Today’s piece completes a year’s worth of columns, a year since I was talking to 106.7TheFan program director Chris Kinard about my weekly appearances on the Redskins’ pregame show when he asked me if I was interested in writing for the station’s web site. In less than four hours, I had a column written on the 30th anniversary of the near-postponement of the 1981 NCAA men’s basketball title game and was off and running.
While the Redskins, as you might expect if you know this area’s passion, have been the main topic of my columns, I have also written about the Nats, Caps, Wizards, Maryland, Georgetown, George Mason, Navy, AU, GW, Virginia, Virginia Tech and UDC (I’ve got to get to Howard next school year) as well as lacrosse, track, golf, tennis, and women’s hoops.
It has been a tough year for Washington sports. Gary Williams retired. Jim Larranaga and Jim Riggleman bolted. Bruce Boudreau and Flip Saunders were fired.
On the other hand, it has been fun to have Dale Hunter, Jeff Halpern, Olie Kolzig and Mike Lonergan back and to welcome Davey Johnson, Mark Turgeon, Ryan Kerrigan, Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen and Troy Brouwer to D.C.
As I wrote when I called Washington “Loserville” a few weeks back, it has been a real long year when it comes to winning, or the lack of it.
The Nats were up and down last summer but still finished (just barely) under .500 yet again. Football season was a disaster with the Redskins, Terps and Middies. In basketball, the Wizards, as expected, have been awful while only the Hoyas reached the NCAA’s but failed to survive the first weekend for a fifth straight March. And the Caps, who were favored by many to win the Stanley Cup, might well miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
I’ve been mystified by the continuing struggles (until very recently) of Alex Ovechkin, disappointed by how poorly Jayson Werth and Randy Edsall did in their local debut seasons, relieved that Albert Haynesworth, Nick Young and JaVale McGee were traded and glad to know that Ryan Zimmerman and John Wall are here long-term.
I’m going to miss talking with LaRon Landry, who signed with the New York Jets this month, as was the case when Carlos Rogers left Washington as a free agent last summer. It’ll be weird not to have Mike Sellers in the Redskins’ locker room and weirder still if Santana Moss and/or Chris Cooley depart as well. Thankfully, intelligent, cooperative interview subjects like Lorenzo Alexander and Brooks Laich aren’t going anywhere.
We’re all going to regret Danny O’Brien’s decision to transfer from Maryland as well as the departures of Navy quarterback Kriss Proctor and local college hoops seniors Sean Mosley, Charles Hinkle, Jason Clark and Henry Sims, and Ryan Pearson and Mike Morrison.
But I can’t wait to see Robert Griffin III work his magic for the Redskins, Bryce Harper slugging for the Nats, Nicklas Backstrom skating for the Caps for the first time since his concussion nearly three months ago, and for Turgeon’s recruits to suit up for the Terps next winter.
That’s the thing about sports. As bad as times can be, which we Washingtonians know as well any fans, good times can always be just around the proverbial corner. And that makes them worth following and writing about, and hopefully, worth you taking the time to keep reading my columns.
David Elfin has covered sports since he was a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. He is the Washington representative on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and is the author of the new book: “Washington Redskins: The Complete Illustrated History.” A pre-game regular on 106.7-The Fan the last two Redskins seasons, he has been its columnist since March.