Thursday, December 10, 2009
On Becoming Caps Fans
As I've said before, DC is a tough town. Washingtonians are a fairly serious people, on the whole. We're constantly derided for our lack of fashion sense, choice of local politicians, atrocious traffic, (until recently) for our dining scene, our summer and winter weather (too much summer swamp, too pitiful when it snows) and on it goes.
Traditionally, being a Redskins fan was a badge of honor. True Washingtonians hailed the Redskins no matter what their record. But, the last few years a shift has been taking place, and not just in the stripe of politicians we host. The action has moved inside to the Verizon Center in DC. From Olie to Ovie, the fans like what they're seeing.
I think we were about the last ones to discover what all the fuss was about. I'd seen hockey on tv before but it seemed so chaotic I couldn't get into it. And then a little thing called HDTV came along and suddenly the ice came alive. It makes such a difference that we grouse our way through any game we're forced to watch in standard definition. SD games look like the local high school football "Clip of the Week" on the local news. There are cell phone videos with more cinematic appeal than SD hockey games.
But the team's winning ways are at least as compelling as the pixels. We started watching games sometime last year. I fully admit we hopped on the winning team bandwagon. Jac and I had dipped our non-sports-lovin' toes into the water about a year earlier when we started watching Redskins games when there was nothing else on. We didn't go out of our way to catch them, but I think we were both looking for a little bit of community.
And then along came the Caps. Games are fast and furious. Even if you don't know the rules you can generally tell when someone does something good or bad. The games are quick (compared to a lot of other televised sports) and usually they're over by 9:30. So you can actually do other things on a game night in addition to watching the game.
A funny thing happened when we started identifying ourselves as Caps fans, hordes of people we know welcomed us into their club. My Facebook stream features almost as many Caps comments as it does Skins woes. The Caps community is maybe the best kept secret in DC. Who would have thought people would be so friendly surrounding a game known for its fighting.