From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome. Email him at scott[AT]borderstan.com.
If there is one thing I enjoy, it’s being proved wrong (just not all the time). For the most part, I have generally found DC sports fans to be fairly fair-weathered when it comes to general game-day enthusiasm and excitement for their teams. (This may sound overly harsh, but it’s not meant to be). Yes, the Capitals playoff atmosphere for the triple overtime game I attended two weeks ago was amazing, but playoffs are a special occasion. On Wednesday, I attended the D.C. United vs Colorado Rapids professional soccer game at RFK stadium and I was quite impressed.
Now, to be fair, I went to the game with fairly low expectations. Major League Soccer (MLS) is still a growing league and has not taken off as they thought it might when it started. Sure, interest is high during World Cup years, but I would guess most average sports fans couldn’t name five teams in the league. I had only been to one previous MLS game and that was to see NY/NJ Red Bulls play the LA Galaxy in what was David Beckham’s first MLS game in NYC. Giant Stadium packed 66,000 people and it was an exciting game atmosphere (Beckham had 2 and 1 assist, just awesome).
Back to D.C. United. Located at RFK Stadium (which is a bit old), there was a great tailgate atmosphere upon arrival (yes, I’m sure Redskins have this too). Thanks to my girlfriend’s fantastic people skills, we actually had box VIP tickets for the game which made a big difference. As for my first United game, here’s what I thought:
Passion, Passion, and Constant Cheering. The section right next to midfield is filled with the loudest and craziest fans I have seen in D.C. It’s like they took a page right out of England’s soccer hooliganism playbook and though their numbers were small, they NEVER stopped singing/cheering during all 90 minutes of play. It was a multicultural crowd singing in Spanish and English assisted by a team of stadium staff assigned to getting the crowd going. It made a nice soundtrack to watching (they even have their own song to the tune of Yankee-Doodle).
21st Century Concessions. If you have ever sat in expensive/box/floor seats anywhere, you may have experienced waiter service. RFK has a great system which everyone can use, an online menu with free delivery. Within five minutes I was eating nachos and popcorn and I never left my seat. More stadiums need this.
Stadium is too Big. Seeing the entire upper deck empty was a bit depressing. My suggestion: Demolish RFK, put a new stadium for Redskins there, build United their own mini stadium either next to it, or somewhere else in the city. Easier said than done I know.
Because I have serious loyalties to my home teams in the four major sports, I am leaning to becoming a D.C. United fan. If anything, their jerseys with their logo (Screaming Eagle, badass) is pretty cool. Overall, a team worth checking out and I will attend again.
Scratching My Head on This One
Caps make great playoff run, coach quits… hmm.
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- The Nats are good. Maybe we could start thinking post-season. Hope this isn’t a jinx.
- Tim Tebow probably has great lawyers
- College. Football. Playoffs. YES
- Congrats to Borderstan reader/resident John Harms for winning Caps-Rangers series contest!