Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's Over

My sentiment in the last minute of Game 4:

"I hate loving this team."

Now that I've taken some time to grieve and let the loss really sink in, I'm still not really certain how I feel. A couple of emotions are circling in my head. Disappointment. Anger. Frustration. Disgust.
And yet, oddly, I'm hopeful.

This has been one of the most irritating, and yet successful regular seasons that I have seen from the Caps. They went through a vastly-publicized (thanks, HBO) eight-game losing streak, and still managed to pull off the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Even the best moments come in losses. Remember Alex Ovechkin up-ending PK Subban on February 1? The Capitals lost that game in a shootout. Marcus Johansson's first NHL goal against the Bruins? A 3-1 loss in October.

There will be some changes to the roster this summer - several long-time Caps will be UFAs, and the Caps cannot afford to keep all of them. The team will have a very different face. It will be difficult to say goodbye to some fan favorites, but it's obvious that changes have to be made.

Despite everything, I remain optimistic. George McPhee is one of the smartest drafters in the league, and I would expect some prospects will move into the roster. As well, McPhee will pick up more quality prospects at next month's draft.

As a fan of most Chicago sports teams (in particular the Chicago Cubs), I'm quite familiar with the phrase "There's always next year." I know many fans eschew that phrase, but Stanley Cup wins don't happen overnight. It takes time and a lot of work to achieve such a feat. The Capitals will win a Stanley Cup. It's just impossible to know when. It's frustrating to wait, yes, but it will happen.

Until then, have patience and have faith. Being a sports fan isn't always easy, but that's why we are fans. We face a lot of heartbreak, but just think: when the Caps do win the Stanley Cup, it will be that much sweeter knowing the struggles of the past.
Thank you for all the support this year. I'll continue to do Prospect posts this summer, and I plan to continue writing for The Fourth Period next season, beginning with development camp in just a few months. I appreciate everyone who reads my blog, shares it on Twitter, everything. The support means the world.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Perspective on the Eve of a Caps OT Loss

I was disappointed at 10:00 last night.

I went over to California Tortilla to drown my sorrows in a burrito. The place was crowded, and I had to sit at a table with several other people. I'd been chatting a bit with the couple sitting next to me about the game. I was reading Twitter on my phone, and suddenly stopped. "Oh my God," I said. The girl next to me asked, "What?" "Osama bin Laden is dead," I replied. "Oh my God," she said, and the guy she was with suggested they hurry over to his place to turn on the TV.

On the Metro, everyone was abuzz about the news. We were sharing information we were reading on our phones with others. I broke the news to at least one man sitting near me.

Once I got home, President Obama had still not come to the microphone. I turned on the TV and eagerly awaited the news.

After Obama's address, CNN was showing GW students running to the White House to celebrate in front of the gates. Twitter followers who live far from DC urged me to go. I hopped in a cab, wearing my John Carlson shirt, and made my way down.

I was immediately struck by how many people were there. Despite the sheer number of people, everything was very peaceful, and everyone was just celebrating the news. People were sitting in the trees outside the gates, and scaling light posts to hang American flags at the top. One person brought sparklers, and several people waved them happily in the crowd. People broke out in spontaneous rounds of "God Bless America," and the "U-S-A!" chant was steady throughout the night.

One man was standing solemnly in the crowd, holding a photo of a man in the military and a folded flag. After a reporter went up to him to ask him about the photo, he said that the photo was of his son, who was killed in Afghanistan.

There were many servicemen wandering through the crowd, some in dress, some in fatigues. There was an older veteran holding a sign offering free military haircuts.

I stayed for a few hours, but it was past 3am and I was exhausted. I uploaded my photos to flickr, and posted several videos to twitvid ( What a day for America.