Ed Kenney plans to show up at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego Sunday without a ticket to the Super Bowl game.
But if anyone can work out a deal, Kenney is the man.
Last month, the management consultant hired a taxi to drive him three hours over two mountain ranges in Costa Rica so he could watch the Redskins battle one of their biggest pre-Super Bowl contenders, the Chicago Bears, on television.
"When I got there, nobody could speak English to know what I wanted," said the Vienna resident, who was on a nature expedition in the Central American country last month.
Kenney found bliss in front of a color TV at the Key Largo, a breezy saloon in San Jose frequented that day by shady exiles in straw hats. With two parrots perched occasionally on his shoulder, and sporting a Redskins shirt, Kenney said he watched the Redskins whip the Bears 21-17.
"I just had a sense they were going to win. I felt like they needed my help. I sent my vibes up north," said Kenney, who will just happen to be in California on business this weekend, sans Super Bowl ticket.
There are Washington Redskins fans, and then there are the Ed Kenneys of the world. The four days to the Super Bowl, filled with giddy emotions and foolhardy wheeling and dealing, are breeding weird happenings.
Throughout the Washington area, residents are in the throes of Redskins mania. Beyond the glittering hoopla over staged events and outrageous ticket prices are the Redskins loyalists who quietly are managing to reshuffle their lives for this one special week.
"The Super Bowl is a very powerful holiday," said Thomas Tutko, a professor who specializes in sports psychology at San Jose State University. "Everybody is looking for their own personal Super Bowl. Everything is on the line for a very brief period of time. They're letting it all hang out . . . . You identify with all that it took to get there."
To become a part of the Super Bowl XXII experience, for instance, a catered wedding in a Washington area home this Sunday will include broiled salmon, roast beef and a big-screen television.
The best man "was uptight that he would miss the game," said Stevan Werlinich, a vice president at B&B Caterers in Washington, who declined to identify the wedding party. "We're going to put it in the recreation room for them."
And sucked in by the ticket frenzy, about 50 Redskins fans called in to radio station WAVA (105-FM) to promise solemnly to commit such acts as eating dog food and hanging from the ceiling to win a free Super Bowl package in a contest sponsored yesterday by the station and Champions, a popular sports bar in Georgetown.
"Everyone is planning their lives around this weekend," said Champions coowner Mike O'Harro, whose bar will play host to local television stations filming the Sunday festivities. "During the Super Bowl, there is no regular citizen in this city."
However, there may not be another fan quite like 50-year-old Gracy Sneed. She works 74 hours a week as a treatment counselor and a nurse to support her Redskins habit, which she said has afflicted her for nearly 40 years. "Ms. Redskins, that's what I've been named," she said with a chuckle.
While she doesn't have a Super Bowl seat in San Diego, she won't have to leave her Landover apartment to feel close to the team this Sunday.
There is the "Redskins tree," a four-foot-high tree that she has positioned in her living room and draped with Redskins paraphernalia, including traveling bags, garters and photographs. Then there is her 1979 white Ford with the Maryland license tag "Ms. Skin." There is her Redskins toothbrush, her silk-screened sweat suits, her burgundy and gold sneakers, her fingernails painted with Redskins motifs.
To "Ms. Redskins," this is all quite normal. "This is just my vice," said Sneed, who plans to have two television sets and a radio blaring on Sunday. "I'm telling you. I can't wait until Sunday. I'm really crazy about them."
Ron Hermes, owner of the Eaglehead Country Club in Frederick, is crazy about both the Redskins and the Broncos, and increasingly is becoming a desperate man. Like hundreds of other fans, he is looking for affordable Super Bowl tickets.
A season ticket holder for the Denver Broncos, Hermes calls Denver his home. But in the 10 years that he has lived in Maryland, he said he also has become a Redskins fan. Hermes, 53, said he has offered to give a $2,200 two-year membership to his club in exchange for two tickets.
"I've been saying for years that the only thing I would want most in the world is for the Redskins and the Broncos to be in the Super Bowl. Now, it finally happened," Hermes said. "I'm willing to listen to anything."
But in the euphoric times of Super Bowl week, there are also hard times.
And in the holy splendor of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in Southeast, Jewel Freeman pondered her family's elusive Super Bowl dream last Sunday.
She wept. She clutched the Bible in her lap. But mostly, Freeman tried to vanquish the evil thoughts about a man who had vanished with $1,200 meant for her family's Super Bowl XXII tickets. She said she wanted to see the man's leg or arm broken.
Freeman's family took the hardest of gambles. They bought nonrefundable airline tickets to San Diego. Then they went for the real long shot -- the out-of-town purchase of cheaper tickets, a gamble that did not pay off.
Her family could not afford the high-priced game tickets being sold in Washington, so Freeman called a friend in Chicago who promised that he could get tickets there for the dream price of $300 a shot. Freeman believed him. Her family pooled $1,200.
A meeting was arranged so that the transaction would be watched by another friend in Chicago. But just as the two were to buy the tickets, the man slipped into a men's room with the money and never came out.
"When I look at it now, I guess we will do things that really don't make good sense, but we do them," said Freeman, a single parent and an auditor for the Environmental Protection Agency. "Was it practical? No. But it was attainable. I felt it was history."