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That win over the Cardinals sent the Redskins into the bye week one game closer to the playoffs than most gridiron authorities had predicted. Who picked ’em to beat Carolina in Carolina, anyway? Well, Lee Therese did. But Therese also says Raljon residents shouldn’t worry about postseason traffic jams in their ‘hood. The Skins, she says, aren’t going to the show.

Therese never watches football and wouldn’t know Terry Allen from George Allen. If she’s got a sports page in her hands, she’s only looking for the horoscope column. She’s got no need for box scores or injury reports. But when she talks ball, fans should still listen.

Therese, you see, is a professional clairvoyant. She first grasped her gift for divining the future during her adolescence in Elyria, Ohio. But an internal struggle over the morality of using such special intelligence about the future led her to give up avocational speculating.

Into her roaring 20s, Therese’s pursuit of a career in interior decorating took up the time she had formerly spent divining. But a failed marriage and a waning interest in curtains and couches brought her back to forecasting after a 20-year hiatus. She currently owns and operates a predicting practice in Silver Spring.

Her client base contains a whole lot of single females ISO romantic advice and business contractors wondering which vendor to favor and dogs that don’t heel quite as quickly as their well-heeled owners would like. But Therese also comes to the table with burgundy-and-gold credibility, thanks to an off-the-cuff utterance she made about the squad last year.

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At last season’s halfway point, remember, the Skins stood at a retrospectively remarkable 7-1, and Jack Kent Cooke was all but ready to commission a Canton-friendly Norv Turner sculpture. But Therese pooh-poohed the pundits by calling for a different kind of bust. She declared that the team would fall on its face in plenty of time to miss the playoffs. Her bold forecast came during a broadcast on local radio station WBIG-FM, which had brought her into the studio hoping she’d divine upcoming events for its morning drive-time audience.

“I really don’t know anything about the Redskins, so I certainly didn’t expect to be asked questions about them,” says Therese. “I just tried to look at how they would feel at the end of the season, how their ’emotional bodies’ were, and those emotional bodies didn’t look happy. So I just said what I saw.”

Because Turner’s charges had charged out of the gate so impressively, and in so doing stirred up a football fervor among locals for the first time since Joe Gibbs split town, WBIG’s off-air staff accused her of foretelling tales out of school.

Fearing that fans who were feasting on the Skins’ winning ways were turning their dials as a result of the guest’s “emotional bodies” mumbo jumbo, the show’s hosts killed Therese’s microphone long enough to tell her she was a heretic and stupid, and to stay away from any more talk of postseason blues.

“They basically hustled me off the air and told me I was way off base,” Therese recalls.

The Redskins, of course, followed her prediction to the letter and came apart like a cheap suit over the second half of the season. That collapse made Therese the most celebrated and accurate spiritualist to work the gridiron beat since Glenn Brenner trotted out Sister Marie Louise, the cloistered nun from Georgetown Visitation who predicted NFL outcomes a lot more accurately than Mel Kiper ever could.

Though the current season is still quite young, Therese has already shown hints that she hasn’t lost the magic. She correctly called the Skins’ win over the Panthers and the loss in Pittsburgh on the air.

“The Redskins will win today,” she told me an hour before kickoff of the Arizona game. “I see that they truly feel sky-high, that they can’t be beat, and that will carry them through this game.”

And that’s what happened. So, at three for three, what Therese says about the rest of the year surely won’t please the Redskins’ faithful.

“The team feels great right now, but this won’t last long. My advice to fans is: Don’t get used to this,” she says.

But why, pray tell?

“I’ve looked at the team leaders, into their subconscious, and I’ve sensed their deepest ‘feels,’” she said. “I see a lack of guidance, a lack of any real leadership. I see that there are way too many bad boys on the Redskins now, and these bad boys are going to be involved in scandals that will take away from the team until it can no longer function properly.”

Scandals? It doesn’t take a Jeanne Dixon to conjure up the drunken-driving running back and the battery-charged flanker and the domestic-abusing defensive tackle. We’ve all got SportsCenter! Tell us something new! You know, something from the other side! From the future!

“I am talking about the future,” Therese retorts. “Not the scandals we all already have seen. More scandals are coming to this team in the near future, from the bad boys we all know about. And those new scandals are going to demoralize everybody. Things appear to be great on the surface now, but I see everybody being unhappy by the end of the season.”

More scandals? That’s a buzz killer. The Redskins are already having enough trouble selling those club seats at JKC with playoff possibilities so tangible. Who’s going to want to deal with all the hassle it takes to get to Raljon with the team fated to be an also-ran, and a shameful one at that?

Then it hit me. OK, she called last year right on the money. And she nailed the Arizona game, too. But if Therese is really so darn gifted, then how come she didn’t divine that her own marriage would end unfavorably before agreeing to walk down the aisle with hubby No. 1?

“If I knew then what I know now, of course, I never would have even gone out on a second date with that guy, let alone married him,” she laughs. “But like anybody else, I make mistakes.”

If you don’t mind, Lee, we’ll pin our hopes on those words. For now. —Dave McKenna