On Wednesday, I did a national interview with David Green, which aired during NPR’s Morning Edition.
Our talk focused on the paralyzing anxiety that comes with being a Capitals fan in the playoffs.
Take a listen.
GREENE: Maybe they will or maybe not. The Washington Capitals have had some great teams over the years but they have never won a Stanley Cup. Ian Oland is a sort of clearinghouse for Caps fan anxiety. He hears it all the time on his website, Russian Machine Never Breaks. The site is named after a quote from Cap’s star Alex Ovechkin. Oland says fan anxiety has deep roots.
IAN OLAND: Year after year this continues to happen. And hockey is such a gut-wrenching sport that when the team constantly loses in overtime in these big series, it just builds up. It’s kind of like having a great girlfriend and then she kind of breaks up with you randomly.
The next time you start dating a girl, you’re just way more nervous about it. And I think a big part of it is even like the first round, you know, the Capitals play the eighth-seeded Toronto Maple Leafs. And…
GREENE: They won, we should say. The Capitals won. And Korva, I mean, is expressing this pain after you just won a series.
OLAND: Yeah but 5 of the 6 games went to overtime and so it was a tortured series. It just throws everybody into chaos again.
GREENE: Throwing you into chaos just as you’re about to go up against your nemesis in the second round. And I have to say, I’ve been showing a tremendous amount of restraint because I’m a Penguins fan.
OLAND: Oh, geez.
GREENE: I just – I’m not going to gloat but there was some graffiti that was written at the Capitals practice facility. Someone wrote y’all better make it past the second round.
OLAND: Yeah. I think part of that is because Caps fans are so hurt by this team, even though they love them so much, that the way to show support is through sarcasm, through anger sometimes.
GREENE: Do you have any advice for a Caps fan who is just really suffering, feeling anxiety and uncertainty right now?
OLAND: No, actually (laughter). I don’t think it’s going to get much better. I mean, while I cover games from home, I’m shaking. I mean, I know that Ovechkin’s wife, Anastasia, she posted an Instagram video of her hands shaking in overtime during game six. I know the Capitals are offering morning yoga to fans who sign up, so that’s one way.
GREENE: You’re kidding me.
OLAND: No, that’s really a true thing, yeah.
GREENE: The team is offering yoga to calm people down? That’s amazing.
OLAND: (Laughter) Yeah. So I don’t have much advice. I just think that, again, the expectations tied on to everybody wanting this so bad, it’s just something that is hard to really ratchet down. You know, that nervousness, especially if the games go to overtime, it’s always going to be there. The only way it’s not is if the Caps go out and sweep the Penguins and give us something to be even more confident about.
This is incredibly the second time we have been interviewed on NPR. In February 2013, Peter Hassett and Chris Gordon were interviewed about RMNB beating the AP to the Chelyabinsk meteor news.
One last thing. To everyone who tweeted me Wednesday morning when they heard my interview: thank you.
— Emily Ochsenschlager (@NPREmily) April 26, 2017
— David McGuffin (@mcguffindavid) April 26, 2017
— Danielle E. Gaines (@DanielleEGaines) April 26, 2017
— Puggish Ruggish Bone (@MatthewECraig) April 26, 2017
— Jennifer B. (@CapitalBelle) April 26, 2017
@ianoland Loved your NPR interview! 🙏🙏🙏
— Ovi the Golden (@OvitheGolden) April 26, 2017
— Gene Wu (@TheWuWu) April 26, 2017
— Adam Kelsey (@adam_kels) April 26, 2017
— Stephanie Berman (@seberman) April 26, 2017
— dee cee (@notindc) April 26, 2017
— Sarah Heffern (@smheffern) April 26, 2017
@ianoland I am hearing you RIGHT NOW on NPR!!!
— arya stark (@erincwillia) April 26, 2017
— Jeanne Blue (@jeanne_blue) April 26, 2017
— Nate Rathjen (@Rahtgee) April 26, 2017
— Marta (@StorytimeLady77) April 26, 2017
— Sam (@TheHornGuy) April 26, 2017
This is kinda overwhelming.
Your guys’ support means the world to me. Opportunities like this would not happen without you.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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