I woke up this morning still feeling the effects of last night’s loss and hearing game commentary from both analysts and fans like myself. The word “fan” kept popping up in both my Twitter and Facebook notifications so I decided to look up the definition of it, plus two others words, “entitled” and “family”.
The definition of “fan”: an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator.
This could easily describe me when it comes to hockey. I have always felt that a particular sport is what makes you want to watch, BUT the players on the team are what bring you back over time.
The definition of “entitled”: a feeling that you deserve something just because of who you are.
I will admit I have not followed this team as long as other Caps fans have or endured the losses this team has had. What I do know, is I became a season ticket holder because I enjoy the sport for what it’s meant to be, entertainment. Does that make me a bad fan?
The definition of “family”: the dictionary defines this in several ways, but the common theme is that you don’t always have to be related by blood, you just have to care about the people you are referring to in order to be considered family.
Why do I care so much about the Caps? Because I feel as though they are part of my family.
To me everyone on the team is a person first, more so than being a professional athlete. Yes, they are paid well to play hockey, but they are also human. Would we prefer they be a bunch of emotionless robots out there on the ice? What made me go from using the term fan to family is watching them at games, watching their quirky warm up rituals, celebrating their successes with them, and being affected by their disappointment in their losses.
The biggest piece for me, however, is the fact they open up their personal lives to us and treat us like an extension of their family, something they don’t have to do. They inspire us through their charitable work, they share their beautiful children with us (I love the Winnik bulldogs), they encourage and invite us to watch them practice, and they take the time to sign our jerseys or take pictures with us. They actually care about and engage us on social media platforms.
This is why I no longer consider myself a fan, but a part of the Caps family. Although I can get frustrated at decisions they make or games that they lose, I will be there to support them no matter what. I will be back at Verizon Center this fall yelling at the top of my lungs and annoying my husband with my constant chatter.
No one really knows at this point how the season will end. Some members of the team will most certainly move on. I will continue to follow them on whatever path they take. My hope is that whoever doesn’t come back next year will continue to allow us to be a part of their family because I will be right there rooting for them even IF they end up on one of THOSE teams from Pennsylvania.
By: Lisa Desabrais