I try not to blog too much about sports on this blog, but it dawned on me, as I trundled through 5 miles this morning on the treadmill while it was pouring rain, who the hell cares if anyone reads it? Am I right? I mean, I have thoughts, however disjointed they sometimes may be, and today, while you might think I’d be devastated after the Wizards got bounced from the playoffs, I’m not. I’m actually excited. I mean, when was the last time we had anything to cheer about in DC, sports-wise?
The Washington Post had a great article yesterday about DC teams in elimination games at home, and in short, it wasn’t good. In my own addled mind, I can’t remember the last time a DC team got very far in the playoffs, save the Mark Rypien-led ‘skins when I was still in elementary school. I mean, wow…how old am I, but also, how bad has this city been? I don’t profess to know a lot about Fancy Stats, but you don’t need to be a mathematician to know that over 20 years and no team has broken through the semifinals in the playoffs does play credence to a curse, perhaps.
The question I keep having this morning is, is it my fault? Is it my fault the Wizards didn’t win? It might sound stupid or self-involved, but each sports fan knows that superstitions give us a belief that we can affect the outcome of a game we aren’t playing. I should have gone to yoga last night. Sure it was raining (schools are actually closed in some areas because of flooding, no joke). But seriously, I sold my tickets because my home record for this season with the Wiz was 2-3. I figured my being there wouldn’t help, but maybe it would have, maybe that one additional ill-conceived cheer might have made the difference.
One thing the Wizards don’t have to be ashamed of is how they did. Beyond all expectations and odds as the year went on, they advanced to the second round of the playoffs, beating a supposedly veteran Chicago Bulls team. The days after that win had all the fair-weather DC fans out in force. My Facebook news feed became a mockery of die-hard ‘skins fans having the audacity to pretend like they’d ever watched a Wizards game in their entire life, let alone during the John Wall era. It was disgusting. I did my best not to say anything on those posts. I may not have been a fan much longer, but sinking money into a losing team for two years for season tickets gives me a right to call out people who are just faking it. Next season, as the basketball season starts during the NFL season, I can predict those same people won’t say word one about the Wizards as they follow their destined for failure ‘skins. Of all the DC sports, I should note, the ‘skins are the only team I don’t root for. Dan Synder is not someone I can willingly give money to and I find RG3 obnoxious, much like Mr. Manziel of the Browns.
If I’m talking about sports, I have to take a sidestep to hockey. If you know me, you know I’m a bit of a hockey fan. Every year, I mentally prepare for the Capitals to break my heart, and as if on cue, not only did they break my heart, they did it earlier than expected. In a way, I was thankful. Don’t put the fans through a tortuous time of playoff failure if you know how it’s going to end as it always does. What is making this postseason bearable for me is that Gabby is leading his Ducks to a Game 7 with the perennial favourite, Kings. The LA/ANA series is just amazing to watch. The Western Conference always seems more contentious than the Eastern Conference.
What is more of note is the Bruins and Penguins getting ousted in Game 7s at home. As a fan of a team that loses on a regular basis in the playoffs, I’ve evilly enjoyed watching the Penguins get roasted in the media, as our beloved Alex Ovechkin and his pals do. Not just that, but the media has turned on the oft-favoured Sid the Kid (Crosby) and his silent partner (Malkin). The two were almost non-existent for stretches of the Columbus and New York series. And while I will never root for the Rangers, openly, I did smile as King Henrik gave Sid the Kid fits and how the D didn’t let him get into a rhythm. If only NBC sports knew how to provide fair feedback and filet him like they do Ovechkin. Since the 2009 Stanley Cup win, the Pens have been ousted by the lower seeded team every single year. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Pittsburgh!
To add to that, if you can, Milan Lucic, bully and tough guy for the Bruins did the unthinkable and made threats to Canadians players while walking through the handshake line. Yes, some say the handshake line after a game might be one tradition that the NHL should let pass, but I actually think that there is a real sense of class and decorum and it makes the sport that much better than the other major sports. Just like Crosby, Lucic must now stew for the rest of the postseason. In both cases I believe the karma train has come around. I’ve never been a fan of either team or their players, for the most part (Zdeno Chara is a rare specimen and actually seems like a nice guy, plus a guy with char in his name, come on now) and the fans have always been overly annoying, especially at games in Verizon. Nice to see the hockey Gods are evening things out for the rest of us.
I’m going to the Nats game tonight with dad, hoping to go 2-for-2 on bobble-heads and continue that as the season goes on. I’ve never met a bobble-head I didn’t like.