As some of you may know, I am adamant enthusiast when it comes to goofy non-serious DC sports leagues — whether its indoor bocce, shuffleboard, or this city’s favorite, kickball. Of course, I am signed up for April; more to come.
You may not realize it, but there is actually a pretty strong undercurrent of serious competitive sports too, ranging from the College Alumni Network leagues to the less well known ice hockey leagues. I am currently playing co-ed basketball and we have been having a good season so far.
Hockey in DC
Now, as DC is a city of out-of-towners, all the transients from cold places (Upper Midwest, New England, states that border Canada) are the backbone of the many competitive ice hockey leagues. Yes, the only rink in the city is where the Washington Capitals play, but outside the district there are a slew of leagues that you can play in.
I warn, though, this is not for the average fan or ice skater, this is a real league with some serious competition. A good friend of mine, Kevin, plays in one such league and I asked him about his experiences over the last few years of playing. Some thoughts….
Lebodome: What are average players like? Age? Important or average Joes?
Kevin: The people vary greatly. Some are married with kids, others recent college grads. For jobs, a lot in various business, a handful of criminal attorneys at the pickup games, construction, real estate, finance, government agencies, the works. Although I don’t know if I’ve ever played with any Hill staffers…
Lebodome: How physical is the game? I used to dominate driveway roller hockey, could I play?
Kevin: Not normal-hockey-physical. Body checks will get you a penalty, more than one they may show you the door. Moderate pushing and shoving is common and expected. Only seen one fight in a little over a year. I think they’ll suspend you, not positive. Some really good players, depending on the league. Top league has former D-1 players, mine has some former college club players who are real solid. There are about five leagues at Kettler organized by general skill level.
Lebodome: A one-line description of your experience?
Kevin: Serious and competitive on the ice, relaxed and slightly buzzed off the ice.
If watching the Capitals (play poorly) has gotten you excited for some real hockey, there is a lot of choice out there. If you got the equipment and means to get to a rink outside the city, then this is the kind of league for you.
What’s Grinding my Gears
Sequester. I liked not knowing what this word meant. Now I hear it and just roll my eyes.
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- Washington Nationals cut a guy mid game during spring training. Ouch
- Bit long, but very cool. Video games themes, middle eastern musicians/instruments
- Best current U.S. diplomat; the best rebounder in the history of the NBA, Dennis Rodman.
Hello, Borderstan! How ya been? Sorry I’ve been gone for a bit, but in the last month my travels have taken me to New York City, Kiev, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Newark and St. Louis for a wedding, business and plenty of fun along the way. I can only imagine you have been lost in the sports world (as there has been plenty of nonsense) but I am back and ready to get back in District activities.
Lets just do a very quick run down of where we are in mid-November in the never-ending cycle of pro and college athletics. Forget the NBA, it ain’t happening. College football got upended by the neglect of human decency in Pennsylvania and still won’t have playoffs, so forget that.
College hoops started on an aircraft carrier and will get competitive post-Thanksgiving (articles to come on local teams). NFL at midseason and yes, as I predicted, the ‘Skins are just plain bad. For the hardcore, tennis is at the end with its Top 8, but Novak has #1 locked up so nothing much brewing there. So where does that leave us? Yes you guessed it… hockey!
As it turns out, DC happens to have a well-established and pretty good professional hockey team, the Washington Capitals. Not a grand history of winning — in the last decade or so the Caps have had some great seasons, but fallen short in the playoffs. The team is loaded with talent including one of the best personalities in sports, Alex Ovechkin.
The Caps play at the Verizon Center in Chinatown and last weekend my girlfriend took me to see the Caps play my home town team NJ Devils (I happen to be a NY Rangers fan) and we had a great time. So here are a few of my thoughts on the game and why we all need to become hockey fans soon, if we are going to make it without NBA this winter.
Let’s Go Caps! Now I only have 3/4 teams to judge (never been to Redskins game) but this is easily the most passionate fan base in D.C. I have seen. Not only did around 60 to 70% of attending fans have on hockey jerseys (not cheap), but they all they knew the cheers and as they say “Rock the Red.” Wizards fan are happy when their players don’t bring firearms to the arena and don’t even get me started on Nats fans (the ones that at least stay for the whole game). Caps fans were in every play from start to finish. Impressive.
The View. The nice part of basketball/hockey arenas is that if you are in the upper deck, you can still clearly see the action. I was about 5 rows from the ceiling but I saw every shot and lots of great hits. Sadly no fights.
Game Soundtrack. Say what you want about the links between the nationality and backgrounds of pro athletes, but hockey games are all about heavy rock music. Sure there are some Top 40 thrown in there, but these games revolve around rock and heavy doses of guitar. In my book, this leads to excitement and head bobbing.
Overall, I had a pretty great Saturday night watching the Caps lose a tight one in a shootout. The food was pricey, as was the beer ($8) but what pro stadium isn’t. The NHL missed a whole season a few years back and the sport is much stronger for it. Let’s hope the NBA gets the picture, but until then, we should be like our neighbors to the north and wish we could ride a Zamboni around (I know I do).
Also, just want to welcome the many new and great new writers added to Borderstan in the last few weeks. This is a step in the right direction and will mean better coverage of this small slice of DC we call NW.
Thought of the Week
I have an iPhone now. My life is only sorta better…