When we moved up to DC from Louisiana, I had allegiance to the Dallas Cowboys, and Cal Ripken, and Michael Jordan. As I grew older, that allegiance spread to DC United. I’ve never cheered for the Washington football club, nor have I ever cared for the Bullets/Wizards. When Cal retired, I gave up baseball. When Jordan retired, I gave up basketball. When the NFL stopped playing the game and started being ridiculous, I gave up football. When the Nats came to DC, i picked them s my team. One sport I didn’t get into until ’95 was hockey, and those were the heady days of Scott Stevens, Marty Brodeur, and the Devils. (I lived in NJ at the time). When I came back to DC in 99, I went back to all the other teams but forgot about hockey.
Luckily for me, I had missed the Capitals finals run and sweep.
I didn’t start paying attention to hockey again until 2000, the fall, when Elliot in the Morning on DC101 talked about it all the time, went to games, and made the Caps loveable. Brooks Laich, i wish you were still on this team!
Why am I bringing this up? Tonight is Game five of the Stanley Cup finals. Te most difficult trophy to win, year to year. The Caps are up 3 games to 1, and can win for the first time this very night. It is a big deal, and my 18 years of fandom is about to peak.
There is something special about this year. For 18 years the Caps have had great teams, but hadn’t had what it takes in the playoffs. The Rangers, Lightning, and the hated Penguins eliminated us every year. Some, belly flops. Some, heartbreak. Enough so that the 43 or so years of the Caps makes us long suffering.
But all that long suffering, that makes you. Stronger. If they made it every year, it would be under-appreciated. To be honest, a tradition like the Yankees have of winning the World Series makes that team unapproachable, where a team that’s got ups and downs like life becomes the working man’s team. And that’s the Caps.
I’m going to throw this out there too – their opponent is from Sin City, so… I’m just saying, do we want sin to win?
The fond memories the Caps bring is also one of Community. The Carolinas and Pennsylvania are the closest other teams, so DC, MD, and VA tend to bond over the Caps. When we were in Lourdes, the great cheering that went on after the Caps beat the Pens was another moving experience too (love those Maltese!!)
Game 5, tonight on NBC channels at 8pm Eastern. First chance at history. Watch and cheer with me, and honk your horn three times… LET’S GO CAPS!!!!!