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Jeremy Smith

Washington Sports: A Tale of Two Teams

  • Posted by: Jeremy Smith
  • April 20, 2009, 2:23 PM


Our nation’s capital plays host to many teams; exclusively the Washington Capitals and the Washington Wizards.

The Capitals finished the regular season with a record 50-24-8. All-star wing Alexander Ovechkin is the centerpiece of this dominant offense and has his team in the middle of a tough playoff series with the New York Rangers. 

The Caps have played on a different level ever since Coach Bruce Boudreau stepped in during the 2007 season. Last year, Boudreau led his team to 25 more wins and 24 more points than the year before, scoring a prestigious Southeast Division title. Although the Caps fell to the Philadelphia Flyers in last year’s playoffs, they’re once again the Southeast Division champs and hope to go deep in the postseason this year.

Everything seems to be going right with the Capitals. The Wizards, well… not so much.

These “woeful warriors” ended this season 19-63. Their biggest problem was injuries, by far. Gilbert Arenas, earning a cool $111 million on his six-year contract, played the tail end of the season after sitting on the bench for most of the year with a knee injury. Brendan Haywood and Caron Butler were also out for extended periods of time with injuries of their own.

Along with injuries, the Wizards underwent a coaching change, firing fan-favorite Eddie Jordan just 11 games into this season despite four trips to the playoffs in five full seasons as head coach. The Wizards hope to turn the team around with Flip Saunders, former coach of the Timberwolves and Pistons. Saunders has a career winning percentage of .595.

If the Wizards want to see success in the near future, they will have to steal the show at the NBA Draft. They’d do well to land a big-name guard like Davidson’s Stephen Curry or Spain’s Ricky Rubio, an explosive forward like Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin, or a powerful center like Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet.

So in Washington we celebrate and mourn at the same time. We’re used to it. But hope springs eternal, and as spring “springs,” our hopes and dreams turn to the Washington Nationals.

Washington baseball has been so historically bad that there was a musical written about them: “Damn Yankees.” While George Washington was revered as "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen," the Senators (which pre-dated the Nationals in D.C.) were commonly referred to as "First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League." One of the songs from the musical is “You Gotta Have Heart”. So true.

There’s nothing better than sitting in our beautiful new stadium on a sunny summer afternoon with a hot dog and a soda while watching the national past time… hoping against hope.

But hey, we’re tough here in the Nation’s Capital. We’ve got a lot of heart.

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