Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images
I wanted to wait a couple of days to write this because I didn’t want to write it in haste. To be honest I wrote that line a week after the playoffs and its sat there since then. Who knows what I would’ve spewed on this screen from my keyboard if I had.
I needed time to think about everything that has happened last season not only to the team, but to me. As many have noticed, I write from a personal point of view and not one full of stats and cluttered hockey speak. I relate to this team in many ways and I think I relate to many of you in similar ways. We are all different types of fans. Hockey fans, die-hards, fair-weathers, occasional’s, followers, socials, there are so many types to name.
The Washington Capitals team and organization will always have a special place in my heart for many reasons. This is why I cheer for them through the ups and the downs the good and the bad.
Here’s the thing about sports, and really, here is the thing about life—shit happens. Everyone has something that they are going through or battling in their lives that outsiders really don’t know about. Some people like to keep it that way and others will spill their life story at the first greeting of “Hello”. This game, this team, has been an escape for me during some of the toughest times in my life and they have provided me with some of the highest of highs and harshest of heartbreaks—on and off the ice.
For example: my dad passed away in March 2013 which was the first year of Adam Oates and a team that just didn’t play all that well albeit winning the Southeast. The same week my dad died there was a game against the Bruins, we were down early and the Boston fans were having a great time. Already being down from because of my dad, I was pretty upset about the game as well. But here is the thing about the Caps, we can never count them out. They came back and won the game late, I was ecstatic, as I’m sure most of you were too. This simple game, a simple win took me from a terrible time in my life and made it that much better just because they won.
Yes, sports in the long run don’t mean much but for those three hours it can take you somewhere else, somewhere that you’d rather be than in reality. Escaping the world, even if just for that short time can be a huge difference in someone’s life.
We all want to win—no one more than me would love to see this team succeed. And believe it or not, the guys on the ice want to win too. As an athlete you want to win, that’s what first draws you in about playing a sport competitively. You want to be the best and most of these guys have won at every level they played so they want to win too. They aren’t trying to lose, so to think that they do this to us on purpose is flat-out ridiculous. Yes, it is truly heartbreaking to invest time, money, emotion, watching your team for months only to see them lose, again. Well ya know what? That’s what being a fan is. All but one fan base at the end of every season is disappointed by the result.
I was wrong about my gut feeling and I apologize for leading you all astray. I really thought last year was the year; the year that we were going to get over this theoretical hump, but, I was wrong.
The Capitals organization has given me some of the best times of my life, which I know seems crazy to say but it’s true.
My mom and I have season tickets together, one seat next to the other and it is our mom/son time. Our chance to bond over a team that we have been following for as long as I can remember.
If you look up optimistic in the dictionary you will find my face smiling back at you because with this team anything can truly happen. Tonight we drop the puck for a new season of ups and downs, wins and losses, losses and triumphs. And maybe, just maybe—this is our year.
By Chris McIntosh