Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm a Loser, Baby...

So, this morning, the Washington Capitals Club Scarlet posted the winner of their "How I Became a Caps Fan" contest, in which the winner gets a game worn jersey after the team takes on the Boston Bruins on April 11.

Read the winning entry and tell me how this woman is a Caps fan?

I didn't expect to win, but I also didn't expect to lose to someone who isn't even a fan of the team. :( For contrast, my entry is posted below.

Title : You Never Forget Your First

The year was 1986 and I was a high school sophomore when my mom won a set of four tickets to a Washington Capitals game during the Montgomery County Fair. Mike Ridley would be acquired from the New York Rangers in a deal that sent Bobby Carpenter to the Big Apple in return. Larry Murphy and Scott Stevens would be two of the top three scorers for the team.

And I would still not see my first Caps game live.

For some odd reason, my mom never redeemed the voucher for the tickets that year. My family – myself included – wasn’t that much into hockey at the time. We were passing fans in that we’d watch it on TV, but it wasn’t a passion for my parents, myself or my younger brother.

Yet, my mom still didn’t forget about the tickets, and at the onset of the 1987-88 season, she wrote a letter to then-owner Abe Pollin, asking if she would still be able to use them. Mr. Pollin himself wrote back, asking what game she would like to go to. After looking over the schedule, we settled on the February 14th game, as it was the closest game to my birthday. They’d be playing the Calgary Flames, which, coincidentally, was the team pennant hanging in my bedroom at the time.

Our seats were excellent, just four or so rows from the ice. In retrospect, it was amazing what we got to see – future Hall of Famers, including Mike Gartner, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime, and Brett Hull, who was a tenacious rookie on the Flames, mucking it up in the corners and blasting pucks towards the net with that wicked shot of his.

Seeing Gartner hustle down the boards in overtime to clinch the 5-4 win over the Flames sealed it for me. After watching my first NHL game live, I was hooked, and by my senior year in high school, I was skipping out early on Fridays in order to get to the Capital Centre for games. The year after I graduated, I was working full-time and had the spare cash to get a single season ticket for myself, and was able to see the Capitals make it to the Wales (Eastern) Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, even though they were swept by the Boston Bruins. It was heart-breaking, but I was thoroughly hooked by this time, it didn’t matter. I would be back for more.

I was a season ticket holder at the Capital Centre for all of two years before I went to college full-time and had to come to my senses. I never forget Mr. Pollin’s kindness in letting my family use those tickets after the fact, and the excitement of that first game being won in overtime. Over twenty years later, I am a full season ticket holder, and again, I am witnessing franchise records and history being made. It’s an exciting time to be a Capitals fan, but then again, when isn’t it?

1 comment:

  1. So, it seems that when I first posted, the original post on Club Scarlet was incomplete. The completed post now shows that the Blackhawks fan slowly "became a Caps fan" because of her husband. Still not convinced that it was the best post in the spirit of the contest, but it wasn't my decision to make. The full post is much less offensive than the incomplete one, however, as it no longer reads like an entry to "How I Married a Caps Fan."