Before we begin our journey to a fruitful career in the sports industry we must address something. For you all to spend time with me every week and trust the information I share with you means a lot to me. And because of this, I feel obligated to share something about me that's rather personal...I am a D.C Sports fan. That's right, I claim it! Redskins, Wizards, Capitals and Nationals, heck I'll even watch a D.C United game every once in a while!
In 23 years on this earth, I have yet to see a championship won by any of my favorite teams; I've never even seen one of my favorite teams make it past the 2nd round of the playoffs. Its not as if all of D.C's teams have always been terrible; the Redskins have flirted with mediocrity for the better part of two decades the Wizards are typically competitive as of late, the Nationals have been consistently built one of the best clubhouses in Baseball and the Capitals have one of the best regular season winning percentages in the past decade. From the outside looking in, most sports fans would be satisfied with these performances, there are cities that have been through worse times (Cleveland). But what sets D.C apart from the rest is our unique ability to lose the most meaningful games in heart wrenching, dramatic and inexplicable fashion.
Lets quickly recap the last decade or so, shall we?
- The Wizards: Back in the mid 2000's, after the "Jordan Experiment" the Wizards built a core nucleus around Gilbert Arenas that was primed to make some noise in the playoffs. Just when it seemed like they were going to break through, they couldn't figure out a way to get past Lebron James and his "crab dribble". Fast forward a few years later (after Javaris Crittenton and his gun-filled games of poker) the Wizards now led by John Wall and Bradley Beal are as young and talented as any team in the NBA and in 2015 were one John Wall wrist injury away from the Eastern Conference Finals. As far is this year goes....we'll get into that later.
- The Redskins: Where do I even begin!? Between the quarterback carousel, the return of Joe Gibbs, fantasy football style roster building and the RG3 era, this team has had more than its fair share of dysfunction. But this past season and offseason might just be the worse in recent memory. After ample opportunities to secure a playoff spot in a contract year Kirk Cousins waits until the last drive of a "win or go home" game at home, against a division rival to throw an unnecessarily stupid yet extremely characteristic, game-clinching interception. And just like that inexplicable interception, the front office soon fired the Redskins GM weeks before the NFL draft with no explanation (still waiting on that explanation 2 months later).
- The Nationals: The city was buzzing when they brought baseball back to the nations capital in the form of the Washington Nationals in 2005 and after a few mediocre years the Nats built a talent filled roster with a Cy Young level pitching staff and live bats throughout the lineup, they've even posted some of the best records in the MLB's regular season. But when the playoffs roll around, the Nationals share the same fate its fellow D.C Sports teams; between shutting down Strausburg in the first round of the playoffs and Bryce Harper's anemic postseason performances the Nats have more than contributed to my pain.
- The Capitals: By far the worst offenders of all the teams on this list. The Caps have not only lost in many situations when they were clearly the better team, but they have made losing in the playoffs an art form! The Capitals, led by Alex Ovechkin who is arguably the best Hockey player of the last decade and by far the best athlete D.C has ever had, have underachieved to say the least. Consistently earning the #1 seed in the draft and consistently losing in the 1st or 2nd round of the playoffs, typically in Game 7's...at home....against Sydney Crosby.
Now that we're all caught up, lets discuss the real reason why I wrote this blog and why I write in such agony. Last night, May 11th, 2017 will forever be known as D.C's Doomsday and one of the worst nights in recent D.C sports history. The Capitals who once again found themselves in a Game 7, at home, of a 2nd round playoff series against their rival Pittsburgh Penguins led be Sydney Crosby, after coming back from a 3-1 series deficit to force this "win or go home" scenario. Meanwhile the Washington Wizards, who are in their own series against rivals in the form of the Boston Celtics, had the opportunity to take control of their series after 2 impressive home blowouts. The combination of these two events made this one of the biggest nights in D.C sports history! You could feel the energy in the city, everywhere you went, you saw Jersey's, T-shirts and heard conversations of confidence and excitement. By 10pm that the night of May 11th, that excitement quickly faded into disappointment, heartbreak, sadness, confusion and down right shame!
Not only did BOTH of these teams lose but they lost in true D.C sports fashion, they got embarrassed and barely put up a fight! The Caps found a way to miss wide open opportunities, turn over the puck in their own zone and play with a lack of urgency. The Wizards meanwhile should've just stayed at home and saved all that time energy and airplane fuel they wasted on this trip to Boston because they're performance was putrid and pathetic! Not only did they get ran out of Boston Garden but the game was over before the home crowd finished filing into their seats after getting their first Sam Adams. It was turnover after missed shot after defensive breakdown, you would have thought they forgot how to play basketball. And there excuse? Lack of a sense of urgency. Well let me tell you this right now I lack a sense of urgency to become emotionally or financially invested in any team from the city of Washington!
I can't promise you that this will be my last D.C sports rant but I can promise you that this will wont be the last time I write to you with a broken heart. Thanks for reading, now its time to go watch Sean Taylor highlights and numb the pain.
- Christian A. Carter