Apr 26, 2010, 11:01AM

The team no one follows

Someone please help the Washington Capitals.

Picture it: 1982, a little girl with rat’s nest hair attending her first Washington Capitals game with Mom, Dad and brother. That was only the beginning of what 28 years later would lead to as much cynicism as trying to find the perfect man.
I was watching the Caps while the rest of Northern Virginia was force-fed football and snorting lines of the Redskins. I can’t even tell you how many times in my life I’ve been asked, “What are the Caps?” In fact, as recently as last year, when I requested that the barkeep turn on a playoff game for me. Of course, I was in Dallas Texas, a town that can’t see past the front of its nose when it comes to sports. However, even its adopted former Minnesota franchise has a Stanley Cup. Washington has made the Stanley Cup Playoff round only once in 1998 and was easily swept by the Detroit Redwings. I remember where I was; it was like a shot in the face.
“Let’s go Caps!” has been ingrained in my memory more than any prayer, rule or nursery rhyme. My hockey hero is Rod Langway. It was during the time that he served as the “Secretary of Defense” when the Caps steadily started to lose in the playoffs. Year after year. The Capitals made their first playoff in 1983 and would continue to do so for the next 14 years…and lose. I have attended so many of these playoff games shouting for a barrage of players ranging from Dale Hunter and his skill for knocking out teeth to the goal scoring machine Peter Bondra and everyone in between. I have thrown my hat on the ice, I have lost my voice but worst of all I’ve had my heart consistently broken like the Caps had a reminder on their Outlook calendar.
Here we are again, the third year in a row appearing in the playoffs. I keep getting reassurance that it’s different with this squad. As much as I want to believe this, and I will always champion my Capitals, I can only smile and nod. I’m as comfortable with this statement as I am in underwear made of butter. We just lost at home again. Tonight, we march on to game six in Montreal. My hopes are always high but my expectations are once again beginning to flat-line. I need Bruce and my boys to break out the defibrillators and not let them die.


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