“Sport is friendship, sport is health, sport is education, sport is life, sport brings the world together” – Juan Antonio Samaranch.
I recently stumbled upon this quote shortly after watching the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup, and I will never get tired of saying that. (insert crying, laughing, dancing emojis).
It made me realize that through all the ups and downs of watching a sports team, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
What is it about watching sports, especially hockey, that makes it feel good for the soul? Maybe it’s the adrenaline of watching and not knowing what will happen next. We witness the fights, the penalties, the ultra-competitiveness, and compassion between the players on the ice while we sit back with friends and family and offer our own “coaching” opinions and strategies.
There is something special about being part of a sport fans community. Wearing a Rock the Red shirt, Great 8 jersey or driving passing someone with Caps stickers (honk..honk..honk) is like having a secret handshake. Conversations are easier when you have that team bond. It gets us away from the isolation of staring at a computer or phone screen and lets us interact with other’s in the real world.
Washington Capital’s fans bond over not just the game but what the players are going through off the ice. You can meet people as you raise money for a player’s charity, reminisce about previous seasons and talk trash about other teams.
A few years ago, I attended a charity event with a good friend that Gina Carlson sponsored to raise money for St Jude. We donated money and got to meet a few of the players, who were so down to earth and approachable.
We were both star struck when Nicky was standing behind us that the only photo I have of him is my friend loving looking at her favorite player and staring at the back of his black sweater. But we love that photo because we know how awesome it is to be a fan and appreciate being near a player. Every time we reminisce about that night, we smile. Good for the soul.
Washington Capitals fans name our pets and even our children after our players. We get tattoos to show our never-ending love for the team and when a player or coach is traded, it’s like it is one of our childhood friends moving away.
When the Caps schedule is released we have something to look forward to. The dates go into our phone and on our calendar and we start saving for tickets for games that we hope to see. (minus STH of course)
Washington Caps fans start looking for new attire even though deep down we know we are going to wear that one Caps jersey or shirt that helped the team win games last season. We start checking out the IG posts and FB posts of the players to be sure they are all feeling good, enjoying their vacations and ready to Rock the Red when they return to DC. We start posting countdowns and reaching out to new friends we met on social media.
And when we win it all, we celebrate without any protests or looting. People of all backgrounds came together to celebrate and bond, and we left the city intact. That makes me proud to be a Washington Capitals fan.
Hockey is good for the soul and good for the community. It’s good to Rock the Red in this amazing area that is home to the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions!!!! ( I will never get tired of saying that…..)
By Anna Knox