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.
One of the major advantages of living in a condensed city like good ol’ Washington is the proximity from one activity to the next.
In many of our hometowns the restaurants and bars are located on two blocks next to each other and the selection is limited. However, in the Borderstan area we are spoiled to having a great selection of upscale watering holes to first-class dive bars.
This type of set up leaves DC ripe for a time honored tradition of both college students and young professionals looking to lose an entire day; bar-crawls.
For those that have done one before, you know that a bar-crawl is no ordinary weekend plan. It takes preparation, execution, and a strong desire to make it to the next bar. I have participated in a few in my day.
Here are some tried and true tips for getting the most out of any city bar-crawl
- Usually each crawl has a map and the deals available at each place. I recommend not making an exact travel plan but having a general idea in the direction you think you can do the most damage.
- The point of the crawl is to explore and walk around so go to areas with high concentrations of participating bars.
- Also if you want to pre-game, go on the lighter side, as you have a whole day to drink.
Mid-Way Fill Up
- At some point you and your crew will get quite hungry and won’t be able to concentrate. For me last week, this hit my party right near Shake Shack and man did it hit the spot.
- Be warned though that if you fill up too much, it could dampen team morale and call for an early exit. I recommend something like Amsterdam Fries for the just right feeling.
One Hour, Tops
- The point of the crawl is to go to as many places as you possibly can in one night. Don’t get stuck in a bar longer than hour. Keep the body moving and avoid learning any bartender’s name.
- One last, small tip, always use the bathroom of the place you are in and don’t put it off for the next bar. You never know what could happen between locations.
The Bourbon Bash is this Saturday so gather your buddies, sign up, and prepare for what should be a very fun Saturday in Borderstan.
This column first ran October 31, 2012.
The DC summer is here and the cranking of the air conditioning has begun. We begin to drink more on patios and take the sun dresses out of the back closet (so my girlfriend tells me). This means it is time to put your drink in a coozy and spend your weekends outdoors.
For me, one of the best parts of any summer are the great lawn games. While many of us don’t have a lawn, there are plenty of parks in Borderstan where you can play a wide variety of easy-going, social games.
Here are some of my favorites with the pros and cons:
- Pros: Cornhole can be played anywhere (sidewalks, roofs, etc.) with a drink in non throwing hand. You can also decorate your boards to add some personality to your game.
- Cons: Some people are just awesome at this game and can make the game not-so-fun for beginners. Beanbags can break easily.
- Pros: Bocce is easy to learn/become decent at it. Very social and fun for spectators. Game origin dates back to ancient Rome so technically “it’s a classic.”
- Cons: You need long smooth area to play. Game balls are heavy and with a few drinks can become hazards.
- Pros: TBD.
- Cons: Have you seen this game? Do you know anything about croquet? When my name is Lord Grantham, maybe I’ll play…
- Pros: Everyone can do it. Football/frisbee/baseball… so many options
- Cons: If you can’t throw, it isn’t much fun.
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
Whether you think the city made a good or bad decision giving Living Social massive tax incentives to put their headquarters in our fair city is irrelevant. What is important is that this company keeps giving back to the city by bringing wonderful weekend beer tastings to the Bullpen next to Nationals Park.
Fellow writer, Lauren, and I had the pleasure of covering this event last year, and I can say hands down Living Social has figured this thing out and this year’s execution was spot on.
Thanks to gorgeous weather all weekend, the city’s underpaid 20 to 35-year-old’s enjoyed a wide range of ales, brews, and ciders from all over the world in the form of a small plastic cup. I myself was able to enjoy Smuttynose IPA, Lost Rhino pilsner, Duvel, Ommegang Hennepin, Angry Orchard, and Shocktop Summer. From that list, my top choices would have to be the Ommegang and the Lost Rhino as both had a great taste and weren’t too heavy.
Another great feature of this unlimited beer tasting is that some of the city’s finest food trucks are there (I wonder if heavy drinking leads to hunger?). Those steak tacos I had from Surfside hit the spot while listening to the fantastic cover band Kristen and the Noise sing classics like “What’s my age again” and “Forget You.”
Overall, this is just a great event. Only thing I’d say for next year is, if you want to go, go the second day as most of the crowd goes Saturday. It’s just easier to move around and drink on Sunday. Most Living Social emails are probably worth deleting, but next time you get that one that says beerfest, forward to your friends and get a game plan going. You won’t regret it.
Wow. I won’t lie. Just writing that headline made me a bit emotional. However, I think the writing was on the wall for an event like this. The fact that it happened is an immense step toward equality and progress in our great land.
While in women’s professional sports this is technically not as big of a deal, in the men’s sporting world, it is a different story. The four major leagues all are generally known for rampant homophobia, masculinity, and a fairly hostile environment for men who don’t fit the norm.
Retired male professional athletes have come and told the world they are gay — but this is the first time an active player has done so.
When you live in a place like Borderstan where gay and straight people live openly and easily together, it is easy to forget that we live in a bubble. A very nice bubble, of course, but a bubble. Collins made more than sports history yesterday. He made history for all of us.
Jason Collins is no All Star, but he is considered a “pros’ pro,” which means a team player, the guy who works hard and someone who everyone respects. Many great players have battled along side Jason. With his story out there, I am hoping a lot of his old teammates rethink their own views and perhaps take a stand for LGBT rights — especially in men’s professional sports.
There has been no immediate fallout except praise and understanding. Fellow athletes (including Kobe Bryant) have come out in support. Others have not. I know that in my younger days a team locker room would have been a rough place for Jason’s courage. It is my wish that my children won’t grow up in the same world, thanks to heroes like Collins.
