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It's funny. You walk around the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center enough and you find two responses to the question, "How long have you been a fan?"
Check out images of the fans who came out to watch the Redskins during training camp practice on Sunday, August 2, 2015, at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
One's an honest, specific answer, maybe because somebody moved recently or they remember their favorite player's era. The other is a laughing, incredulous rebuttal of, "Since we were born!"
The latter is how Sean Whitaker and Brendan Arrington, two lifelong friends from Enfield, N.C., responded as they stood in the corner of the far end zone, watching receivers haul in touchdown passes. It's a pastime – watching football, hanging out, talking about life – that makes their experience full.
"I just moved up here , matter of fact, last year I moved up here," Whitaker said. "The year doesn't start until you get training camp going on, for me anyway. I'm a football…I love football. My year doesn't start until I start seeing my Skins running around."
The two of them grew up throughout the 1980s, which is to say their childhood was dominated by successful teams, Super Bowl victories and the gritty nature of its players.
"The Redskins were the only team we had back then," Whitaker said. "We didn't have the Panthers until the late 90s, 2000s. So I just gravitated towards the Redskins."
Thanks to his family, Arrington didn't have to choose a team in a region that was somewhat ambiguous in its affiliation.
"I grew up watching the Redskins," Arrington remembered. "My dad told me about the first Super Bowl they won with Riggins. I was two or three years old. But I remember 87-88 just like it was the other day."
Arrington now teaches physical education and coaches for his kids' teams. Whitaker works as a train conductor, but he finds a little more catharsis when he looks out at the field and sees players in the midst of their drills after playing collegiately for North Carolina State.
"When I come out here, I really do look forward to the positions I played," he said. "I still remember the speed of the game back in college. I know it's not the pros, but still."
Whitaker played just about every position growing up, letting Arrington, slightly younger, play with him and the older kids. Arrington eventually played receiver for the same high school, inspired by great Art Monk.
They want to see the Redskins get back to the days of "The Hogs" and find some consistency within games. And you can be sure they'll be present when the Redskins visit the Panthers.
"I've got my tickets already," Arrington said.