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Hop On! Why the Caps Bandwagon is Good for D.C.

By Nicole Weissman

There’s no denying the Caps are popular.  Regardless of what happened in the playoffs, we are the reigning regular season champions, and not one team in this league will look forward to facing us this year.  It should come as no surprise that over the last few seasons we’ve added a few new fans.  Just a few.  You know, enough for dozens of consecutive sell-outs.  And while this fair-weather effect can be an irritation to some long-time Caps fans, in the end it’s good for the team, and it’s good for the community.

As a diehard Caps fan, I’m not ashamed to say that my inclination is to feel territorial and highly skeptical of these bandwagon fans.  Where were you in 2004, when fans endured a veritable fire sale of our favorite players?  Did you even know there was no season that year?  Have you been completely checked out since 1998, when we competed in the Stanley Cup finals for the first and only time to date?

My disdain is not completely without justification.  Caps fans who’ve been with the team through thick and thin feel as if we’ve earned the right to savor this increasing success.  Who are these bandwagon fans to come in now that times are good?  They’re raising our ticket prices!  And what’s worse, they’re making hockey in vogue in D.C.!  Who likes doing anything once it’s in vogue?  Not hockey fans, that’s for sure.

Now that I’ve aired my grievances about bandwagon fans, I’ll tell you why I was completely off-base about this one. These fans have great lungs – our boys can be proud to play in one of the loudest, most fearsome arenas in the league. These fans look good in red – they wear it at the game, but they also wear it on the street, building Caps pride wherever they go.  Finally, these fans love the Caps.  When we win, they party and cheer and honk their horns.  As it turns out, their blood runs as red as any lifelong Caps fan, and I promise I didn’t find that out the hockey way.

Finally, when it comes to our broader D.C. community, the more Caps fans, the merrier.  A successful team is something we can rally around, providing common ground that ties Washingtonians together.  Celebrating the Caps’ victories this season will contribute to our sense of pride in our community, so that by the time we finally hoist the Stanley Cup, all of D.C. will be able to appreciate the significance of that moment.  And that will be a first for all Caps fans, old and new.

By Box Seats blogger  |  September 14, 2010; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  Capitals , Nicole Weissman  | Tags: Capitals, Nicole Weissman  
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As a Yankees fan (going back to the 80's when they were TERRIBLE and everyone in New York was a Mets fan) I am all too familiar with the "bandwagon" and I think fans tend to label new fans with this far too often. When a team plays well they get more exposure and the hype starts to spread... All of these are good for any team. And let's face it, DC needs a team to feel good about, so until the Nats and Skins start picking it up, I say we all jump on the Caps bandwagon.

Posted by: cgrimm1 | September 14, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Wait, what's hockey?

P.S. Nice post Nicole!

P.P.S. Snarf.

Posted by: ALKM | September 14, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Great Post, Nicole. I think you may have actuallyl painted Tony Kornheiser's old Redskins bandwagon Caps red and fired it up. Let's Go Caps!!

Posted by: ehoffman1 | September 14, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

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