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Eva Miles was at training camp last week when unpredicted rain made Saturday's joint practices with the Texans damp and unusually chilly. Saturday, for Fan Appreciation Day, it was "hot as Hades," she said. But then she checked herself.
"I'm not going to complain," Miles said. "I get to see my team."
That was the general spirit at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Center on the second to last day fans could see their favorite team up close, watch football and even get a tan.
Hours before opening the gates, fans lined down the sidewalk and eventually filled into the facility, where several pre-practice events and presentations occurred. For the kids, football games and Play 60 obstacles provided fun and a release of energy as parents camped out with lawn chairs and umbrellas.
Check out photos of Redskins owner Dan Snyder signing autographs and taking pictures with Redskins Nation at the 2015 Redskins Fan Appreciation Day Aug. 15, 2015, at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center.
The Varina High School marching band kicked things off on the field, providing music and dancing to some funk and a rendition of Michael Jackson's "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough." The Washington Redskins Marching Band followed them with some tributes to Bruno Mars and Pharrell and premiered their drumline before playing "Hail To The Redskins."
"It was great," said Howard Lussey, a trumpeter who's been playing for over 60 years. "Our biggest problem was it took four hours to come on the bus because of traffic [laughing]. This was just perfect. They enjoyed the whole crowds, enjoyed the whole business."
In between, the First Ladies of Football had the chance to introduce themselves to the Redskins faithful and danced to a few songs with their younger cheerleader campers. A touchdown celebration competition made a few youngsters momentary stars.
"Them coming to Richmond has renewed us as Redskins fans," said Susan Winckler of Midloathian, Va., who brought her two kids down. "We've always been Redskins fans but now it is more fun. You get to meet the players. I see them live and in person and it's a new meaning when it's on TV. Richmond doesn't have a professional team, so it's great that they come here."
The players, in their first practice since Thursday's game against the Browns, enjoyed stretching to some dance songs, which gave them a chance to show off their skills in front of the fans. Head coach Jay Gruden also addressed the crowd before initiating practice.
"The fan support has been outstanding," Gruden said. "To go out here at the end of practice and give away jerseys and balls and sign autographs to reward the people and thank them for coming is a great deal. We're very appreciative of Richmond – the fans, Bon Secours [Training Center] – we're very happy with the situation that we're in."
For Freda Smith, adorned in burgundy from jersey to earrings, who travelled from Norfolk, Va., training camp allows her to spend time with her favorite team, but most importantly, enjoy the company of friends and fans.
"It's the camaraderie," she said. "Everybody's just like one big fan."