Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A terrible night to be a Caps fan

Nothing in my history as a huge sports fan prepared me for the feelings that went through me when I watched Alex Ovechkin writhing on the ice after his knee on knee hit against Tim Gleason of the Carolina Hurricanes last night.  The sinking feeling that the Caps season was swishing down the toilet made me sick to my stomach (that's not a knock on the rest of the Caps, I love these guys, but they need their star).  I was also pissed.  I'm a huge fan and I love the way Ovie plays, but I kept thinking his crazy exuberance was going to bite him this time and he was going to be out for months. 

Luckily, that didn't happen as it appears Ovie will only miss 2-games because he's been suspended.  Not good, for so many other reasons, but I can live with that over a long-term injury. Being a Washington sports fan has been tough for so long because our teams have sucked, but the arrival of Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the young guns brought hope back to this Washington sports fan.  It's been a fun ride so far and I'm not ready for it to end.

Before I became a hockey fan, I grew up in a Redskins football family and started watching at the age of 4.  I learned early on the fanaticism of sports fans while trying to escape physical injury if I happened to be sitting next to my mother when the Redskins played Dallas.  "Why don't they just break his little toe?,"she would say about whatever Dallas player happened to be tormenting the Redskins while she dug her fingernails into my arm.  That's where I get it from.

Luckily, Washington hasn't been entirely championship less, it's just been a long time and forever for the Caps.  I got to witness that soul stirring Redskin's first Superbowl victory against the Miami Dolphins where John Riggins became a model for an iconic sports photograph that exemplifies the courage, strength and determination of superstar athletes.  Hmmm, he's probably a pretty good comparison to Alex Ovechkin in a couple of ways.  The Redskins would win two more Superbowls, the last one 18-years ago though, before ownership transferred to Dan Snyder. I gave up my football fandom about 5-years after that because I have no hope he can become a good owner. It's probably been 6-years since I've been to a game.

The Wizards/Bullets haven't been much to talk about since 1978 and I'm not much of a baseball fan yet as the Nats have been a disaster during most of their tenure here.  You know it's pathetic being a sport fan in a town when you find pleasure in watching your baseball team fight for 4th place in their division that one year. Yes, I followed them that year and will follow them again.  It's the season opposite of hockey so I need something to keep me occupied between drops of the puck.

My sports fanaticism now starts and ends with hockey.  I went to my first game as a young girl the first year the Caps came to D.C. I loved it. From there, my fandom went up and down over the years, particularly, when I couldn't watch games while I was in college, but I always followed them.  Their Stanley Cup run on the back of Olie Kolzig's stellar play in net gave me something to live on for a while, even as I also realized the Caps were badly outclassed in talent against the Detroit Red Wings. Passing, what's that?  I learned how the elite teams did it in that series.

Then, Ted Leonsis bought the team in 1999 and brought the dreaded Jaromir Jagr (I never liked him) here and the Caps went nowhere.  After that, the agony of the Caps fire sale and the lockout made it tough to be a hockey fan in Washington. But, those actions resulted in the #1 draft pick in the lottery and the Caps picked Alex Ovechkin.    

From his opening hit that took out the glass to his two goals performance in that first game, from "the goal" to the 4 goal, 1 busted nose and 1 knocked out tooth performance against the Montreal Canadiens, from the goal he passed to himself and shot into the net while sliding on the ice on his butt to his all star performance this year, Alex Ovechkin is a joy to watch.  He loves playing hockey and I love watching him.

So, Alex do me a favor and stay around long enough to win a Stanley Cup with the Caps. Please.

Let's go Caps!

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