So, the Washington Capitals won last night bringing their winning streak to 4 (can you call 4 games a streak?) the first time they have one more than 2 games in a row in the last two months. Will they finally play to their potential?
I am often asked about my devotion to hockey and the Washington Capitals. Having grown up in the South people are surprised to find that I have such a devotion to a team and a sport. If you ask me about football or basketball or soccer, I know very little and have no allegiances, I am by no means a sports fan but there is this hockey thing...
I think my dad took us to a game or two in the seventies but in my house growing up we watched football. When my high school football team went to state in Junior year we talked of driving down to Hampton but that was more social than anything. And yet, hockey.
When I headed off to college I initially selected a former women's college that had gone co-ed. The school's benefactor had made it very clear that she did not want anything to be divisive and she wanted equity in everything. If the school was to start a football team for the men then they would need to start one for the women. The consequence of not following this suggestion would be she (or her estate) would pull all funding. We never had a football team but we did have the first woman's varsity hockey team in the country. But I couldn't stay there and took some time off where I was living in cabins heated by wood stoves and teaching ice fishing, my friends and coworkers used to bob sled with the Jamaican Bob Sled team in Lake Placid -- I wasn't in VA anymore (whose life is this anyway? if I hadn't lived it...)
When I returned to school it was in Vermont. Another school with no football but men and women's varsity hockey. I dated a guy (for 6 years) who had grown up playing from the time he could skate. It was early snowy mornings to the rink. He even played a bit in college and at some point while we were dating he was an assistant coach for a pee wee team. We would watch some hockey and I would always root for the Caps -- they were definitely still an underdog team although they had improved from those first few years in the 70's. My company sponsored boards at Gutterson where the Catamounts played and I often was allowed to use those tickets. Those were the years of Martin Saint Louis, Tim Thomas and Eric Perrin (all who have a stanley cup win to their credit). UVM made it to their first frozen four. It was exciting.
When I moved back south the first thing I looked into was Capitals tickets. The Cpaital Center was long gone but the new arena right downtown on the metro -- that was convenient. There wasn't much down there those first few years, we hung out at The Rock and often so did the players. But once you have the access and start attending live games regularly, it is hard to explain but there is this irrational devotion that comes over you. Now in the height of popularity, I sometimes miss those empty arena games when I first moved here but the people I have met and the fun we have had. The stories and memories...what can say, Go Caps!!!