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Still Proud To Be A Caps Fan

Yes, I know.

I know my boys lost again, again in the playoffs, again in Game 7, after leading the series 3 games to 1. I know they lost to a supposedly inferior team that certainly wasn't inferior during that series.

I know, I know, believe me, I know. I was watching every step of the way.

I have read all the articles, listened to the commentary, heard all the bitching and moaning and the get-rid-ofs. Get rid of Green, get rid of Semin, get rid of Boudreau, get rid of George McPhee.

I am a latecomer to hockey fandom; I've only been a huge fan since January 2004, when my sister took me to a Caps game for my birthday. One game and I was hooked. I read books on hockey and learned the rules. I started watching hockey on TV. I suffered through the lockout. In 2007-2008, when the Caps went from worst to first and made the playoffs, we got our hands on playoff tickets for Game 1. Last year Joe and I splurged on season tickets. We renewed this year.

I hear all these people moaning and groaning and talking about how awful this defeat is. I can't help wondering if they could do a better job than these folks who have been doing it for years. I mean, who am I to question the wisdom of folks -- players and coaches and managers alike -- who have lived and breathed this sport for years and years and years? I am no one in this sport. Even though we go to all the home games and even though we watch all the away games on TV, I must admit that I don't know dick about the finer points of hockey.

Finer points, hell. I barely know the rules of the game, so I'm not about to go mouthing off about how horrible the team is and what they have to do and how only the Cup matters.

I was hopeful for a deep run in the playoffs. I didn't get it. I thought maybe, just maybe, we might win the Stanley Cup this year. We didn't. I was worried when I realized that our opponent in Round 1 was the Montreal Canadiens because we had trouble with them all year. I was right.

But.

I still love my team, my Caps, my boys. I do. I am not angry at them; I am sad for them. They played wonderfully all season long, setting franchise records, compiling the best regular season record in the NHL, and winning the Presidents' Trophy. Going deeper into the playoffs would have been a wonderful experience for them.

But let me tell you something else: I am so very grateful to this team. They gave me such a wonderful gift, a gift of such pleasure and joy and distraction from my mother's dying that I can only be grateful to my team. Yeah, the Cup would have been nice, but I'm really okay with it because of the phenomenal season the team gave me.

So thank you, Washington Capitals, for getting me through a tough, tough year. Thank you for the thrills, the joys, the heartstopping action. Thank you for the most fun I've had with sports in years.

My team. Always my team. I am still proud to be a Caps fan.

GO CAPS!

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