For years Washington Redskins fans would hang over the rails in hopes of shaking hands or touching the jersy of defensive back Darrell Green as he ran into the locker room after the games.
But Sunday, the retired NFL Hall of Fame great waited near the home plate tunnel at Nationals Park to get a chance to shake hands with Pastor Joel Osteen after Osteen’s “ America’s Night of Hope,”
“ Here is one of the most famous men in America, and his association is to be recognized with the church of the Lord Jesus Christ,” Green said. ”I had a great job playing football. I was respected and appreciated, but this is the most important thing to all of us whether we know it or not.”
A few minutes later, aides to Osteen opened the gate to the infield and welcomed Green and other local people to meet the televangelist, including D.C. Coucncil member Vincent Orange (D-At-large) and of local officials and pastors.
For nearly three hours Osteen mixed inspirational stories with music, and even though he never opened the bible, he often talked about the power of God. “All of the forces of darkness can’t keep you from your destiny. ... Friends, nothing can snatch you out of God’s plan.”
After the event, Orange, motivational speaker Willie Jolley, and others shook hands with Osteen. Orange said, “This was an awesome event. It was good to be here for a night of hope. It was a great message.”
While Joel Osteen was shaking hands with people near first base, his wife started shaking hands and talking with people as she approached home plate tunnel at which time she expressed her gratitude about the event and the possibility of returning to Washington, D.C., in the future.
“Thank y’all for coming out. God Bless You,” said Victoria Osteen. When asked about her feelings on coming to the District. “We love D.C. It is amazing. We love the people of D.C. We are coming to come back again. That is for sure.”
Shaking hands with Victoria Osteen made waiting an extra day to attend the event all the better for Tonia Rexrode of Stanton, Va., and her family. ”Our daughter was saved tonight. She is a single mother who has been though a lot. We got chills. He was so inspirational.”
In addition to people in the stands, Jacqueline Pearsal, a singer from Evangel Cathedral in Upper Marlboro, was excited that she got to be part of the choir that brought together local voices with singers from Osteen’s Lakewood Church. “It was a wonderful experience. We became just one choir behind one faith and one God.”
As Osteen left the stadium, he shook hands, gave high fives and took business cards through the home plate net. When asked to react about his experience and coming back to D.C., he said :”Yes, A lot of good people.”
While many people were happy to be part of the Osteen event, Green said it was a good night for the Lord. “ I am so glad to see this placed filled up like this, the word has gone forth, one thing about God, he don’t need no help.”