 1960s, then with Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers.  Serena Williams and Roger Federer.  Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.  Alabama football – with Paul “Bear” Bryant and now with Nick Saban.  The Tom Brady-Bill Belichick Patriots. 

Dan Snyder broke us: we concluded (correctly) that nothing good would come from his ownership.  Josh Harris and his ownership team haven’t made a single football move yet.  They haven’t even officially assumed the helm of the Commanders.  But maybe the phoenix (Harris) will rise from the ashes (Snyder) – that’s the prevailing feeling now.  Harris has allowed us to dream again.  And if that Taylor Swift experience proved anything, it was that a dream, held onto tightly, can produce an unforgettable moment. 

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