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A Proposal at the Olympic Break February 17, 2010

Posted by CapitalSpirit in Uncategorized.
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I have a couple of ideas I’d like to throw out there, now that the NHL is standing down for the Vancouver games. This has all been percolating for a couple of days, and I’ve been writing this in stages. But now I think this one’s ready to post, and I’m hoping that we can kick these around a bit, and come to consensus on them, before the season picks back up again.

First, let me say something about Salute to the Troops. I hope that feature continues for a very, very long time. I’m aware that it’s a sponsored feature. So it’s technically not a guaranteed segment as far as I can tell. That said, as long as it continues, I think we need to do a little bit more than a standing ovation for the troops who’ve done more than just a little bit more to defend our way of life. My idea: during Salute to the Troops, and any related in-game shout-out to the military, we fans in the building really ought to get a “USA! USA!” chant going.

Next, I found out that the Raveworx no longer sells the spinners I’ve been using. I am looking at a different set come playoff time if the ones I’m using are on their last legs at that point. And one of them is starting to squeak, which is not a good sign. I may have a few older ones lying around that I can fill in with, but the current thinking is to update my lights come playoff time, and perhaps sooner if the ones I have give out. If this new gear is as good as they say it is…well…stay tuned! And quite honestly, based on the design, I may need game-condition practice with these so that I won’t be learning them in April. So there may be a new light show up in 417 sooner than you think.

Also, I think–and this might be just me–that our Capitals need to become the next America’s Team. The narrative writes itself: the team that almost left town, now revitalized and giving everyone in town something for which to cheer. Washington tends to be viewed as a “versus” town: left versus right, Maryland versus Virginia versus the District, blue versus red, and so on. But at the rink, it’s all forgotten: we are all Washingtonians when the lights go down to start the show. For two and a half glorious hours, on a few special days a year, all of us put aside our differences and cheer for something bigger than ourselves. I think our nation as a whole could use such a uniting narrative, given how contentious matters have gotten in other parts of Washington.

More narrative: Russia has always done well at the frozen pond, but a generation ago, could anyone have imagined a Moscow native making his hockey home in, of all cities, Washington, DC? Less than a quarter century after “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall,” one of Russia’s best hockey players ever now plays his games about a dozen blocks from the White House. America is a welcoming nation, and I think that would add more to the story.

More narrative: The New York Rangers’ Cup win in 1994–even though it did come partly at the Caps’ expense–was one of the most memorable moments in the history of this sport. I wasn’t really a hockey fan in 1994, but I was still glad to see the Rangers win their first Cup in a long time. And again, we are three decades removed from Lake Placid, 1980, where another transcendent hockey moment took place. While the Miracle on Ice may be trespassing on sacred hockey ground, I think the Caps could do well to swipe a page from the ’94 Rangers. Perhaps the Caps’ return to red, white, and blue could also help make the Caps America’s hockey team.

Yes, I know “Your Nation’s Capitals” was cringe-worthy a couple of seasons ago. At the time, it may have been; today, I believe it’s not. The Caps are a team that all of America can take pride in now: players from all over the hockey world, persevering through hard times, to finally enjoy ultimate success. If that’s not an all-American storyline, what is?

Consider the Saints’ recent Super Bowl triumph. Was there anyone without an inherent Colts rooting interest going in, who hoped to see the Colts win? I think it’s safe to say that most of the “undecided” fans wanted the Saints to win. The Saints were the sweetheart team, the sentimental favorite, and I have to think that that massive outpouring of intent, had at least some effect on the result. Would it be possible to harness that kind of intent for the Capitals? Could becoming America’s favorite hockey team have a spiritual benefit that could manifest on the ice? I believe it could, but hey, what do I know?

So, Caps fans, two things I want you all to think about:
1) Should we do a USA! USA! chant for Salute to the Troops?
2) Should we try to make the Caps America’s team?

If you said “yes” to that last question, what will you, yourself, do? Wear Caps colors, no matter where you are? Spread the word to your family, friends, and social networks, that the Capitals are the team to cheer for, and hey, pass it on? Call in to sports shows and show your support for all to see and hear?

Those are just a few random ideas off the top of my head, but by all means, find your own individual way to get people cheering for this team.

Let me close with a rhetorical question. If you believed that getting people far and wide to cheer for the Capitals, could benefit the game on the ice, how far, and how wide, would you try to go?

Now, for you skeptics, one more: If you think there’s nothing to be gained in any of that, what, exactly, is there to be lost in the effort?

CAPITAL SPIRIT
LET’S GIVE ‘EM SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

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Comments»

1. CapitalSpirit - February 18, 2010

Oh, while I’m at it–when I initially wrote this, I totally brain-cramped on the “small-time coach makes it big” story of Bruce Boudreau. Any more ideas?

2. Ted - February 18, 2010

When watching away games on TV, you’re seeing a ton of Caps fans. Could these be new fans from those locales who have embraced the Caps or D.C. transplants just making themselves more visible I do not know.

CapitalSpirit - February 18, 2010

I’m not sure, either. I know there are a couple of groups in DC that organize road trips for the Caps, and I know there are some local fans who can afford to do the road trip thing on their own dime. But I have seen shots where a hometown parent seems to be attending with their Ovechkin-sweatered kid. So I don’t think they can all be DC road warriors and/or expats. I think this team may already be doing more national catching-on than we think. And with a new box set of great Caps games coming out next month, national fans will now have a chance to see some of the passion that DC has brought to the hockey table in the past three and a half decades.

The Caps are a team on the rise–that’s obvious. But how well is that playing beyond the Beltway? I have to wonder.

3. beardsandbellies - February 19, 2010

Go Caps!


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