Growing up in the Northern Virginia and being a member of the greatest Redskins/Capitals supporting family that the almighty ever put together, my blood boils with the enthusiasm that it takes to be the most committed of fans. Although my blood bleeds burgundy for the Skins, my eyes and ears turn red when I hear ‘Capitals’. While most parents were teaching their children to read and write, mine were teaching me how to read a power play and what it means when an icing call is washed out (thank god for hooked on phonics….just kidding dad.)
But I sometimes wonder to myself why I’m a Capitals fan. After all I’ve seen them break the hearts of my loved ones at least 18 times (probably more for many of you.) But then I remind myself that the Caps are the main event for 90% of our family get-togethers. For at least 30 of the 82 games every season (and almost every playoff game), my family will fill the eight person sectional couch and my mom’s two accent chairs with beers, wine and my sister’s gross summer shandy in hands so we can scream our emotions at the television for a few hours. Although we are older now and have kids who like to start playing the toy harmonica or wreck the remote control car into your feet at the most pivotal point of the game, we all leave fulfilled win or lose. From my family, I thank the Caps.
You may say “well that could be for any team”. Well actually it couldn’t. If it were another hockey team, my dad and I couldn’t talk about how Dale Hunter once swung his stick like an axe or how the Caps made history in 2007-08 winning 11 of their final 12 games of the season to capture an Eastern Conference title after being in 14th place at the mid-point of the season (a feat that had never been accomplished.) Or my absolute favorite thing to talk about, Joe Juneau’s goal that clinched the series win over the Sabres in 98’ that sent the Capitals to their one and only Cup Finals appearance. Olie the Goalie was the man.
How about Nicklas Backstrom? A fan favorite (and my favorite) who has never made an All star game but averages a point per game over 578 games played. What about Jay Beagle (welcome back by the way)? What other team can you howl at the television because a player hops on the ice?
No way am I leaving Alex Ovechkin out of this article. The Russian Machine who’s ‘alternating current’ style of play lit the league on fire. The guy who purchases eight season tickets (Ovi’s Crazy 8’s) to give underserved children, recuperating injured soldiers and active military and their families the chance to attend a Capitals home game free of charge. The “Destroyer” (his newest nickname) who single handedly expanded the fan base of the Capitals (no such thing as bandwagon Capitals fans, we welcome you all!)
I could go on and on with reasons I am absolutely in love with this team, their history and their coaches and players (past and present.) Have they let us down at times? Yes. Have they entertained us thousands of times? Absolutely they have. If they finished last in the league, I’d still be at Kettler in the off-season and I’d still be sitting in front of the TV or screaming my head off at Verizon Center for every possible game that I could the next season.
So next season, let’s show this team the support they’ve never seen. Let’s treat every visit to the Verizon Center as if it’s a game 7.
Here’s to the Caps!!
By: Zach Hart