Scarlet Caps caused a bit of an uproar on Twitter this morning after its winner for the “How I became a Caps fan” blog contest. While her story was sweet, it didn’t really fit the “became a Caps fan” part completely. Here are a few great blogs that managed to stay on topic: Kathryn, Dana, Anna from Hockey Night in Baltimore, Erika from Ravings of a Rink Rebel, and Meghan from The Hockey Chronicles.
Ever since I can remember, I have always had a love for sports. I danced and played T-Ball for two years, played soccer for nine, field hockey for one, and lacrosse for four. For the amount of space sports took up in my life, I was never actually a fan of watching or closely following the teams that I loved.
My family has always been mostly into baseball and football, Orioles and Redskins. NFL was usually on the TV on Sundays but I was never interested until middle school. I went to a couple of Orioles games with my T-ball team and always asked my brother or dad if “da O’s” won but still was never very really cared to watch when I was little. Soccer was never exciting to spectate either; I had seen two games live and only watched on TV when the World Cup game around. Lacrosse was probably the first time I was ever happy to sit and watch a game play out, and I thought I was the only time I would ever actually be captivated by watching other people play instead always having to be the athlete. Then, hockey found me.
In 2006-2007, my freshman year, our high school got a hockey team. I live in an area where everyone played soccer and baseball or softball growing; clearly, I knew nothing about hockey. At all. But a friend and I had known a bunch of the guys on the team since elementary school and we decided, “Hey, let’s make our parents take fourty-five minutes out of their day so they can drive us out to Waldorf so we can watch our friends play hockey.” We were a little late, and the first period was already under way (except, at the time, we didn’t know they were periods and didn’t know there were only three) with our team already ahead. They ended up winning, and we were ecstatic. But we still had no idea what any of the penalties were or why they were going on and off the ice so much. The next day in first period, I was talking with one of my friends, who was on the team, what stuff was. With some nonsensical babbling, I tried to get him to explain what icing was. He drew me a picture and told me it was called “icing” but gave up on me when I still couldn’t grasp it. I chose to just watch and not care about the rules any more. My friend and I had gone to a couple more games that year. Then, over the next year and a half or so, I lost touch with hockey.
We went to maybe two games out of 12 our sophomore year. I still hadn’t figured out about the NHL and I didn’t really ever talk about hockey. I remember being home after lacrosse one night, clicking through the channels on the television and stopping on (what I now know as) CSN. The Caps were playing. I watched all of a minute and changed it. That was about it for hockey. We were done. Then, the most random channel surfing incident led to my hockey and Caps obsession.
Early last season, maybe November, I was looking for something to watch and found a Caps game again. This time, I figured, “What the hell? There’s nothing else on. Let’s see how this goes.” I loved it. Absolutely loved it. I don’t remember that game; the first one I remember was the overtime win at MSG against the New York Rangers. I just remember that it was around Christmas time and the Caps had been down pretty bad after the first. The announcers were talking about how the Caps hadn’t won at MSG in a really long time, and it looked like they wouldn’t for another game. Of course, in true Alex Ovechkin fashion, Ovi started the comeback. The only other thing I remember is Joe Beninati yelling, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHAONE MORRISONN!” after Shmosie scored the overtime winner against Henrik Lundqvist. My first game, ironically, was Game 2 of the first series against the Rangers. Even with the loss, it was thrilling. I have loved hockey and the Caps ever since.
I started out as just a Caps fan, but it quickly evolved into a general love of the game. I don’t just root for and watch the Caps. Never did I think that I’d like players from other teams; I basically love almost every player from the US Men’s Olympic team. Never did I think that I would be going up to Hershey, PA for something other than chocolate and Hershey Park. And never ever did I think that I would be listening to a Swift Current Broncos game on an Internet feed to find out how a Caps prospect was doing. When the WJC came around this year, I watched intensely as American Hero John Carlson came to prominance outside of Caps Nation. I watched American Hero Ryan Miller absolutely dominate in net during the Olympics. And I watched that sonuvabitch rip the gold medal away from the US in a matter of seconds.
Hockey’s one of the best sports in the world, and I can’t believe I ever shunned it.
Okay, that is incredibly long and I veered off of the “How I became a Caps fan” thing a little. I hope it’s at least readable. If not, oh well.