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‘Like Christmas’

Dozens of local youth football players get chance to see the Redskins.

It was a preseason game, but 10-year-old R.J. Lee didn’t care.

Lee, a running back for a Reston Youth Association 75-pound squad, had never been to a Washington Redskins game and he wanted to see his favorite player, Clinton Portis, the starting running back for the Redskins.

“Because he’s fast and makes a lot of touchdowns,” said Lee, who lined up around 6 p.m. last Thursday to catch a chartered bus that would take him to his first game.

While standing in line, one of Lee’s teammates, Andre Davis, 11, busted out with a little pre-game dance he was so excited.

MORE THAN 70 Reston Youth football players made the trek to FedEx Field to watch the Redskins take on the Baltimore Ravens in their last preseason game.

“A lot of these kids have never been to a Redskins game,” said Mike Holmes, assistant commissioner of the RYA.

It’s one of the reasons that Brian Monticue tried to get the tickets in the first place.

Monticue, coach of a 125-pound team, said the experience could help the children do better in life. “It’s all about teaching for me,” said Monticue. “I don’t care about winning or losing.”

USING THE INTERNET, Monticue tracked down the email of the Redskins’ community relations person. A few weeks later, he received a call back. “I asked for as many as they could give,” said Monticue.

Then, the league paid for the bus, said Holmes.

Reston resident Katrina Parker said her two sons, Derek and Zak, have talked non-stop about going to the game. “I couldn’t hear enough about it,” said Parker. “It was like Christmas.”

As the bus began to fill up, someone asked the youth players if they were excited to go. “Yeah,” they yelled in unison.

“We’re going to be working closely with the Redskins from here on out,” said Holmes, surrounded by smiling children.

Despite a losing effort by the Redskins, the local youth players had a lot of fun at the game, said Monticue.