In 1961, District of Columbia Stadium opened its doors as the primary venue to Washington’s NFL team. It would also serve as the primary home of the Washington Senators baseball team from 1962 through 1971 when they moved to Minneapolis to become the Minnesota Twins. Renamed in 1969 for the assassinated Robert F. Kennedy, RFK played host to many historical events.
But time stops for no one or no building. The NFL team left in 1996, the Washington Nationals left in 2007, and the sole tenant (aside from a few United States National Team matches) since then has been D.C. United. They have continued to play in the ever decaying hulk that is RFK, however, next season they are slated to open a new stadium at Buzzard Point.
This Saturday is the last time - barring anything unforeseen - that the Philadelphia Union will play in RFK, so we reached out on Facebook and asked for your best memories there. The responses were amazing. People remember seeing the USMNT playing there back in the day, people who met a lot of the Sons of Ben on road trips, and the one guy who went to the Soccer Bowl back in 1980.
My best memory is the 2010 trip. I sat next to my neighbor, who had convinced me to go, as well as a guy on the bus who wound up becoming a good friend. He was drinking “margaritas” but had left the lime juice at home (so he was drinking salted tequila). I brought some beers with me and a container of potato salad. This was a few weeks after Union Vice President Tom Veit had made the following comments about the Sons of Ben for using profanity in their chants:
"This is a family picnic and we have to talk to Uncle Bob about getting himself under control. It's like, 'Hey Uncle Bob, go grab the potato salad.' “ - Tom Veit
Once someone pointed Veit out to the group, my neighbor took the potato salad and handed it to Veit and told him it was from Uncle Bob. To his credit, he was a trouper and kept it the entire game.
The game was excruciatingly hot and the Union were kinda bad, but we all kept yelling and singing anyway. Just as halftime came, it started pouring rain. The rain was a welcome relief, and though the Union lost 2-0 it really helped cement my fandom for the Union.
That’s all well and good, but it pales in comparison to Kieran Todd. Todd was on that trip in 2010 and wound up meeting this girl. Two years later, he proposed to her at the tailgate at RFK, and they were married shortly after.
I know you don’t think your story can top the Todds’ story but we’d like to hear it anyway, either in the comments section below or on our Facebook page.