As someone who helps runs social media accounts with nearly 80,000 Capitals followers, I’ve stumbled upon a unique position on the internet to make broad observations about where the fanbase sits right now. It’s not good.
Some Caps fans are freaking out right now. A month away from the postseason, the Caps have lost four games in regulation for the first time since Barry Trotz’s first month as coach in 2014. Many have surmised that our favorite team, who once seemed infallible in January and February, peaked too early again. Others worry about the fact that Alex Ovechkin hasn’t scored in ten games. I’ve seen commenters say this season is already over. The community seems fearful about what awaits the Capitals in the playoffs.
My mind has wandered to this place too. And I want to give you the same advice that I told myself: fucking stop it.
Here’s how I see things.
Humans, and animals in general, are filled with anxiety. I was the most miserable adolescent you would ever meet. I got straight A’s in middle school, but I worried every minute of my existence that I wouldn’t. I thought everyone hated me. I assumed all the girls thought I was ugly and would never date me. All I remember, even today, was an intoxicating feeling of impending failure. Feelings sure do have a way of obfuscating reality.
But during my time at Ballenger Creek Middle School, if I actually think about it, I was one of 15 people to make the junior varsity basketball team over 200 other people who tried out. I made a ton of great friends who are still with me today. And I fell in love with art, which is what got me my job out of college and what remains my outlet to express myself.
My point is this: no matter how bad things may seem, humans aren’t always rational. We tend to ignore the good things that are actually happening. We take things for granted.
So that brings me back to the Capitals. I want you to ignore how you’re feeling right now and forget about what’s happened to this team in the past.
Let’s talk about what’s going on right now.
It’s human nature to react before we think and investigate what’s really going on. If something bad happens, we must blame someone (usually Alex Ovechkin) or have some grand conclusion about what is wrong. For some of us, we love the Caps so hard, giving up now is easier than going through another nerve-racking playoff run.
I’ve heard it a million different ways: this iteration of the Caps is not going to get past the second round of the playoffs. I think that’s defeatist. I encourage you to look deeper.
A smart man once said, “the only thing that is the end of the world is the end of the world.” I think that can be applied to the Capitals. The Capitals haven’t lost in the second round of the playoffs until they’ve lost in the second round of the playoffs.
So the next time someone close to you is cynical about this team, show them this post and tell them to enjoy the ride. The Caps are a great team, but they’re not perfect. Neither is life. It was meant to be messy.
Headline photo: Debora Robinson
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