Danny Cole is an English teacher at Montgomery Blair High School and one of the Rockville school’s football coaches. Until his daughter, Jacqueline, was born this year, Cole, 36, was an ardent tailgater at Redskins games. But fatherhood has changed his Sunday priorities and now he watches from home. Still, he hopes Jacqueline will continue the family tradition of being a football fan — as well as a lifelong member of Washington Hebrew Congregation.
What made you decide to become a teacher?
It’s something I thought about in high school. In sophomore year, I had a great teacher [Gary Kiang]. He taught me to really appreciate Shakespeare and he taught us our beginning cub journalism class at Walt Whitman High School.
I thought about this, [how] he’s so great at teaching. He really liked to be good at what he did. I thought I could be like that. I remember him leaving at the end of the year, and I asked him why. He said he was going to law school [because] he couldn’t support [his family] on a teacher’s salary. So, the teacher’s salary always struck me as a negative.
I [ended up as] a journalism major at the University of Maryland and worked for a few years after college at some radio stations around town. It came to the point when I was 25, 26 and I was, like, do I want to commit to moving from town to town?
I didn’t want to be a part of that and I kind of came back to teaching.
How long have you been in the DMV area?
I’m originally from Bethesda. My mom still lives at [my] childhood home. I think I’m a seventh-generation Washingtonian. I’m a local person, homebody, and unapologetic mama’s boy. I feel fortunate to be part of D.C. my whole life.
Do you want your baby to be eighth generation?
Yeah. Rabbi Aaron Miller [of Washington Hebrew Congregation] came to her naming ceremony and she’ll be a bat mitzvah there some day. My wife is not Jewish but we’re
raising [Jacqueline] Jewish. I’d love to do a Shabbat at some point. That’s very important to me.
Has your family all gone to the same synagogue?
My family has always been members of Washington Hebrew Congregation and that remains. My father’s family is the Hechingers [the former area hardware chain].
At Washington Hebrew, there’s a picture from a board meeting in the early 1900s, and the only woman in it is my great-grandmother, a Hechinger.
I never met her, [but] she helped establish the temple and family roots and connections to the temple.
How did you become interested in sports? I heard you’re a big football fan.
My sister and I played every sport imaginable. My dad was a diehard Redskins fan.
[My parents] would take us out of Hebrew school at 10:30 and I would go change out of my little sweater into my Redskins uniform for that. So that was always a fun little treat.
And I heard you tailgate every Sunday?
I gave it up last year. It was just such a big commitment, timewise on Sundays, not to mention the fact that it’s expensive and [the Redskins] don’t tend to win a lot.
[But] I liked the camaraderie. I’ve had a bunch of friends who had tickets over the years, [but] some have dropped out. So, we watched the game last week at one of our houses. It was great and there was no commitment of eight hours or money or time.
Are you going to have your baby be a Redskins fan?
Her mom is from New York, so she is a Jets fan. Jacqueline has both a Redskins and a Jets bib. And both teams are kind of sad this year, so she’s in trouble
either way. WJW
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