This is a story of immense courage and risk, and hopefully it inspires others to not make a leap of faith, but to feel comfortable in knowing the world will love you equally for scoring a touchdown or loving who you choose to love.
It’s been a big week in DC in the theme of returning. Sure the average person might rank Obama’s 2nd term as the strongest return story of the week, but those who have been avoiding Chinatown in anger and dismay see the bigger picture.
The owners and the players have reached an agreement bringing hockey back to America/Canada, but more importantly the Capitals are back in the Verizon Center. Sure the lockout was long and quite stupid, but some season is better than no season so lets get ready.
I have written about my love for our best pro team in the city (I still stand by this even with the Redskins division title) and could not be more excited to have this back in town. DC has always been a quasi sports town waiting for glory, and no team has taken them closer in the last two decades than the Capitals. Easy to get to stadium, knowledgeable and passionate fans, and plenty of great personalities on the team makes this team easy to root for.
The Full Caps Experience
I was out Saturday night and watched their first game of the season (a bad loss) at Boardroom on Connecticut Avenue and could just feel the excitement of hockey returning. As the season rolls along, here as some helpful hints and thoughts to get the most out of your Washington Capitals experience.
- Watch For Deals: Thanks to LivingSocial being located across the street from the stadium, as well as other deal websites, there are a few times during the season when there are good ticket deals. It is a short season so there may be less of these but just keep an eye out.
- Get Pumped: Game experience is not meant for those looking to relax and sit down for a few hours. Game day crowds are loud, vibrant, and electric when it comes to their Capitals. If this doesn’t sound like you, enjoy a happy hour at the slew of fun bars littered around Chinatown.
- His name is Ovechkin: Every team has its stars (minus the Wizards) and the Caps have Alex Ovechkin. His personality is as big as his game and at this point he probably holds the title for most talented player without a Stanley Cup (NHL playoff finals) appearance. I think he is due.
- Put on your winter gear, head to Chinatown, and get ready to ROCK THE RED!
What’s in the Hopper?
Super Bowl. Gonna be a great one. Tons of awesome story lines.
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- March madness style bracket of best Chappelle Show skits. Awesome.
- DC cabs must take credit cards by end of March. About damn time.
- 42. The movie about Jackie Robinson looks great.
From Scott Leibowitz. Find Scott on Twitter @Lebodome. Email him at scott[AT]borderstan.com.
I have put it off as long as I could. For two months now, I have dumped everything and anything Washington Nationals into the links section of my column, hoping that this current season would start to resemble the previous ones. I figured I was making the safe bet and not getting excited about a team which only a few short years ago couldn’t even spell their own team name correctly.
Maybe I was just bitter about DC stealing away a team from the great city of Montreal (I wonder if anyone in Canada noticed). Quite frankly, I just wasn’t ready for a DC sports team to put all the pieces together and actually put out a great product.
I am not about to declare that they are gonna win the World Series, but after years of patience and building, this team is ready to not only compete, but more importantly, to be a contender. The on-the-field product is worth the ticket price.
Well Borderstan, I was wrong. So wrong, that I feel we should all ignite, unleash, let loose or whatever you want… your NATITUDE! At a recent stint at the batting cages, between rounds with some friends, we were discussing whether it was worth the time, effort and money to see a Nats game now — or is it a just a fad.
So as you think to yourself this summer, “Hey, should I go to that Nats game Saturday afternoon,” here is a list of rebuttals for all your doubts.
Why You Should Go to a Nats Game
Ick, it’s at the Navy Yard: No, it’s not now NW DC. But in 10 years this place is gonna explode with all the investment in bars and apartment buildings they are putting up. Think Georgetown waterfront area, without all the snooty Georgetown locals wondering if you took the Metro there. The stadium is right on the Metro Green Line, it’s very scenic and the stadium is right next to the Metro stop.
Baseball is Pricey: All major sporting events are pricey these days. This complaint is totally valid as stadium food and drink are pretty steep (think $7 beer). Don’t worry, though. Right outside the stadium are a half-a-dozen makeshift bars that open hours before the game. Expect normal prices, ample cornhole games and an outside relaxed bar environment. In terms of tickets, there are plenty of decent ones in the $20 range.
THEY ARE GOOD NOW: I am not making this up. The Nats have got hitting, defense and some awesome pitching. I am not about to declare that they are gonna go all the way, but after years of patience and building, this team is ready to not only compete, but more importantly, to be a contender. The on-the-field product is worth the ticket price.
Presidents Race: Of all the goofy stadium traditions in baseball, I just can’t seem to get enough of the Presidents Race. I hope that one day poor Teddy (as in President Theodore Roosevelt) will win. I was lucky enough two weeks ago (when I went to the Yankees-Nats game that went 14 innings) to see two races, because the game was so long. Despite having a mini-cycle, Teddy came in last both times.
I understand some people just don’t like baseball or have the patience or attention to sit and watch a 3-hour game that moves a bit slow. But expand your horizons, drink a few beers and watch four presidents with huge heads run around a baseball field (also, the baseball is good too).
What’s in the Hopper?
Lebron and the Miami Heat won. Big woop. The guy is mega talented. Call me when the NBA resembles quality basketball again and not just a 2-on-2 street game.
Links! Links! Ice Cold Links!
- “That’s a clown question bro”. DC finally has a saying of its own.
- Wimbledon is currently on, so wear your all whites and enjoy classy tennis.
- What DC sports league should I join? Props to Washington City Paper for a great graph.