WHY SPORTS MATTER
For those of you new to this area, this may be a little hard to believe, but Washington D.C. was once a championship city. It was exactly 20 years ago that the Redskins won the Super Bowl, and that’s the last sip of sports Champagne this town has tasted.
The Redskins have fallen on hard times. The Capitals have come close, but Lord Stanley’s Cup has yet to reside in Chinatown. And the Wizards? Lord, don’t get me started. As an aside, let’s just face the fact that team will never be a winner again until it dumps its idiotic nickname and returns to being the Bullets. I know Abe Pollin meant well when he changed the name, but the futility of the “Wizards” speaks for itself.
Which brings us to the Nationals. The Nats have been the doormats of the National League for years, but are off to a good start this year and seem to be (believe it or not) our best immediate hope for the brass ring.
Here’s why that matters. Washington is a very divided area. We are split along political lines, of course. We are also divided by race, income, the Potomac River and the fact that almost everybody here comes from someplace else. What a winning sports franchise does is unite us. Those of you who moved here after 1992 will just have to take my word for it, but when the Redskins were good, the whole city took pride in them. “Hey, how about those ‘Skins” was a greeting that brought broad smiles and handshakes from complete strangers.
This is not unique to Washington, of course. If you want to feel welcomed in, say Boston, just comment favorably on the Red Sox, or at the least, speak of the Yankee with disdain and you will be welcomed with open arms.
Point is, it’s been two long decades since our city had a team that made us feel as one. That’s too long. Sports is more than just a pastime, it can be the glue that hold a community together. So go Nats, because that glue is a Core Value.