Robert Griffin III, as you likely know, is getting married in Denver this weekend. I think by now we all realize that D.C. sports fans feel a particularly strong connection with this kid, despite his youth, and despite the brief time he’s spent in Washington.
But his wedding seemed like a good opportunity to flash back on the many, many D.C. sports fans whose connection is so strong that they wanted to find a way to incorporate the quarterback into their own nuptials.
Is there something odd about grown men paying tribute to a young athletic star on one of the most important days of their life? That’s not for me to decide. To me, the most striking part of this all is that Robert Griffin III already seems like a D.C. institution, a trope to be woven into Washington-themed events, as much linked with this city as monuments and half-smokes, donkeys and elephants, K Street and the Beltway. Got a big life milestone coming? Okay, cool; now how should we incorporate Robert Griffin III?
And so we start with this lovely image from James Edwin Griffin III’s wedding last fall. In addition to his name, the groom — known to friends as Tripp — is the grandson of a man from Waco, a Baylor alum. A childhood friend, Thomas Schroder, had already seen the waves of people “Griffining” early in the NFL season, and some of the groomsmen were old-school North Carolina Redskins fans.
“So as we stood around on the first tee at Blowing Rock Country Club sweating in our matching suits,” he wrote, “I threw out the idea that we all plop down in the tee-box and throw up the Griffin pose. The photographer welcomed anything that wasn’t her standard script, so we sat down, leaned back, and threw up our hands to the sweet blue Carolina sky.”
That wedding was a combination of Panthers and Redskins fans, but others have been more Washington-centric. Here, for example, is 32-year old David Denoff, a lifelong Redskins fan who was married in Richmond this March. He, too, took a Griffining shot, surrounded by his smiling groomsmen.
“I just wanted to be able to pay a small tribute to the QB that has brought back our franchise,” he explained. “It was a fun way for me to represent my fandom for the Redskins and the QB that will be leading our team for years to come.”
Later, his bride Mandy instructed the wedding DJ to play “Hail to the Redskins” as the couple entered the reception.
And here’s Jonah Schuman, also married last fall.
“It just happened to be right after the opening game of the season,” he wrote, explaining the shot of him Griffining in Redskins socks. “It was a very Redskin-themed wedding, so it worked out well.”
Others paid tribute not via pose, but via dress. Like Cody Godfrey, married in Mexico last month. He’s from Fort Worth, where he’s surrounded by Cowboys fans, but Godfrey has been a Redskins fan for two decades, and an RGIII fan since he starred at Baylor. After his wedding was over, he slipped on his No. 10 jersey and posed with his bride.
“Had to support my Redskins and RGIII on my wedding day,” he explained.
And then, of course, there are the socks. Matt Rohr and his groomsmen all wore the quarterback’s “Go Catch Your Dream” draft-day socks, in burgundy and gold, to his May wedding at The Homestead in Virginia. He wanted to spice up the traditional tuxedo, while also paying “a little tribute to the home team,” and he knew the Redskins-loving crowd would appreciate the gesture.
“The reaction was priceless,” he wrote. “My new wife was actually thrilled and thought it was really cool! A bunch of people stopped to take pictures with us and there were numerous chants of Hail to the Redskins!”
Later, one of Rohr’s groomsmen wore the socks to a job interview for good luck. He wound up getting the gig.
Even non-Redskins fans have played along, to help their friends celebrate. Andrew King, for example, is a Giants fan, but when his friend Mike Hammond got married in Ocean City last weekend, he dutifully donned the “Unbelievably Believable” socks paying tribute to the groom’s favorite player, “because I knew it would make Mike happy.”
“The socks were a hit,” he reported. “A lot of Mike’s family are Washington fans and they really got a kick out of them and after awhile we tucked the pants into the socks so everyone could see them.”
Others realized early on that their RGIII socks needed to be displayed, like Brendan Tracz, who was also married last week. He’s been a Skins season ticket holder since the day he graduated college, and when a friend got married in argyle socks last month, the RGIII idea was born.
“So naturally, he bought all 11 of us groomsmen the Superman socks from the Heisman presentation,” explained the friend, Brandon Maslar. “We wore them the whole day but waited until the introduction of all the groomsmen at the reception to show them off. To be honest, I’d bet most of the crowd was a little confused, but the Redskins fans in the audience were definitely cheering.”
And the bride?
“Totally cool with it,” Maslar reported, which perhaps should not be surprising, since she mentioned her husband’s love for RGIII in a passage the pastor worked into the homily.
While Tracz bought the socks for his groomsmen, others reversed the gift-giving. Peter Stewart, a 32-year old lifelong Skins fan, had joked about using such socks during his ceremony, but he didn’t follow through. So on the date of his February wedding, two of his groomsmen surprised him with “No Pressure No Diamonds” socks, “which seemed appropriate for the occasion,” he noted.
“My wife didn’t know about them until after the ceremony, but loved them despite rooting for the Cowboys,” Stewart wrote. “They were a big hit with everyone at the wedding — even the Cowboy-loving in-laws. Everyone at the wedding knows that D.C. sports, and especially the Redskins, are a part of my life.”
Which is the point for all of these people, I think. Like, here’s Matt Heflin, reflecting on his November wedding in Culpeper, Va.
“I really didn’t know what to get my groomsmen for a gift,” Heflin wrote. “Since RGIII was a beast on the field, my groomsmen that were Redskins-haters all of the sudden were big RGIII fans. So I [wondered] what could I get that would stand out and make things a little more interesting. I saw the neon socks that said ‘Work Hard’ on one sock and ‘Stay Humble’ on the other.”
And next thing you know, the groomsmen – Mike, Rory, Sam, Ralph, JPRE, Alex and Trent — were Griffining in their suits and socks. The socks, Heflin wrote, “were definitely the hit of the wedding. RGIII has truly been special to a lot of people, including me, so I thought I would bring him along on my special day.”