Congrats to the Washington Capitals, NHL Champions!

The fans have been waiting a long time. Ovi has been waiting a long time. I’m really happy for the Caps. This is the year I’ve gotten into Hockey the most, and this was a delightful finals to end it on. I don’t actually have a hockey team that I root for so it was always hard to find an investment point, but the Caps miracle run and the Knights magic out of nowhere story was great stuff. Also the Caps beat Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh losing is almost always cool and good.

So that makes two recent teams who finally got over the hump after years and years of being so close. Three, if you want to count the Astros late last year. What does this mean for the NBA this seaso (Checks finals score) oh nevermind. What a waste of a finals this NBA season gave us.

Watching Ovechkin lift up the cup with pure boyish excitement on his face was pretty much the highlight of the 2018 sports year for me so far. It was impossible to not be happy for the dude. Watching Caps fans climb poles and stick their boobs on the glass and yell things is great. I have a weakness for watching people who have long invested their hearts in something get a payoff. It’s the reason I had a hard time being angry about the Eagles winning. Seeing people that happy after so long is great and makes me feel good for them. The general apathy of a fanbase that already has it all celebrating again is infuriating. It’s probably stupid that we pour so much emotional investment in these teams of random people playing a game but those wins are the reason we do it. That’s one of the reasons I was rooting for the Caps over the Knights. The Knights fans haven’t spent much time in the dirt. Any time, really. They aren’t lesser fans, but it would be practically impossible for a Knights fan to really match the emotional investment of someone who has watched the Caps since the 70’s.

Maybe this is why I always find myself rooting for the underdogs instead of the teams who play the best, especially if the underdog is a long suffering franchise. I’ve never really cared about watching a team execute perfectly the way a team like the Pats do. That’s only exciting for a short period of time, like a season or so. It’s more like appreciation than enjoyment. But the emotional thrust of a scrappy underdog, pulling off feats of greatness when they shouldn’t? That’s wonderful and far more interesting. A team like the current Golden State Warriors or the Pats are like a well made oscar winning art film. It’s an expertly pulled off example of the form that deserves appreciation. I can admire it for everything it does right. For the mastery. But there is a certain kind of deeper, personal connection missing to it. It’s meant to be admired from afar and you feel separate from it. A team like this year’s Caps, or the Astros, or my good old 2007 Giants is different. There is a personal connection, a deeper connection, in the flawed struggle of the underdog. If I have to pick between watching a perfect, and I mean utterly perfect, pass from Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers or a Russell Wilson mad scramble on a broken play I’ll pick Russ every time. It’s really the flaws that make something truly perfect.

So who will be next to finally get over the hump and break decades of snakebitten shame? In any of the leagues? I consider a snakebitten team a franchise that has gone 30+ years with nothing to show for it but heartbreak and sadness, if you want to use that as a reference point.