C limb every mountain, search high and low. Follow every byway, every path you know. No, we are not on the trail of the Trapp Family Singers, but rather, another tribe driven by a singular goal. Follow us now on the mighty journey of the fans of the Washington Redskins, ticket holders who dare to tread a path to FedEx Field.
This is a harrowing tale of dedication, of passion that cannot be suppressed even by a loathed owner who delights in planting new hurdles in his customers' way.
These are fans determined to survive the Reign of Young Danny the Greedy, even if they must pay $25 for shuttle bus rides, even if they must spend hours in traffic jams, even if they are barred from walking to the stadium, even if they have paid for seats that do not provide a view of the actual game.
Come now inside the Prince George's County Administration Building, where the Board of Appeals sits listening to evidence in the titanic struggle of Redskins fans to win the right to park their cars and walk on the public sidewalk up to the gridiron temple.
Danny the Greedy has decreed that no one shall place heel upon pavement in the quest to reach the holy coliseum of autumnal pleasures. The Redskins say it would be wrong to expose 91,000 subjects to death from the reckless driving of those who hold Coveted Parking Passes.
But Peggy Feltman, a fan who has remained faithful since her Skins cavorted in Griffith Stadium half a century ago, has risen up, appealing for relief from the ban on walking.
For hours, board members stared at video images of fans approaching the stadium grounds, only to be turned away. "No one gets through here walking," a Redskins guard told the fans, whose only wish was to be admitted so they could throw even more money at Danny and his warriors.
Turned away, the fans did not head home. No, they trudged a mile and seven-tenths through wood and mud, yea, in winter even through snow and ice, to find another point of entry.
On the Monday night of the quest against the Cowboys of Dallas, J.P. Szymkowicz, Feltman's lawyer, tried to walk to the stadium. Refused entry, he joined a crowd on the circuitous trek.
"I can't sit out in front of my house in Arlington and tell people, 'You can't walk on my street,' " he said. "Why can the Redskins block people from using sidewalks and streets that we paid for?"
The board plans to rule this month on whether Danny the Greedy truly seeks to protect fans' lives or whether the Owner wishes only to prevent people from entering the field without paying him a parking fee.
Those who would walk are joined in frustration by those who buy tickets but cannot see the competition. Jaylyn Jensen waited seven years for a chance to buy season passes, which she finally won last year. But she wanted to be closer to the action, and when the Redskins offered her new seats this year, she was told that the nearest pillar was 13 seats away.
But she arrived at her new seats to find herself but one row behind a pillar. Her vista stretched only from the 20-yard line to the end zone on the left and from the 15-yard line to the end zone on the right, with no view in between.
"For that kind of money, $84 a seat, it just blows my mind," said Jensen, who lives in Calvert County. She complained and was offered a refund, but if she accepts the money, she forfeits her status as a season ticket holder and returns to the bottom of the waiting list.
"So I have to eat it and try for better seats next year," she said. This year, she plans to let her seats lie fallow.
But why? How much abuse will the people gladly suffer?
"I grew up as a Redskins fan," Jensen said. "Every year, there's new nickel-and-diming. But they're my team."
"As much as Danny Snyder is hated, Joe Gibbs is loved," Szymkowicz said. "It sort of balances out."
In New York, where King George has ruled the Yankees with an iron fist for three decades, the people remain true to their team despite him. So too do our devoted swear fealty to their Redskins. An owner is a transitory thing, a pestilence that the people resolve to outlast, to overcome.
Even the most abusive ruler can be cut down to human scale. It is necessary only to call his ploys what they are, the petty games of one who deludes himself into thinking that he is the team, when he is only one more test of our allegiance to something higher, something eternal.