ROCKINGHAM — It’s every little kid’s fantasy to meet his or her favorite professional athlete.
Seven-year-old K’Mauri Morgan got his chance Saturday, when he got Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III’s autograph at the Redskins’ Bon Secours Training Center in Richmond, Virginia.
K’Mauri and his brother, A.J. McDonald, and their grandparents, Pam and Grover McDonald, traveled to Richmond for Fan Appreciation Day.
Asked why he’s a Redskins fan, K’Mauri said simply, “My grandpa had picked that team.”
Griffin is far and away K’Mauri’s favorite player and the reason why he said he wants to be a running back and a quarterback in the NFL someday. But his chance meeting with RGIII and his family’s trip to Virginia almost didn’t happen.
Pam said the Redskins were holding an online lottery for Fan Appreciation Day tickets, and due to the overwhelming amount of people with a desire to go, the McDonalds knew there was a chance, just like with any lottery, that they wouldn’t win.
“My husband wanted to go last year,” said McDonald. “We were able to go to FedEx Field (the Redskins’ home stadium) and take a tour of the field, but it’s not the same.”
After entering both her and her husband’s email addresses in the lottery and checking every day to find they hadn’t won tickets, their demeanor began to change.
One day when McDonald was checking her email, though, she received one from the Redskins saying they had 2,000 extra tickets left over for those who didn’t win the lottery. The catch? Admission was first-come, first-served.
At 2:30 a.m. Saturday, K’Mauri, his brother and his grandparents made the trip north without even knowing whether they’d be able to get in.
Luckily, once they reached the gate, a Washington personnel member was waiting with four extra tickets.
Just being in the facility and seeing your favorite team practice can be enough of a thrill, but McDonald happened to notice a section of seats roped off and reserved for Griffin’s family. She decided to set up shop directly behind that section.
“RGIII’s parents were right in front of us,” said McDonald. “We saw Robert walking toward us, so K’Mauri ran over and asked if he would sign his ball. RGIII said, ‘Lemme give my parents some love first.’”
After that, Griffin was nice enough to sign Morgan’s football, hat and T-shirt.
“I was just like wow,” said McDonald.
McDonald added that the RGIII ball Morgan had Griffin sign was something her husband had bought two months ago in hopes that they could eventually have it autographed.
“The whole thing was a gamble,” she said, “but everything just worked out perfect.”
Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-817-2674.