Like all great winning streaks in sports or otherwise, everything at one time or another must come to an end. It is with this in mind that I say goodbye to Borderstan and to those of you who have enjoyed this column over the years (still not sure who that is but it must be somebody).
DC is a city full of people and ideas coming and going, making it easy to get lost in the shuffle and never really putting your feet to the ground. Borderstan allowed me to establish roots not only with my fellow local writers, but with the community at large and for that I am eternally grateful to its founders/owners/best-guys-ever, Luis and Matty. You guys have truly been my DC uncles.
Usually at the end of any season, sportscasters love to wrap up the season with a highlight reel or a montage of top plays. For my last post, I’d just like to share some minor advice with everyone on how to enjoy this city as a true sports town, both by yourself and with your fellow residents.
Without further ado, my last bit of wisdom:
Kickball: Play at Least One Season
When I hear of people who lived in this town for years and never played, I truly think you may have been a hermit. It is one of the easiest and most social ways to meet people and drink heavily in this city, and you get to wear neon colored shirts while doing. Really not sure how much more you can ask for. Sure, it’s totally silly and sometimes competitive, but I am still good friends with the first teammates I played with, and I never enjoyed Thursdays nights more than during the season.
Jump on the Bandwagon
DC is lucky enough to have a sports team in all of the major leagues. While we all have our own deep allegiances to our hometown teams, making room for one DC team (Nats, Redskins, United, Caps, Wizards) is very doable and will add to your experience here. You will be able to flow with the highs and lows of the city and the gameday experience will be more fun. Plus I’m sure you could use one extra baseball hat anyway, so pick which design you like the most.
Don’t Ask What My job Is
When you meet someone new, don’t let the first three questions be anything about work. This isn’t sports related but one of my biggest DC pet peeves. It’s a terrible way to start a conversation.
Again, thanks for all the great times! Good luck everybody!
Last Call! Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- Barack Obama singing Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”
- The best way to eat milk and cookies.
- If you go to a baseball game, don’t bring a book.
Happy post-Super Bowl, no-football-untill-September to everyone! Hope everyone enjoyed the big game, ate lots of food and were with good enough friends to get you through Barack Obama’s planned power outage (I mean, it had to have been his fault, right?).
As the shortest month of the year, I have always seen February as a waste of space on the sports schedule. NBA, NHL, and college hoops are in the meat of their seasons with little urgency or exciting play for the most part.
It’s around this time I like to take stock of the city and see how we are doing. So lets take a look and, using my scale of 1 to 5 (1 being would rather watch new episodes of Wipeout and 5 being I am buying tickets now), let’s see the state of District.
The State of DC Sports
- Nationals. Pitchers and catchers report to Florida for Spring Training in about a week. The Nationals added a 5th president to the famous President’s Race and we all look forward to a very wobbly Taft losing many races. Star pitcher Gio Gonzalez was named in a steroid report, but we’re unsure if this will have repercussions. The first exhibition game is at the end of March against the New York Yankees…Oh Yea. Excited: 3.5 more presidents the better
- Capitals. Last place; not looking like a team at all. Still major questions in goal. Fans receiving weird magazines. Bottom line here: Ovi needs to step it up, and soon, if there will be playoff hockey in the district this year. Excited: 2 worried this funk will last too long
- Redskins. Rookie of the year honors to RG3. A division title and a win over the Super Bowl Champion Ravens during the season. Lots of players coming back. Excited: 4 as long as RG3 heals well, nothing but upside
- Wizards. … yea, let’s just move on here.
- Georgetown/GWU: Gtown is a top 25 team, big wins over Louisville and UCLA, always gets hot come March. George Washington University is still finding their offense in a much improved Atlantic 10. Excited: 5. MARCH MADNESS IS SOON
Not a bad state of the city. There are a lot of things to feel good about as we glide through this short month. Stay warm everyone!
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- New Yorker’s 101 pizza slices. Yum!
- It has begun. The robots are taking over.
- Paperman. An amazing Pixar short.
I remember like it was yesterday. Thanks to a push from friends and the great owners of this site, I was going to somehow become “the sports guy” for borderstan.com. I remember after the first few posts thinking that only my mother and brother were reading it, and how would I ever keep this going. Well after 49 posts about kickball, running, and general D.C. sports hilarity (so much material), I am proud to reach the ripe old post number of 50.
I want to thank Matty and Luis for giving me this space, and the rest of the amazing Borderstan team, especially the copy editors (volunteers sifting through my endless typos). To my readers and fellow residents of Borderstan, a hearty thanks and reminder that it’s only a neighborhood if you treat it like it’s one. Open doors for the next pedestrian and always say, Thank You.
The Top 10 Sports Stories of 2012
To get everyone ready for the office and family holiday parties, here is a nice easy run down of (in my humble opinion) the biggest sports stories of 2012. In no particular order:
1. Lebron James wins a championship. In the words of my college friends, “NO ONE CARES!” Win a few more and maybe I won’t find him so obnoxious. Did anyone else notice all those ads before the start of the NBA season with Lebron and his ring with crowds of people loving him now?
2. Fastest Man Ever: Usian Bolt (destroyed 2012 Olympics) or RG3? I would pay anything to see this foot-race….
3. Why is everyone moving to Brooklyn?? First it’s your friend in Logan Circle. Then the NJ Nets, then the NY Islanders. What’s the deal?
