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It’s Because We Care November 9, 2009

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.

(Reply to: Ted’s Take)

Mr. Leonsis:

It was not that long ago when a Caps game could be quieter than some churches I’ve attended. The first game I ever attended had an announced attendance that barely broke five figures. With the team rebuilding, losses were not uncommon, and discontent would be somewhat understandable.

It isn’t now. The Caps have a comfortable lead in the Southeast, are essentially 4th in the entire NHL, and just scored a touchdown on Florida with Ovechkin in the press box. There’s room for improvement: there always is, and there always will be. But there does come a point where the negativity seems to go beyond reason.

If Boston beats Pittsburgh Tuesday night, the Caps will have a game in hand, and will move into–wait for it–FIRST PLACE IN THE EASTERN CONFERENCE. No, regular season standings don’t mean much come April (just ask the Sharks.) But they’re a pretty good measure of a team’s ability. And if the Caps are within a whisker of the conference lead, I think it’s safe to say we’ve got ourselves a decent hockey team in the District.

I do agree that some of the negativity could stand to be dialed back a notch or three. It is admittedly somewhat incongruous to see the Caps in a high standing, but still read chatter that one would expect of a team standing much lower than the Caps. The Caps really are a good hockey team right now: it should be safe to Believe.

But I submit that it’s no fun at all to see the Caps lose, particularly when it looks like the loss was self-inflicted. When you care about this team as much as some of us do, it HURTS to see the men lose games by shooting themselves in the skate.

And yet, it’s that same level of caring, that level of passion, perhaps, which makes that loud building possible. Success on the ice means nothing if the fans don’t support the team (Columbus, I’m looking at you.)

Are some of us a little too passionate in our support? Perhaps. Do some of us wish success for our beloved hockey team so much, that we’ll say and do anything we hope will be of any help at all? It certainly can be argued. Have some Caps fans seen three decades plus of coulda-woulda-shoulda, and perhaps grown too accustomed to waiting for the other skate to drop? Maybe.

But that level of dedication is what makes that loud building possible. You’re not going to have a rink that rollicking unless you have thousands of fans in the building who are flat-out CRAZY supportive.

We all express that differently. Some fans lead the cheers; some fans email you a lot; some fans follow the team on the road; some fans contribute to Caps charities; some fans dress the part; and so on. What unites us all–despite our differences–is the one intention of seeing the Caps succeed.

We care about this team, Ted. A lot. Some of us, perhaps a bit too much. But without that level of dedication–without that much investment by all of us–without fans who are living and dying on every single play–Verizon Center would not be the arena it has become.

Is there too much angst among the fans? I think there might be, but I think it may go hand in hand with the level of dedication. If we were all content to just show up and watch the games, win or lose, we might very well hope for the best, but it wouldn’t hurt if we lost. There would almost certainly be fewer armchair GM’s, fewer naysayers, and fewer nitpickers. But there might also be no Horn Guy, no Goat, no “all your fault” chants, and good luck getting the entire arena to, with one voice, scream “Unleash the Fury!”

Yes, it can be said that some fans are too pessimistic, too micromanaging, too negative, too whatever. But you take the good with the bad, as the old saw goes. And if some cringe-worthy verbiage is what you have to put up with to sell out the season to an army of passionate Caps fans, I respectfully submit that it just might be worth the trade.

Keep up the good work, and know that there are a lot of us out here who care about you and your team. Some of us may sometimes care a bit too much, but we all want what you want–to see the Stanley Cup come to Washington.

Capital Spirit



1. Bucknelldad - November 10, 2009

Awesome. Thanks for this. Superbly written. As a long-time Caps fan now exiled in Philly, I love both the Caps fans and the organization. Compare it to Philly, where the fans are boorish, mean and suffer from a nasty inferiority complex, and an arrogant, disinterested organization. Washington has no idea how blessed they are to have both Ted as its owner, and the Caps as a team. We will lose some games this year, and some of them will be downright ugly. But for every ugly loss, there will be 2-4 spectacular wins. Lord Stanley is so close, we all can taste it.

2. frets - November 10, 2009

Wow, well said. Downright eloquent. Go CAPS!

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