I am a member of The Washington Capitals Club Scarlet, and received an email with a contest opportunity this week. Write an essay, 600 words or less, explaining how you became a Caps fan.
I had to give it a shot. It should be posted on the Scarlet website in the next couple days, and the winner will be announced on April 7. Fingers crossed!
Here is my entry:
This story doesn’t really start with me. It starts with a woman from New Orleans who fell in love with hockey watching it on TV, and a man who grew up in Syracuse and decided to take up the sport in his adulthood. In the winter of 1980, they both lived in the DC area and started dating. One night, she was driving home from a party, with him following in the car behind her, when she suddenly pulled over off of Rt. 7. He pulled up behind her and jumped out of the car wondering what was wrong. With excitement, she also jumped out of her car yelling, “We won! We beat the Russians!” It was then that he realized that she had been listening to the Olympic hockey game on the radio too and that he had found the woman he wanted to marry.
Over the next two years, my parents were married, became season ticket holders at the Caps Center and had their first daughter (me!). The first years of my life were spent sleeping through Caps games while being passed around by the other season ticket holders who sat around us. The first word that I learned to "read" was Capitals. As a child I knew more about hockey rules, stats and Caps players than most grown men; and my first “big girl” crush was on Rod Langway. When the playoffs came around, I was frequently groggy at school the day after staying up late for over time games.
My room growing up was designed to be very girly, but I decorated the pink walls with Caps posters, pucks and jerseys. I guess I was following my mother’s lead since she had a poster of Joe Juneau in the pantry. Unlike my friends growing up, who were excited about concerts coming to town, I was excited about the Fan Club Banquet and finding out which player was going to sit at our table.
Through the years I have witnessed some of the greatest moments in Caps history. Most memorably, being there to cheer the team on when they arrived off the plane from Buffalo in 1998 after beating the Sabres to go to the Stanley Cup Finals. And most recently, digging out after the blizzard to watch one of the most incredible come backs against the Penguins this past February.
I am now the mother of two boys, and my oldest son (two and a half) can also read the word Capitals. Both of my boys rocked red mohawks last year during for the playoffs, and are learning to love the Caps as much as Mommy does. During the Olympics this year we were watching USA Vs. Canada and they were cheering "U-S-A Caps Caps Caps!" I didn’t correct them.
My father has since passed away, but my mother still has her season tickets (27 years and counting). This year I got season tickets of my own to carry on the family tradition. I sit in Section 105, row T, seat 5 – or as I like to call it – the Rod Langway Memorial Seat. That is where I plan to watch the Caps skate the Cup this year!
But I guess to answer the original question – how did I become a Caps fan? I would have to say, I didn’t. I was born one.