WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — It has been a tough stretch these past few months for D.C. sports fans. The Nationals made a quick exit from the playoffs, the Redskins realized that their franchise QB is a bust, Bradley Beal broke his wrist, and the Capitals got off to a slow start.
One of the beautiful things about sports is that you don’t have long to sit around and lick your wounds. Despite the letdowns, this is not a time of year to dwell on our myriad failures; it is a time for hope and gratitude.
In no particular order, here are the things I am thankful for as a D.C. sports fan in 2015:
Three teams that actually play in D.C. – I love D.C. I love taking the Metro to games and being greeted by go-go bands on the street. The Verizon Center and Nats Park seem to become better venues by the year. It doesn’t hurt that all three of these teams should remain in the playoff hunt for years to come.
Meanwhile the Redskins haven’t been the same since they left The District.
Mike Rizzo – A buddy of mine ran into Mike Rizzo at a bar last week. He was having a beer like an everyman and remained largely unnoticed. They conversed for a while, which is amazing in and of itself, and the most noteworthy thing my friend recalled from the conversation was a quote from Rizzo, he said, “We’re trying to win every year, next year and for years to come.”
Mike Rizzo, you are the man. You help me sleep at night. In Rizzo we trust.
Ted Leonsis and the Lerner family – They aren’t without their faults but compared to Dan Snyder nearly any owner can look like Robert Kraft. It’s incredible how far competent ownership goes.
The #1’s: John Wall, Alex Ovechkin, Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg – Sure none of the four have a championship yet, but having four #1 picks that live up to the hype is something many sports towns never experience.
John Wall is the anti-Kwame Brown. He’s hungry for a championship and getting better each season.
Some people believe the ship has sailed on Ovechkin’s chances of winning a title for D.C. While that argument has merit, the man is still only 29-years-old! Jaromir Jagr is 42 and somehow still alive (and more efficient now than when he played for us a decade ago but that is another story). Ovechkin still gives us hope.
We haven’t heard the last from Harper and Strasburg in the playoffs.
The Winter Classic – We are hosting the Winter Classic! Though the HBO 24/7 special will not air this year, we still get to watch our hockey team play in our baseball team’s stadium. Pretty enticing item to add to the January 1st sports viewing buffet as well. Too bad you would have to sell your child and two goats to afford a ticket.
Figuring out RG3 – This one is a heartbreaker. We all hoped RG3 would be the franchise QB we have been lacking for 25 years, and for about six months in 2012 most of us thought he was. Figuring out that we were wrong has been a soul-crushing experience. I hope the franchise learned their lesson and will be more judicious with draft picks in the future.
This horrible realization would have been even more destructive if we had not figured it out this season.
Close your eyes for a second and imagine the team leaving in Colt McCoy for the Vikings and Bucs games.
Let’s say McCoy somehow gets the team to 5-5 and RG3 doesn’t take over until a tough stretch in the schedule. In this scenario perhaps RG3 is able to hide his flaws/distribute the blame the rest of the regular season. Then we would be looking at the drama that is playing out now stretched out over the next 9 months.
I would rather get pregnant and birth a child myself over that period of time.
The future – Someday we will win a championship. Someday a victory parade will march down Pennsylvania Avenue for the first time since 1991. I’m not sure who is going to do it, but it must happen. Fan is short for fanatic. Screw logic. It must happen. If it doesn’t happen before I am 80-years-old, please come visit me in my padded cell. I’ll be the guy repeating “I should have stopped watching” endlessly.
Young talent – It is hard to get excited about a bunch of old guys on the roster in any sport. Perhaps I am jaded from the “Offseason Champs” era of the Redskins, which saw the likes of Jeff George and Mark Carrier on our roster when they should have been playing pinochle with their AARP buddies in Florida; nevertheless, I am always more optimistic for young talent over old salty veterans (unless your name is Paul Pierce).
With that in mind, here is one young buck on each of our squads that should get you excited for the future:
Skins: Bashaud Breeland
Wiz: Bradley Beal
Caps: Tom Wilson
Nats: Anthony Rendon
Buy their jerseys. They are game-changers.
The hashtag #DCSports may be synonymous with misery, and we certainly have our reasons to complain about our teams, but it never hurts to take a step back and reflect on what we have to be thankful for. It wasn’t long ago that all of these teams were talking about the draft halfway through the season. Here’s to better days ahead. Happy Thanksgiving, folks.
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