4. Livestrong comes to an end. Really tough to watch Lance fall like this. What a fall…
5. Kentucky does it with Freshmen: NCAA Championship won by a bunch of 18yr olds. What a feat. This title will be stripped by the NCAA in a decade or so for some violation or another…
6. NFL Replacement Referees. This about sums it up. May this never happen again.
7. Happy Valley No More: Penn State in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Hopefully justice is served and future incidents are prevented.
8. Are You From London?? Great show England, thank you for a fun 2012 Summer Olympics. Scowl Face. What was your favorite event?
9. Why is there still NO HOCKEY! That is all
10. Playoffs in College Football — it’s about damned time.
Let’s hope another wonderful year filled with DC team playoff runs, our government functioning, and less time waiting for the Metro. Happy holidays and a very happy new year! Stay safe everyone!
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!
It is quite an honor for Washington to be one of the dozen U.S. cities to host a team from all four major professional sports leagues. (Yes, it’s five if you count fútbol.) One might think that it would make the District a non-stop flow of great games, huge personalities and quality contests. However, as I have mentioned before in previous posts, this is not the case — and actually, in some instances, the professional team situation is downright ugly.
Last week I saw the face of this backward trend and its name is the Washington Wizards. But even though the team has yet to win a game, there are reasons to head down to the Verizon Center — bear with me, I’ll lead you there.
The Wizards of Chinatown
The Wizards of Chinatown (they play in the Verizon Center, along with the Capitals) are currently winless in this lockout-shortened season — and their prospects of winning aren’t great. It’s really a shame, too, because back in the day, the Washington Bullets were a respectable team that competed hard and didn’t fly with the trends.
Then a massive crime wave hit DC in the ’80s and ’90s — coupled with some losing seasons — and the Bullets hit the restart button by having a fan contest to rename the team. Due to the increasing wizard population in Chinatown, it was an obvious choice. The last decade saw some decent teams and some quality scandals — but not much overall progress in winning games.
Because I am just a coach’s son and not the general manager of an NBA team, I will keep my player/personal thoughts to myself. (But, frankly, any team that did this deserves a kick in the pants).
Last Friday my girlfriend and I went to see for ourselves (Thanks Levines!). The Wizards played the high-scoring New York Knicks and, frankly, just gave the W away. Here is what I saw.
Basketball is about players, not cheerleaders. It is common for pro, and even college teams, to have elaborate lineup introductions that are sometimes accompanied by a video of the team’s and franchise’s highlights. It is meant to pump up the home crowd and get everyone in a frenzy.
The Wizards are young and don’t exactly have many highlights or big name superstars (except last year’s No. 1 draft pick, John Wall) so they look for motivation elsewhere. By elsewhere I mean that their intro video consists of mostly clips of practice footage, offseason free agent signings and their cheerleaders. I was chuckling more than I was excited for Wizards hoops.
Stand until we score. The Wizards encourage this of their fans when the game starts. I love fan interaction, especially in college hoops when stadiums are buzzing before tipoff — but this was just annoying. I sat and fans in front of me blocked my view. I just don’t see the point here.
Halftime, finally. Hands down, the most entertaining halftime show I have ever seen. Why? Well, her name is Krystal Liu and she is part of the Red Panda Arcrobats and until I see another woman on a unicycle flip bowls onto her head from her foot, this act will have the title. I only wish they performed at every Wizards game.
So, Why Go?
Besides Red Panda, why should you spend money to see a Wizards game? First, it’s easy to get there: the arena is right on the Metro Red, Green and Yellow Lines. Second, teams with better players come often. Third, the fans who show up are are obviously well aware of the team’s mediocrity, so the atmosphere is laid back.
Unless the Wizards are playing the Heat, Mavs, Lakers, Thunder or Celtics, it may not be worth the hefty price for an upper deck seat. But basketball is basketball. Who knows? Maybe this short season will bring me back to the NBA fold. Until then, we are just three short months from college hoops’ March Madness.
Thought of the Day
Where does the money go that DC saved for snow removal this year if we don’t use it?
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
Editor’s note: Borderstan.com welcomes a new contributor, Scott Leibowitz. In his own words: “Scott may not be the trendiest, but since age 8 when he realized going pro wasn’t an option, he has watched Sportscenter every morning and rooted for his beloved New York sports teams (despite being from Jersey). Schooled in Foggy Bottom, he plans people’s financial futures by day and enjoys his front lawn of 18th Street Adams Morgan by night. His father the basketball coach taught him his game, and he is always open for a quality discussion on the pros and cons of the designated hitter rule or anything else.
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From Scott Leibowitz. Find me on Twitter @Lebodome.
Hello, Borderstan! How’s it going? My name is Scott and I am new to Borderstan.com. I am here to bring a little sports and outdoor activities into your digital reading space. I am from New Jersey living in D.C., and working for a small financial services company from my room right on the 18th Street strip of Adams Morgan.
My goal is to make this column a mix of sports topics from Borderstan, D.C. and the rest of the world. The focus will be on Borderstan-area activities, including sport leagues, bars to enjoy games and good running routes. I hope to chronicle some of the things I see from my window, as well as a healthy dispensing of Internet links. Feel free to comment or follow me on Twitter at Lebodome.
Old Business Before New Business: I Love June
With the excitement and fun of fireworks, barbecues, and humidity, the time around July 4th is probably one of the best chunks of days on the calendar, especially as it kicks into the deep part of summer.