As the public information officer for the Loudoun County school system, Wayde Byard is one of the best-known local officials. In winter, children, parents and school staff members eagerly anticipate hearing his voice on phone alerts announcing weather-related school closings.
Now Byard is directing his voice toward a new audience, as the author of a history of the Washington Redskins. His first book, “The Burgundy and Gold Standard,” has been published by Mascot Books, which is based in Herndon.
Byard and two other local authors will sign their sports-related books Tuesday at an event in Ashburn. Joining Byard will be Andrea Alexander, who has written two sports biographies for children, and Ann Good, author of “Washington Nationals A to Z.” The event will raise funds for Glory Days Live, a nonprofit group Alexander is launching to raise money and equipment to help children from low-income families play sports.
A former sportswriter and editor, Byard said he began collecting information for a book on the National Football League years ago, when he created a database that has swelled to 3,000 pages, including information on every NFL team. He got to know many of the Redskins players and staff members while covering the team for the Winchester Star in the 1990s.
“When you’re around the team and you see them as people, not just numbers . . . you really get to know what they feel,” Byard said. “You see the pain they play through. You know their back stories and some of the things they’ve overcome. And I always end up impressed with them as people.”
Byard traces the history of the franchise from its beginnings as the Boston Braves through last season. He delves into social issues such as race relations, players’ sexual orientation and the ongoing controversy over the team’s name.
“NFL history is the history of America for the last century,” Byard said.
He focuses on some of the most interesting characters who have been associated with the team over the years, including former coach George Allen, whom Byard characterized as an eccentric genius; former general manager Bobby Beathard, “the smartest executive in any profession I’ve ever seen”; and notable players such as Bobby Mitchell, Sonny Jurgensen and John Riggins.
Former player Pat Fischer will attend the book signing, which will be Tuesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Hail & Hog, a Redskins-themed restaurant. There will also be a silent auction and raffle to raise money for Alexander’s Glory Days Live nonprofit organization.
The mother of two sons who are active in sports, Alexander said she became aware that some families were having trouble paying for their children to play organized sports.
“I have seen multiple instances of kids that haven’t been able to either participate in sports, or they haven’t been able to participate in some of the additional things off season, or they haven’t had the right equipment, because they didn’t have the money,” she said.
Alexander, of Leesburg, a telecommunications consultant, said she is working with local sports leagues and the school system to identify children whose families need financial assistance.
Alexander will sign copies of her biographies of Nationals star Bryce Harper and Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins. The books are targeted at children in early elementary grades.
She said she was inspired to write children’s books after having a hard time motivating her younger son to read.
“I never really found anything that captured his interest, other than the fact that he loves sports and knows every athlete that’s out there,” she said.
Alexander said biographies on Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals and John Wall of the Wizards are also in the works. She plans to donate the profits from the sale of her books to Glory Days Live.