A Redskins player offered a college kid free tickets — in exchange for charity work

Saturday, 30 September 2017, 02:19:32 AM. A Redskins fan just wanted some tickets from Mason Foster. The linebacker required more than just a request.

a-redskins-player-offered-a-college-kid-free-tickets-—-in-exchange-for-charity-work photo 1
Ryan Springer and his father at FedEx Field. (Courtesy Ryan Springer)

Ryan Springer had seen other NFL fans ask players for tickets in exchange for that strangest of online currencies — Twitter retweets — so he figured it couldn’t hurt. The idea came to him shortly before Father’s Day, and Springer — whose father, James, grew up in Fairfax County — pitched it to Redskins linebacker Mason Foster as a gift to his dad, who works 80-hour weeks and doesn’t get to spend a lot of time with his son.

“How many RT’s for me to win Redskins tickets to surprise my dad for Father’s Day?” he asked Foster.

The answer wasn’t exactly what he expected: Foster told Springer to get 554 retweets — but also to do three hours of community service.

“I told him to pick his favorite charity and do three hours, and he went and did it,” Foster said this week. “I knew that he was doing community service [with his fraternity], so I told him pick one and I’ll give you tickets. I felt like it’d be cool. That was something that I felt like would help, to see if he would do it if he really wanted the tickets.”

Springer’s fraternity at Morehead State, Delta Tau Delta, had previously donated money to JDRF, which funds type 1 diabetes research. After Springer passed 554 retweets, he went to the local offices of JDRF to pack some of the group’s Bags of Hope, a backpack filled with educational materials, a stuffed bear, a glucose meter and other trinkets for kids who have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes

“Actually, I thought it was pretty awesome that he asked me to do it,” said Springer, 22, a senior marketing major whose goal is to work in pro sports. “It really opened my eyes to something I need to do more of.”

After he finished, Springer wrote back to Foster, attaching the photo that demonstrated his community service, and writing that he looked forward to continuing to volunteer for the group. He also got the two tickets that he asked for, to Sunday night’s prime time win over the Raiders, which he attended with his father.

As it turns out, they sat next to Troy Walter and his brother Tyler — Troy having also won two tickets from Foster on social media, although without the community service requirement. Troy was turning 17 two days after the Raiders game; all Foster required was 54 retweets to get the seats.

And all four of Foster’s guests were surprised to find themselves sitting about a dozen rows above the field, just above the home team’s tunnel, in a section with player family members. They were in front of Bashaud Breeland’s family, near Jamison Crowder’s family. They could see the team huddling in the tunnel before running out in the field.

“It was the best experience ever, the best game I’ve ever been to,” said Walter, of Leonardtown in Southern Maryland. “It made me really respect him more as a person, and really pay attention to him as a football player.”

“I’ll tell you what, I couldn’t have picked a better game, and me and my dad had a great time,” Springer said. “Definitely a moment we’ll cherish for the rest of our lives.”

And Springer has also followed up on his pledge to remain involved with JDRF. While he was volunteering, Springer met Allison Perkins, the development coordinator at JDRF Kentucky. She later asked Springer about contributing to the group’s annual charity walk, which is this coming weekend. His fraternity got involved, and Springer said they had raised about $1,200 for the group.

Volunteering “actually opened up doors for me to be able to do that,” Springer said. “I wouldn’t have done the event this weekend if it wasn’t for Mason Foster. I think it’s pretty awesome how this worked out.”

Now, the only reason I knew about any of this is because Walter’s brother mentioned it in a thread about the two Redskins running backs who bought a kid an Xbox this week, with Walter pointing out that the team has “a lot of great guys.” Looking at that conversation eventually led me to Foster, and then to Springer, and then to this online interaction that wound up working out pretty nicely for everyone, during a week when a lot of people have said a lot of nasty things about a lot of pro athletes.

“Really I just want to thank Mason Foster for this; I think that’s what this should be all about,” Springer said. “I definitely want to make sure that Mason Foster gets his recognition for doing this. I couldn’t thank him enough.”

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