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.
From Kent Barnes. Follow him on Twitter @KentBarnes, email him at kent[AT]borderstan.com.
District sports fans rejoice! After a dreary end to 2012, the Verizon Center is finally back to being the hub of the local sports scene.
Buoyed by the return of star player John Wall, the Wizards have reeled off seven wins in January after only mustering four in October, November and December combined. The awful start to their season all but guarantees the team will miss the playoffs for the fifth straight year, but the recent improvements should bring more fans to the area, much to the delight of local bar and restaurant owners.
Perhaps more importantly to the majority of District residents, the Capitals finally took the ice on January 22 after a lengthy lockout delayed the start of the season. The lockout did nothing to cool the local fans’ enthusiasm as the team continues to sell out their games and dominate local sports coverage (along with William Howard Taft). And thanks to the compressed schedule, those fans can catch Capitals games about twice a week between now and the end of March.
As always, if you can’t make it out to the Verizon Center to see the Wizards or Capitals in person, head to your favorite Borderstan bar for a beer and the big screen.
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?