Tuesday, March 9, 2010

On The Red Bandwagon

Yes, I admit it, I've caught the scarlet fever of local sports fandom. I've become a Capitals fan. Am I a fairweather-latecomer-carpetbagger? Yes. Did I know next to nothing about hockey a few years ago? Yup. But screw it, I'm with the Great 8 now.

My sports progression up until now was pretty straight forward. I started watching baseball and basketball as a kid. Then DC United entered my life and pretty soon soccer was my sport of choice. Then in college I came around to football properly, both college and pro, and my passion for basketball and baseball began to wither. Up until this year, 80 or 90% of the sports I watched were football/futbol.

And that's why for me it's a bit more than simply watching a very good team. Hockey is uncharted territory for me. I've probably asked my friend Ryan (a season ticket holder) at least two stupidly obvious questions about hockey rules/positions/etc during every game I've watched with him, but it's been wonderful to see the Caps play. This is a properly new sport to me. Sure I knew the basics, but I honestly couldn't have told you how many men are on the ice or even how many lines of forwards play each game playing before last season. And there's joy in the discovery.

Now there's also the fact that the Capital organization has in a short time become absolutely world class. Leonsis has gone from an owner who fought with his fans to an avid blogger who also knows well that the owner is not the star. And George McPhee, aka GMGM, has made numerous shrewed draft choices and trades to create team that is best in the league and scoring at will. But it goes even deeper, with the likes of the best minor league organization with the Hershey Bears (a very useful thing to have in a violent and unpredictable sport), and an atmosphere at home games as intense as a college basketball game (which really remain the gold standard for intense American crowds).

I may have been late to the party, but I couldn't be any happier to be here.


Dennis said...

I'm in the same boat. I still don't know jack about hockey, but catch the games on TV when I can and have been to a few this season. Having Ryan helps as well. Guy knows everything about everything sports related. It's eerie.

A Skins fan can only hope that Dan Snyder has been taking notes on the Capitals meteoric rise.

B.Graham said...

This makes me want to learn about hockey. But I was going to learn about soccer this year! Decisions.