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Another New Caps Fan

Since a rule was recently passed that every news story about the Caps has to be of the feel-good and positive-publicity kind, meet Walter Scott Lovell. He's a 48-year old native of Charlotte, and a long-time Lakers and Cowboys fan. He never had any interest in the sport of hockey, nor in the Caps; "believe that, I would have never told nobody I would have been a hockey fan," he said today.

But this year's Caps team converted him, and now he watches every home game at 7th and G, and many of the road games as well, wearing his Caps hoodie and one of his two Caps baseball hats while counting down the days 'til the playoffs begin.

Where the story gets a little different, I guess, is that Lovell is homeless. Home games, he watches on the big screen attached to the outside of the Verizon Center. Road games, he sneaks a peek at the TVs inside Legal Seafood a few blocks away. Then he goes back to where he sleeps, near the D.C. waterfront. So, how did this all happen?

"I just watched it, that's all I did," Lovell told me. "Brashear going at it with another guy, that's what got me into it. I'm into that rush. And hearing them bang up against that glass, that's another rush, when you actually hear it."

See, two different couples have given Lovell tickets to games, which he watched inside the building. A third time, he was ushered up to the owner's box, an experience he described as "off the chain." (Yes, the Caps confirmed that this actually happened.) And as everyone knows, hockey live is even better than hockey on TV.

"That really did it," he said, "the first game when they took me inside."

Fans were just starting to appear for tonight's game as Lovell gave me the brief version of his life story. He said he was hit twice by two different cars in October of 1982, and his right leg was amputated two months later. He was homeless off and on before he arrived in D.C. for culinary school in 1989, but the school closed before he could finish the program, and after he wound up homeless again he began drinking heavily.

A letter he e-mailed me describes years when he was in and out of jail, before he finally was caught distributing cocaine and spent nearly six years in prison. A probation violation led to 21 more months, and when he finally got out in 2005 he said he had little remaining family and no place to go. So he bounced from Northern Virginia to D.C., stayed in several different temporary situations, rejected shelters because of vermin and drug use and began coming to the Chinatown area only recently, where he happened to see the Caps on the big screen.

"Right now, the biggest excitement I get is watching these games," he told me. "Believe this, if you were to sneak somewhere and watch me out here when the game's going on, you would really think I was watching hockey for years."

So now he has a Rock the Red cowbell that he rings after goals, and a Rock the Red towel. He leads fans in post-game "C-A-P-S Caps Caps Caps!" chants and tells visiting fans, "not in my house." He informs late-arriving ticket holders what's happening, since the big screen only shows the score during breaks in the action, and gets monthly schedules from the ticket office. One couple he's met regularly brings him game previews so he can have a roster while he watches (plus information on the opposing coach and GM), and he just got a new poncho so he can stay dry while watching Caps games this month.

When his prosthetic leg gets replaced within the next few weeks, he hopes to land a job hand washing and detailing the cars of team members, and, as he told Ted Leonsis, he's trying to get a Mike Green jersey.

"See, there's too many No. 8s walking around," he told me. "Green's my man; Ovechkin's everyone else's man. There's something else about [Green], I can't explain it. I like the whole team, but Mike Green's my man. I'm an odd man, I don't like who everyone else likes."

Before I left, as bus drivers waved to Lovell and Verizon Center employees came over to say hello, I asked Lovell whether he was looking forward to the playoffs.

"We're going to get the Stanley Cup, no doubt," he said. "That's the way they play. I'll be here rooting on the Caps all the way to the Stanley Cup, there's no doubt in my mind. I'm sure of that."

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 1, 2009; 5:24 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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Too bad Lerner's too cheap to put up a big screen outside the ballpark so that Lovell could watch the Nats.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | April 1, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

"Since a rule was recently passed that every news story about the Caps has to be of the feel-good and positive-publicity kind, meet Walter Scott Lovell."

Is it a rule that all institutional bloggers slowly and surely develop deep and bitter resentment towards their employers and sneak underhanded jabs at them throughout their blog entries? (See also: Simmons, Bill.)

I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Matt Terl starts referring to the Redskins as the Fourth Reich and posting pictures of Dan Snyder's unflushed poops.

Posted by: ThisGuy | April 1, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

@ThisGuy, that's not how I meant it at all. I'm much more of a softie than my editors. I just feel weird that The Post is showering such love on the Caps....Tarik had a pretty fluffy (but deserved) story on ticket sales today, and this is the second time we've published a feel-good blog about Ted interacting with a homeless man.

But I thought it was a decent enough tale, which is why I published it. Just couldn't do it without a bit of self snark.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | April 1, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

And I didn't mean to sound fact quite the opposite, I'm disappointed that it wasn't a jab at your employers. Underhanded jabs make great blog reading.

Posted by: ThisGuy | April 1, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

OK, I hate to split hairs, but wouldn't an underhand jab be an uppercut?

