Holland Hatcher went to sleep on Monday with her NFL fandom hinging on the outcome of the Redskins-Steelers game at FedEx Field. The 7-month-old girl was “all smiles” on Tuesday morning, at least according to her mom, Sydney, a Steelers fan who made a friendly wager with her Redskins-loving husband before the game. As a result of Pittsburgh’s 38-16 win, Holland will bleed Black — not Burgundy — and Gold, at least until she’s old enough to make her own decisions about such things.
“I think she totally should have an Antonio Brown jersey,” Sydney Hatcher said Tuesday. “I think that should be her first jersey. She’s smiling at me right now, so I guess she likes that idea.”
Sydney proposed the bet, and it seemed like a much better idea to her husband, Nate, before Brown caught his second touchdown of the game to give the Steelers a three-score lead in the third quarter. By then, Holland was fast asleep, but not before sharing an emotional moment with her dad.
“We were both crying late last night, so it’s all good,” said Nate, 28.
Sydney posted a photo of Holland in a Troy Polamalu jersey next to a Terrible Towel on Facebook with the following message on Monday:
Someone is excited for the game! I know Nate is going to kill me for doing this but being that it’s her first game and our teams are playing, I just had to! …. it is decided that whoever wins tonight will be “her team” until she is able to decide for herself So much pressure!
The photo prompted trash-talk leading up to kickoff, and at least one Redskins fan in the couple’s extended family jokingly threatened to alert Child Protective Services. “I just wanted to make things interesting,” said Sydney, who had attempted to decipher the deeper meaning of Holland’s propensity for throwing her Redskins pacifier on the ground in the days leading up to the game.
Don’t feel too bad for Nate, a lifelong Redskins fan from Manassas who once told his best friend that he would marry a Redskins cheerleader one day. He did marry a Redskins cheerleader: Sydney, who was a Redskins cheerleader ambassador for two years and cheered on the field for one season. She just happened to be a Steelers fan, thanks to her mom. Nate asked Sydney out the day before she learned she made the team. They were married in September 2013 and the rehearsal dinner was Redskins- and Steelers-themed.
The divided loyalties in their Manassas home on Monday brought back memories of the first game Sydney cheered, the 2011 preseason opener between the Redskins and Steelers at FedEx Field. Nate and Sydney’s moms were in the stands, as they were for every home game that season, decked out in Redskins and Steelers gear, respectively.
“It was my first time on the field and I had to cheer for the Redskins, obviously, because I worked for them, but my heart was really for the Steelers,” Sydney said.
Now Holland’s heart, or at least her wardrobe, will be with the Steelers for the foreseeable future, though Nate is confident he’ll be able to convert the former free-agent fan at some point.
“She’s obviously learning about the agony of defeat, in my eyes,” Nate said after Pittsburgh’s sixth consecutive win over Washington. “I’ll own up to the bet until she’s old enough to decide for herself. That’s when we’ll make the change.”