I’m making a new rule. If you live in the Washington, D.C. metro area, you need to know that the Wizards are the area’s pro basketball team, the Capitals are the hockey team, and the Nationals are the baseball team. (Everybody knows that the Redskins are the football team, and unfortunately, it’s too much to ask for people to know that the soccer team is D.C. United).
Last night I met a woman who didn’t know who the Wizards were. When I told her they were Washington’s NBA team, she laughed and said, “Oh yeah, but they’re new – they’re an expansion team.” Then I told her that, no, the Wizards were the Bullets before that, and they won the NBA championship in 1978 and appeared in the finals three other times in the 70s. Both the Wizards and the Caps franchises have been in D.C. for nearly 40 years, and the Bullets were in Baltimore before that.
(The current state of the Wizards is irrelevant. I predicted disaster for this team in my blogs before the season began).
This has happened now almost 10 times to my estimation – someone doesn’t know who the Wizards are, doesn’t know who the Caps are, or mixes them both up. This isn’t like the 140-question test on football that one of the characters in the movie “Diner” gave to his fiancé. Just know the basics. The names of the teams. If you don’t, it’s disrespectful. Disrespectful to yourself, to Washington, to your country, and disrespectful to God.
It’s like with the news. I may not be an expert, but I can at least tell you the very basics. I also think people who live here should know the very basics about area geography.
One time I mentioned to a lifelong area resident something about the Caps. “Oh, they’re the basketball team, right?” “No, they’re the hockey team,” I said.
A month later, I mentioned something about the Wizards and Caps. “Which one is the basketball team?” she said.
About another month later, she still didn’t know the difference between the Wizards and the Caps.
Is it too much to ask that you know who the local sports teams are? I’d never expect anyone to know that D.C. United is the pro soccer team, though it’d be nice. The Nationals have only been around for five seasons so not knowing them might be slightly less egregious.
The Bullets had two of the NBA’s all-time greatest players – Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld. Hayes was known as the “Big E.” The crowd at the Capital Centre used to say, “EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE…” when he went up for one of his patented fadeaway jumpers. He was also a great rebounder and shot blocker. Unseld was a center who played great defense and was an excellent rebounder. He won the Rookie of the Year award and the MVP award in the same season. His specialty was the outlet pass over his head all the way down the court. I know, nobody cares. I’ll probably save this stuff for another blog post.
The Caps made the Stanley Cup finals in 1998 and the semifinals twice, in 1990 and last year. They have the greatest player in the world in Alex Ovechkin.
Just like local residents should know about the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, and the museums, you should also at least know who the local sports teams are.