A woman called the sports department the other day to say enough's enough. This Redskin stuff is getting out of hand. She is trying to arrange a wedding luncheon for her daughter, but everybody is saying they can't make it on the Sunday afternoon of her choice.
They're not saying why, but the woman knows the Redskins play foot-ball on Sunday afternoon and she has put two and two together.
"Some things ought to be sacred," she said, riding off in a blue snit.
Some things are sacred.
The Redskins-Cowboys game Monday night, for one.
Here we are at Redskin Park, and Diron Talbert, the old-man defensive tackle, has a day-glo bumper sticker on the back of his helmet.
"SCALP DALLAS," it says.
And after practice, here comes George Starke, an offensive tackle normally marked by a distinguished air.
Not this day. He is wearing jeans made of 6,000 denim patches. They appear to have been sewn together by a one-armed seamstress. He is wearing a belt so wide it must have cost the lives of three cows. The best (?) part is atop his head.
There, above his classic Romanesque countenance, shading his imperially thin mustache, the 30-year-old fine arts major from Columbia University - no basket-weaver, this tackle - is wearing a felt hat. It is a purple-gray hat. It is older and more wrinkled than Diron Talbert.
As Starke struts past linebacker Pete Wysocki, who is staring, the tackle tugs at the brim of his hat, puts on a nervous smile and explains it all in two words.
"Cowboy week," he says.
And ain't it grand? A congressman's office is scalping tickets. . . A Jewish friend of mine put his marriage on the line by suggesting Rosh Hashanah, since it falls on Monday, be celebrated not at a family dinner, per custom, but by tail-gaiting at RFK. . . A sportwriter was accosted by a sweet woman who interrupted her jogging to say, "Monday night, I'm gonna be shouting obscenities at Roger Staubach." Then she jogged off.
By and by today, we'll predict a winner in the Redskin-Cowboy game, and impatient readers may skip ahead to the last paragraph for the sure thing. But men be warned: if you skip ahead, you'll miss the Cowboys' cheerleaders.
Doug Todd is the Cowboys' publicity man.
His job is very difficult.
This is the way he does his job . . .
Whenever he spots a sportwriter, Todd says, "Ah, you want a cheerleaders poster?"
"Or two posters. Yeah, two. I know this guy," he says.
The Cowboys' cheerleaders are the jiggling prototypes of NFL chorus lines, some of which have fallen upon hard times.
The Redskinettes are back in their truck driver uniforms after a giddy week of naked navels. Out in San Diego, spoilsports fired the Chargettes when one posed nude for Playboy magazine. Denver's Pony Express lost a rider who was arrested for picking the pocket of an undercover policeman posing as an unconscious wino.
"If we've told our girls once, we've told them twice," Todd says. "Never roll a cop."
Morally outraged, Playboy came to the defense of the Chargettes, issuing a press release that said, in part:
"The Chargers - and other teams - have wrapped these enthusiastic young ladies up like candy every weekend on national television. All we did is ask them to remove the wrapping."
Presumably, the unwrapping of the Chargette did not expose a Baby Ruth, or even a Snickers. We will find out when we do our serious reading in November.
Until then, we will make do with the Redskin-Cowboy game Monday night. It promises everything a football freak could ask: futuristic offenses against angry defenses in a perennially important game.
Three weeks ago, when his TV partner, Vin Scully, praised the Dallas organization, George Allen just couldn't stand it.
"I'd like to play the Cowboys a 16-game schedule," Allen said. That's a good thing to say when you're not coaching anybody , of course, but from the combative glint in Allen's eyes, you'd judge the man was serious.
"Sure, he was serious," said Pete Wysocki, the linebacker. "George is a competitor and that's what pro football is all about - playing against the best. And Dallas, make no mistake, is the best team in the NFL."
Last year's Super Bowl victory proved that, Wysocki said, and if the Redskins are now 4-0 to the Cowboys' 3-1, that settles nothing. Still, the Redskins are, to quote Wysocki, "like a scientist on the verge of a discovery. We know we're close to something. Just don't blow it. It's like a rocket launching. You're pretty sure you can get it off the launching pad, but will you hit the moon?"
It helps, the linebacker-metaphorologist said, that the game comes on a Monday night.
Not because Howard, the Giffer and Dandy Don will be at RFK.
"It's great when we first come out of the runway and onto the field on Monday night at RFK." Wysocki said. "People are failling out of the stands. They're going wild."
The admiration is alcoholic, in part.
"They've had all day to get loaded." Wysocki said in praise. "You hear all that noise - and wow!"
The noise plus a solid performance by quarterback Joe Theismann and a sensational night by the secondary, will help the Redskins win this sacred contest. The score will be 23-17.