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Beneath the Cloak: I’m Always Falling Over Me February 2, 2009

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

This past weekend, at another sold-out game that was ridiculously exciting, there was a guy in the crowd trying to get another chant going. His horn wasn’t that loud, and it wasn’t getting much of a response. There were a couple of groans about it on the Caps message boards, some of which referenced an earlier post by “the real horn guy”, who goes by “Smileypen” on the boards. On the following, he and I can both wholeheartedly agree:

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with someone making noise. Maybe one’s attitude needs to change from a “I wish that annoying donkey would stop” to “at least that donkey is being annoying in support of the Caps.” It’s harder than I make it sound.

Fair enough. I’m all for Caps fans showing their own Capital Spirit–if you want to toot your own (literal) horn, go for it. Just be aware that if this were the piano, your rendition of “Chopsticks” would be going going up against Smiley’s rendition of “Carmen Variations.” He’s unquestionably one of the best fans in the barn, and when he’s not there, the game isn’t the same. I know that’s true in the stands, but I suspect it’s also true down on the bench. Smiley is a Verizon Center fixture, and a Caps win without him honking away feels like a one-point night sometimes.

But what puzzles me is the following unfortunate swipe:

I know that the caped wonder will tell you he “suffers for the love” but he is a wuss compared to me.

I beg your pardon?

Look, I don’t want to turn this into a feud. Not even Jay Leno could convince me that Rosie versus Donald was in any way amusing. And I have no intention of participating in anything similar myself. The Caps are having a season for the ages, there really is no animosity on my end, and hey, aren’t we supposed to be fans of, you know, the same team?

And if you think I’m not suffering for this team, that’s because I don’t typically talk about it. I don’t need to be constantly playing for sympathy: I’ve been through enough that I can handle most of this quite well, the same way you handle the physical demands of the horn. But I think I need to put this out there now, in February, so it can be long since forgotten by April.

You want suffering, Smiley? I’ll see your headaches, and I’ll raise you strangers on the Internet publicly questioning my sexuality and my mental health. I’ll see your sore diaphragm, Smiley, and I’ll raise you strangers on the street yelling stuff at me that I cannot reprint. Heck, I’ll see your chapped lips, and I’ll raise you a cyberstalker.

Have you ever been publicly named as another fan’s “#1 most hated fan” (to general piling-on, I might add)? Have you ever had a fellow Caps fan post an abusive comment on your website, then brag about it on the Capitals message boards? Have you ever gone on a road trip, in all your gear, and come back from that trip feeling, on balance, that you got more individual respect in an enemy arena than you get some nights at Verizon Center?

I’m not done.

Have you ever doubted what you bring to Caps games? Have you ever felt like your presence was causing too much disharmony among the fans, and that the Caps might be better off without the distraction you’ve become? Have you ever stared, insomnolently, at your ceiling after a Caps game, feeling like everything you did at the game that night was all for nothing? Have you ever felt so rejected by the fans of the team you have in common, that you’ve cried yourself to sleep?

Chapped lips heal; headaches and soreness recede. Self-doubt isn’t so easy to get rid of. And no matter how many people I’m around, my loneliness never goes away.

I try so, so hard to prove to the world that I’m not the loser I think the world thinks I am. The problem in doing that is that it’s contradictory. I can’t try to prove the world wrong unless, deep down, I think there might be some truth to what I think the world thinks. And the more of a loser I think I am, the more I try to prove to the world that it’s wrong, that I’m NOT the loser I think it thinks I am. But in the end, I end up proving a contradiction: I may prove to the world that it’s wrong, but only by proving to myself the world was right all along.

If I prove to the world that I’m worth something, I only prove to myself that I’m worthless. If I prove to the world that I’m lovable, I only prove to myself that I can’t be loved. If I prove to the world that I’m on the side of the Light, I only prove to myself that I wouldn’t know Light if it blinded me.

And if I prove to the world that I’m a good Caps fan, I only prove to myself that I’m just a badly-dressed fan in the nosebleeds who’s got nothing to contribute to this team.

VNV Nation did a beautiful ballad on their album Futureperfect. It’s called “Holding On,” and it pretty much sums it all up.

I thought the future held a perfect place for us;
That together we would learn to be the best that we could be.
In my naivete I ran; I fell and lost my way.
Somehow I always end up falling over me.

Then one day, I woke to find the future had no place for me.
I was unwanted in a world that with my hands I’d helped to build.
Where once was honesty and pride, I now stand broken and alone,
Just a shadow of what I was meant to be.

Does anybody feel the way I do? Is there anybody out there? Are you hearing me?
If I believe in you, will you believe in me? Or am I alone in this hall of dreams?
I believe in you, if you believe in me; but I have no trust in anything.
Somehow I’m always, always falling over me.

They say that time will heal, the truth shall set us free.
Well, that depends on what it is that you choose to believe.
In this prison made of lies, we see what it is we want to see,
And find comfort in this broken hall of dreams.

Does anybody feel the way I do? Is there anybody out there? Are you hearing me?
If I believe in you, will you believe in me? Or am I alone in this hall of dreams?
I believe in you, if you believe in me; but I have no trust in anything.
Somehow I’m always, always falling over me.

Somehow I’m always–I’m always falling over me.

Smiley, I sincerely value and appreciate what you bring to Caps games. A Caps game at Verizon Center without you rallying the fans is completely incomplete. You’ve been doing this a lot longer than I have, and you put your heart and soul into every blast of that horn. Far be it from me to EVER criticize your passion, and what you bring to Capitals home games.

But must you insult me, Smiley? Do you have to make yourself feel like more of a fan by publicly making me out to be less of one? You and I both want the exact same thing: to cheer the Capitals on to a Stanley Cup, as best we can–as only you and I can, for that matter. Why then the put-downs? Why then the rancor? Damn it, man, I’M ON YOUR SIDE!!!

I have written none of this in anger, bitterness, or resentment, and if any of it comes across that way, I sincerely apologize. If anything, I have written this in sorrow. It needs to be repeated: I’m not trying to start a feud here. If anything, I want to end it and have the hatchet buried before the playoffs get here.

Smiley, you and I each have our own way of cheering on the Caps. You may never consider me an equal, and that’s OK. I just wish you wouldn’t consider me so far beneath contempt.




1. june white - February 3, 2009

Hey, you know that you are always # 1 on my list of bests!

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