Not every weekend is going to be like last-weekend: ‘tism gift-wrapped with exquisite paper resembling a 34-3 victory, and topped off with a bow of undefeated hockey and a shutout home opener. It was easy to be optimistic after last weekend; it’s only slightly more difficult now, save for a handful of “fans” (you know who you are) eager to bail out and spread the optimism-hating that is eternally bottled up inside their dark and heavy souls. Actually, a deeper look at the fanbases reveals a stark lack of total panic. There is understandable disappointment in seeing the Caps and Skins go down in borderline gruesome fashion, but few seem to truly be ready to give up. Could ‘tism be holding the beachhead?
Let’s briefly contrast the mostly sane reactions in DC to a letdown weekend with the experience of a friend of mine who moved to Philly earlier this month. He wrote:
Oh Boy, Philly sports talk radio is awesome. On Monday when I got there they were all celebrating the Phillies -- first time in 14 years that they won the division -- and then by Thursday -- after they lost two games -- they were calling for the manager to be fired! It's hilarious.
And the Eagles...the fans HATE being 1 -3...they have completely given up on the team...there are rumors that both Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb won't be here next year. What do they want then? What would make them happy?
The people here are real nice but these sport fans are morons.
I guess I don’t really have a point in relating that, but it seemed worthy of being shared. With a little research I suppose I could contrast panic-stricken New Yorkers’ views of the Giants at 0-2 and 4-2, but I think we can all figure that out ourselves.
But speaking of New York for a moment, a word regarding the fact-challenged Sabres announcers and their bloody-murder-screaming broadcast the other night, heard courtesy of XM. One stated that “The Caps were 3-0 until they hit New York,” seeming to imply that the crazy, unstoppable NHL powerhouse that is New York state (specifically NYC and Buffalo) was too much for these pretender Capitals to handle. A brief glance at the schedule will reveal, however, that they were actually 2-0 before they “hit New York,” and managed to dispatch the forgotten Islanders (who had recently dispatched the Sabres, who, according to ESPN, were the greatest 0-2 team in history) before this brief 2-game skid. I know the Caps barely register in the minds of haughty Sabre supporters (and if you though you’ve heard homer announcers, you haven’t until you hear a Sabres broadcast), but they could have sweat the details a little (though I see where that could be difficult when you're busy "announcing" a late 5-on-3 powerplay goal for a 7-3 as though it were a Cup-winning score).
Anyway, so much for a 15-1 football season and an 82-0 hockey season. Oh well. With both teams sitting at 3-2, all is far, far from lost. The NFC and the Southeast division (featuring the 0-win Atlanta Thrashers!), are notoriously wide-open. And with our old friends the Arizona Cardinals coming to town, bravely led to their doom by Tim Rattay, what’s not to like? Anybody else miss the days of yore when we could acquaint ourselves with the Cardinals for TWO Sunday afternoons a season? Remember Tom Tupa? He was swell.
We’ve been here before, being briefly teased with utter magnificence before a brutal day or two threatened to take away our ‘tism momentum. Look back to June, when things were really turning around for the Nats and 9-25 was on the fast track to being a distant memory. Then when the Detroit Tigers came to town. Then, eventually, the Nationals got back on the relative track and continued on their critic-and-expectation-busting season. The same can happen again.
It starts this weekend, as we wipe away the memories of the one previous.