One of the most exciting nights in recent DC sports history turned into predictable sadness – For The Win
THE SADDEST PLACE IN SPORTS RIGHT NOW — There’s a couple of things that are known to be a bummer for DC residents, especially for those who are here for longer than their two years working on the Hill before heading back to New York or Los Angeles or wherever else they’re from: Rain or snow — which will inevitably stop traffic because of DC drivers’ inability to drive in them, the Wizards giving fans any sort of hope for a dominant second round-series performance and the Caps in the second series of the playoffs.
But Wednesday was a sunny beautiful day in the District and one night had the potential to change all of that. Well, except for the rain part, because people don’t suddenly get better at driving. After the Wizards’ dominant Game 4 win, it was easy to believe they were going to at least stay somewhere close against the Celtics even though the series had headed back to Boston. And same with the Caps, except the game was at the Verizon Center so it seemed even more reasonable to believe they were going to change the trajectory of their legacy.
It was still hard to trust that feeling of hopefulness though: One fan told the local NPR station Wednesday night that he had tickets to the hockey game, but chose to watch it at a bar instead because he was too nervous to be in the arena.
Because DC is such a transient city, it often doesn’t have the overwhelming feeling of SPORTS! on important nights in local sports history, but this one just seemed too much. So even though it was a Wednesday, the city turned out with their Caps and Wizards gear (or even throwback Bullets sweatshirts in one excellent case of fanhood on display I saw) and for the first 30 minutes of the Caps game, at least, had hope.
It was clear in the first 5 minutes of the Wizards game that this one was over. The Caps game offered more hope for the first period — but even more frustration. One table of diehard fans at the local bar I watched the games in lived and died with just about every possession, which seems a little ridiculous unless you take the importance of the Caps scoring often early into their chances of winning and how many missed chances they have had throughout their history in the playoffs.
When it was all over, everything seemed to quickly return to normal. Everyone filed quietly out of the bar I was in, without much yelling but rather just a feeling of, “Of course that was going to happen.”
Because that’s what history has taught DC fans. Except for those watching the Nationals long enough to see Matt Wieters win the game, giving DC the win in the least important game out of three that their teams played last night. For those who have lived here long enough, there’s a chance they grew up rooting for the Orioles anyway.
On Thursday morning, local sports radio was filled with fans calling in to talk about how they knew this was going to happen, how it’s time to blow the Caps up, but then agreeing together it doesn’t matter anyway. There wasn’t much talk about how the Wizards still have a pretty good shot, even though — objectively — they do. It was a familiar feeling, which is sort of even more of a depressing thought after the excitement that filled the city for a few days.
It was also raining.
Predictably, traffic was terrible.