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Caps players whose jerseys your kids should wear - Part 1

By Nicole Weissman

I’m a big believer that, when it comes to sports, the equivalent of  “you are what you eat,”  is “you are who you wear.” So when you’re picking a jersey for your kids (or yourself), you want to choose a player who makes a good role model. Beginning with this post, I will write about three Caps players I think make great role models, especially for kids. I look for a combination of a strong work ethic, activism in the D.C. community, and good sportsmanship.

What current Capital embodies those qualities better than Brooks Laich? On any team that didn’t have Alex Ovechkin, this tire-changing wonder would be a strong contender for captain. Because I believe that young people make some of the best role models, Laich (at 27) is the oldest of the three players in this series. He is well-spoken, a good samaritan, and a pillar of support for younger members of this team.

Being articulate is an important quality in a role model.  Good quotes can have relevance outside of their original context.

When Laich says “I try to help the team whatever way I can. If it’s playing left wing tonight and center tomorrow night, I think versatility… helps out our team,” the importance of being a team player comes through loud and clear.

There’s no denying community service is an important part of being a role model. Folks who wear Brooks Laich’s jersey should be proud of his consistent play – last season he had solid numbers in goals, assists, +/- (if you’re into that kind of thing), and penalty minutes. Fans of his should also be proud that Laich participates in regular visits to Children’s National Medical Center to spend time with patients. In February, Laich took part in Hockey is for Everyone month by visiting Fort Dupont’s “Learn to Play” program, teaching kids basic hockey skills and donating equipment.

But I would be remiss if I did not mention that being an outstanding community member involves more than participating in organized community relations events. I don’t need to gush about Brooks Laich pulling over to change a stranger’s tire on his way home from the Caps’ game seven loss in last year’s playoffs. This is a case where actions speak louder than words.

Finally, Laich shows a special interest in mentoring younger players, a valuable contribution to our team. For the past three seasons, he has attended the Caps’ summer development camp. Asked about his participation, Laich said “I like coming back and meeting the kids. I think it really helps them… to have somebody that they can talk to and see that we’ve been through the same things.”

As far as Brooks Laich is concerned, I rest my case. Stay tuned for two more posts on players who make great role models for kids. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you – whether it’s the Caps or another team, whose jersey do you wear, and is it for athletic performance alone? What are your other reasons?

By Box Seats blogger  | September 22, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Capitals, Nicole Weissman  | Tags:  Capitals  
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Next: Why can't I watch Caps preseason games on TV?

Comments

For me, performance is the first criteria for consideration of buying a specific athlete's paraphernalia. But, I will agree that when I step out with their name branded on my clothes, I also want to be able to say that I'm proud of what that athlete has contributed outside of the arena, whether by volunteering to important causes or to intellectual discourse. Asking what I would have my child adorn is a good way to sift out the athletes that engage in questionable activities/scandals. Great post- I'm interested to see which other Caps players meet your criteria- I see jersey shopping in my future.

Posted by: happymileday | September 22, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

We've got a Quintin Laing jersey, because he exemplifies what we love about hockey. He's probably not really good enough for the NHL, but he doesn't let that stop him, or discourage him. He gives his all, and is happy to be along for the ride when he isn't on the ice. When he does get a shot to play, he's willing to sacrifice everything, including his body, for the team.

Posted by: grawk | September 23, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Of the new jersey's my wife and I have 4.
1) Clark - He was a decent captain before he got hurt (I bought the jersey after he took the puck to the ear, but before he ripped his groin apart).

2) Laich -everything you said about him works except I'd just like to say 1 more time, that he's dreamy, and just super awesome (well before the tire changing incident)

3) The wife has a Backstrom - (also dreamy and super awesome) but a better passer and a quiet goal scorer.

4) An Ovechkin jersey. This will NEVER be worn. It is autographed with the tags still on and will be framed soon.

Posted by: goskinsgo | September 23, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Seriously? Does an article of this subject matter really need to have two parts.

Posted by: madflava | September 23, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

No way. It needs three!

Posted by: nicko | September 23, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

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