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This Has to Stop–A Call to Love October 19, 2008

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
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What I am about to write, I write with extreme reluctance. I know it’s going to be taken out of context, twisted beyond its intent, and played all over the blogosphere as something I didn’t say. I’m not going to win any new friends saying this, and may lose a few in the process. And nobody’s going to take it seriously. But this needs to be said. This has to stop.

What “this”, you ask? Several.

For some time now, Ted Leonsis has made public, on-his-blog pleas for fans to quit with the constant negativity and re-fighting of yesterday’s battles. Writing nasty emails to the owner accomplishes absolutely nothing. Yesterday is gone, and the players we have are the players we have. Too many fans are hounding team leadership about an unrepeatable past. This has to stop. Item: We must love team management, and release all attachments to past decisions.

Certain players have become whipping boys among the fan base. Jose Theodore comes to mind, as do Jeff Schultz and John Erskine. There are other players who come up for bashing by the fans for this reason or that, and it almost gives me the impression that there are some fans who genuinely hate certain players. This has to stop. Item: We must love the players we have, and accept that they are doing the best jobs they know how to do.

I have seen the flamewars that have broken out on the message boards on various topics, both Caps-related and “off-topic.” We’re all supposed to be fans of the Capitals; we should at least be able to embrace that common ground. And yet, it seems that basic step has eluded us. I don’t see a lot of “personal” posts on the boards, and it’s not surprising to me. We Caps fans are so divided and set against ourselves that the “community” of Caps fans is not where most of us would think to go for support with life’s challenges. Furthermore, I was tipped off a few hours ago that I myself was personally indicted on a “bad fan” thread. We don’t seem to respect each other as Caps fans, and in some cases, we don’t even seem to respect each other as human beings. This has to stop. Item: As Capitals fans, we must lovingly accept that every Caps fan is trying to be the best fan they know how to be. Item: As human beings, we must see each other as made in God’s image, and love our neighbors as ourselves. Even if–especially if–we have differences with them, as persons or fans.

I still saw too many people heading for the exits last night at the end of overtime. I’ve written about this in the past, but I need to reiterate that point here. Leaving before the decision is an act of disrespect, to your fellow fans, to the team you claim to support, and to the very game of hockey itself. It is certainly true that games were not settled this way in the days of Labre, Hunter, and Langway. Yet, it is the way games are settled now. We don’t have to like it; but we do need to respect that it is part of the game. A mass exodus before a shootout is an act of disrespect to the game itself. This has to stop. Item: We must love the game of hockey as it is played, not as we wish it were played.

It seems to me that there are some fans who are being entirely too serious about the Caps, and who are too attached to whatever results they have in mind. Now, as a Caps fan, certainly, I’d love to see the Caps win a Stanley Cup; I’d love to see us whoop the Penguins 10-0 every time the two teams play; I’d love to see this team succeed beyond my wildest dreams. Yet, if they don’t, it’s not the end of the world. Hockey games are where I go to play. And being playful means that you allow for possibility, whatever the cost to yourself (Carse). We need to remember that at the end of the night, hockey really is just a game. We mustn’t get angry/snippy/depressed/down/whatever if the Capitals lose a game, a playoff series, or even a Cup Final. We have to be able to accept victory with grace, and defeat with even more grace. Yet, there are some right now who have succumbed to the tyranny of unbridled seriousness. This has to stop. Put simply, we have to allow ourselves, as fans, the freedom to play. Item: We must lovingly accept the outcomes of all games, whether the outcome is victory or defeat. (A thought: if one of our players were named one of the Three Stars in a loss, would it really be that difficult to give them their proper adulation, even in defeat?)

So, to recap:
We must love team management, and release all attachments to past decisions.
We must love the players we have, and accept that they are doing the best jobs they know how to do.
As Capitals fans, we must lovingly accept that every Caps fan is trying to be the best fan they know how to be.
As human beings, we must see each other as made in God’s image, and love our neighbors as ourselves.
We must love the game of hockey as it is played, not as we wish it were played.
We must lovingly accept the outcomes of all games, whether the outcome is victory or defeat.

I’ve written elsewhere that the impact of the fans on a game cannot be understated. I believe that the emotional and spiritual energy of the fans does affect the game on more subtle levels. It’s not just 18,277 people in an arena. It’s the energy, positive and negative, of the entire fan base, which affects the destiny of the entire team. In a spiritual sense, we, the fans, really do influence the game on the ice by our thoughts, words, and actions. And it’s not just our conduct at the games which matters. Every time we talk about the team with friends, family, or coworkers; every time we wear Capitals gear; every time we write a blog entry; every time we comment on the message boards; every time we send an email to Ted Leonsis; every time we watch a game on television; every time we “touch” the team, however slightly, we influence it on some level, for better or worse. And right now, a lot of what I see in the Capitals fan base is negative, negative, negative.

So, here’s the part where I get in trouble. Read this very carefully, folks, because I’m only going to type it once.

Until we, the fans of the Capitals, become a consistent source of Love for our team, the Capitals will not win the Stanley Cup. Indeed, they cannot. In fact, they shall not.

Now, before anyone accuses me of cursing the Capitals, don’t even start. This is not a curse. It is simply a prediction based on spiritual principles. I would never–could not, CAN not–ever curse the Washington Capitals. This team has given me more than I can ever repay; far be it from me to ever give anything back but the best that I have.

That said, I wrote what I just wrote as a clarion call to all Caps fans. Love the game! Love the team! Love the players! Love each other!

“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”–1 Cor 13:4-8a, NRSV

Without Love, we cannot be the emotional, mental, and spiritual support our team needs us to be. Without Love, we will remain divided against ourselves, unable to unite for our team’s common good. Without Love, we have nothing to contribute. Without Love, we are “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” Without Love, we are nothing.

Without Love, we shall fail.

CAPITAL SPIRIT
AMOR VINCIT OMNIA

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Comments»

1. pepper - October 30, 2008

CS, very interesting and thoughtful post. I posted something on my site today on which I’d welcome your comments.

http://theredskate.com/2008/10/30/is-hockey-your-religion/


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