Posted by: DSEIBEL | April 1, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Great post, Dan. I'd love to read the thoughts of the new bog followers on this.

Posted by: sitruc | April 1, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Good stuff Dan. I saw this dude before a game a couple weeks ago. If he saw someone who wasn't in a Caps jersey, or had it covered it by a coat or something, he'd ask if they were rocking the red. Lots of spirit. Glad he found something to bring joy to what clearly has been a tough life.

Hockey is powerful.

Posted by: writered21 | April 1, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

That story kicks a@@, no doubt about it.
I have no problem, as an NYI fan, being told "Not in my house" because we all know Mr. Lovell would most likely be correct--and he was.

Posted by: WaPoGuy | April 1, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

I saw him last night outside of VC!!

Posted by: rachel216 | April 2, 2009 6:29 AM | Report abuse

Lakers, Cowboys and Caps? How exactly does that happen?

Posted by: fushezzi | April 2, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Bandwagon Fan!

Posted by: VTDuffman | April 2, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse


I love you man, but how can you possibly “feel weird” that The Post has a lot of good stuff to say about the Caps right now? On a day to day basis the local papers are absolutely TEEMING with idiotic, deeply depressing sports stories about everything from the latest Wizard to shirk responsibility for sucking to the most recent Redskin to go bust to the tune of bajillions of dollars. The Caps are terrific. Ted is a terrific owner. D.C. is in love with its hockey team. If and when things start to go sour, pound the pavement all you want. But for now, I was a much happier man when I was of the thought process that you were writing these feel good pieces because you yourself understood the importance and significance behind the fairyland magic that this local franchise is caught up in right now.

Don’t go over to the dark side man.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | April 2, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

The homeless guy has an email account?

Posted by: bakerd1 | April 2, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Someone had to go there.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | April 2, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for this story. I saw Mr. Lovell last night after the game, he was really thrilled about Green's excellent night.

Posted by: jen-s | April 2, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

"I just feel weird that The Post is showering such love on the Caps....Tarik had a pretty fluffy (but deserved) story on ticket sales today, and this is the second time we've published a feel-good blog about Ted interacting with a homeless man."

Yeah Dan, seriously. Where's the story on how when in college, Mike Green reportedly was linked to the possibility of maybe receiving free Bauer gear a time or two, thus violating his NCAA eligibility. You guys have to start treating the caps with the same 'in-depth' coverage as the terps.

Posted by: nford2 | April 2, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Awesome blog piece hubby & I were partial ticketholders during the late 80s (& saw Hatch's 1st goal as a rookie & thrilled at Scottie's infamous hip-checks) so we really love us some Mike Green !! We can't STEAL any tickets these days, but am thankful for the new generation of "red-rockers."

All our best to Walt & we hope that he'll be employed soon whilst rockin' that RED...perhaps Ted'll let 'im lift that cup when it arrives this year in DC !!!

Posted by: katfromkinggeorge | April 2, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Jeez, I keep making things worse.

Listen, I was just joking. I mean, it's the SECOND homeless Caps story we've done in about two months. I felt like I couldn't just throw this item out there without acknowledging it in some way. If I didn't think it said something about the sports landscape in D.C., and how the Caps are on top by a million miles, I wouldn't have posted it.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | April 2, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

to: nford2

Your ignorance is truly amazing. Are you jealous of Mike Green, or are you just a bitter, little hate mongering type of person? Before you go on a public forum making false statements about something you know nothing about, you should at least make some attempt to get your facts straight.

Mike Green played JUNIOR hockey, not college hockey.

Mike Green was playing in the AHL and NHL when he was college age.

Major-junior hockey players typically do not pay for their equipment.

You are nothing but a jealous hater.

Perhaps it would be best if you stuck to topics you were familiar with, such as rounding up the carts at Wal Mart...

Don't hate on someone because they have more success, money, girls, and talent than you could ever dream of having. And please do not post lies, and garbage again. You just make yourself look foolish.

Posted by: BearsWoooo | April 2, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

You win again, Internet. The score is now infinity to zero.

Bears Woooo, you kind of missed NFord's point, but I'm too distraught to explain it right now.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | April 2, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Come on Dan, you had to expect that the Internet would come through FTW. You know what we need to bring the crazy up to the maximum level? We need a Glenn Beck style sportscaster!

(wiping "tear" away) "*sniff* I'm sorry...I just...I love the Redskins so much...and I fear for them..."

Posted by: EdTheRed | April 2, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

fushezzi: One way people become fans of seemingly disparate teams is by being a military brat or someone who relocates frequently.
It may seem bandwagon-like, but as long as you stick with those teams through good times and bad, I'd argue it's not bandwagoning.

Posted by: WaPoGuy | April 2, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Dan, Nice story.

Posted by: bryaningrocery | April 2, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

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