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How I Became a Hockey Fan


My Capitals pulled out another game in the shootout, beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-3. Oh, and Ovi scored his 29th goal of the season. In 32 games. Unbelievable. 

I have not always been a hockey fan, oh no. I grew up on football and baseball because those were the sports that my Pop liked. He took us to Washington Senators games in the summer, starting with the Memorial Day double header. Once or twice he took us to a Washington Redskins game, only if a client gave him tickets. He used to put the radio in the window and turn up the volume so that he could listen to the Senators' games while he worked in the garden.

The only hockey I ever really watched was the Miracle on Ice during the 1980 Winter Olympics. Of course, the US won and went on to win the gold by beating Finland. That was absolutely thrilling, but I didn't keep up with the sport after that.

In 2003, my sister took me to a Caps game for my birthday, and I was hooked from puck drop.

I love the speed of the game. I love the physicality. I love the skill - the amazing goals and the amazing saves. I love the skating! Hockey skaters skate without thinking, backward and forward, swooping on the edges of their skates. And yeah, I admit it - I like a good hockey fight too.

Hockey players are tough, too. They get hit by sticks and struck by pucks? They go into the locker room, get stitched up, and get back on the ice. Recently, T.J. Oshie got cut right between his eye and nose by a high stick. He had several stitches and came back. Later, he got hit into the boards and had to go through the concussion protocol. He came back on the ice and scored the game winning goal.

We were Caps season ticket holders for six years, until we moved into enemy Flyers territory. When I told our ticket rep why we were cancelling our season tickets, she asked, "You're not going to root for the Flyers, are you?"

No ma'am! Do not worry about that!

Of course, seeing my team win the Stanley Cup was the best!