The Washington Post

D.C.’s Greatest Sports Fan Contest: Round 2 winners

To trim the six remaining contestants to three finalists for the D.C.’s Greatest Sports fan contest, our judges had to play film critic this week.

Columnist Tracee Hamilton and bloggers Cindy Boren and Dan Steinberg took a hard look at the videos submitted for Round 2 of the contest, in which we asked contestants to create a 90-second video in which they displayed their most-prized piece of D.C. sports memorabilia and told us the story behind it. The videos were judged on the quality and originality of the story the contestants told, their creativity in telling it and reader input.

John Mann , Michael Ortman and John Pence were the top three in our judges — and readers — eyes.

Mann’s memorabilia was a ticket stub from the 1924 World Series, won by the Washington Senators. The stub was found among the belongings of his great-grandfather, Frankie Mann, after Frankie’s death. “What this ticket represents to me,” Mann says in the video, “is the family tradition of one generation passing to the next their love of D.C. sports and D.C. teams.”

The judges liked the effort Mann put into his video, the cut-ins and the clever ending. “His point was that Washington is not just a town of transients, and sports connects the generations here,” Hamilton said. Reader ABB7 added “It is these kinds of personal stories and emotional connections that are part of what makes sports great.”

In his video, Ortman also showed off a generational connection — through the box of sod he collected at RFK Stadium after the final Redskins game there in 1996. It was the slickest of the six videos presented, but the substance was even better than the style, the judges said.

“It wasn’t just the quality of the video,” Steinberg said. “It was a unique story, and he told it well.” Meantime, reader Janet Wyatt posted on the comment thread, “Mike has the full picture and it’s a real ‘circle of life’ moment...That’s what’s great about this town — memories and legacy.”

Pence’s video was simpler, but the story behind a framed letter on his wall impressed our judges. The letter was sent to Pence’s sixth-grade class in 1984 by the Washington Redskins, thanking the students for sending the team a tape of them singing “Hail to the Redskins.” The best part - Pence is the one student mentioned by name in the letter, which was signed by a host of 1980s Redskins legends, including Art Monk, John Riggins, Russ Grimm and Joe Theismann.

“It’s great because it reminds you that there was a time when a team would actually send a thank-you note to a fan and have players sign it,” Boren said. “It was obvious why it mattered to him and why he wanted to show it to people,” Steinberg added. The personal nature of the letter made this entry a winner, reader Aloha44 said, adding “Anyone earning the title of ‘greatest sports fan’ should have something more than a dime-a-dozen tchotchke.”

The judges also enjoyed the creative videos submitted by Allison Bagot , Tracy Tran and Colin Wilcox , but they couldn’t send them on ahead of Mann, Ortman and Pence.

Do you think the judges made the right call? Let us know what you think in the comments. We’ll sort out the finalists – who are in contention for $1,000 worth of sports tickets – via a trivia challenge. Stay tuned for details on the quiz and the contestants’ scores.


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