As the Capitals, were unceremoniously excused from the playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens,I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect back on the regular season. Not in terms of wins or losses (Ed does a phenomenal job of that) but rather my experiences as a rookie season ticket holder.
I went to four or five games during the 2008-2009 season, and dealt with a great ticket agent, for all but one of those games. The one exception was Penguins tickets that were a gift from my wife.
After we got to know each other a bit and he could see my level of passion for the Caps, he kept trying to get me to buy season tickets and I kept declining, thinking I wouldn’t be able to afford them. To his credit he kept pushing and after he laid out the options it made more sense for me to do it than to not.
I had always wanted to be a season ticket holder for something. I’d thought about the Ravens but that’s only 10 games not 43 (including preseason in both cases). The Caps have a monthly payment plan as opposed to having to pay everything up front. There is no PSL either. Not to mention hockey being my favorite sport, it was a no-brainer.
For me the season started with the Capitals Convention. The first (of what I hope becomes an annual event) was held at the beautiful, Gaylord Convention Center at National Harbor, a place so new it didn’t even come up on my Garmin. This was a fantastic event, and the few minor complaints I had, I’m sure will be ironed out in time for the second one.
Opening night was next. The Caps opened with a victory in Boston, before coming home to play the Maple Leafs. I went with my wife and a close friend and enjoyed the 6-4 victory. It was really cool sitting in seats I knew where mine for the entire season.
The annual season ticket holder party, came about a week into the season. This event alone was enough to make me want to renew my tickets.
The best part of the season for me, was the bonding time I got with my son. He will be seven in a couple of weeks. My wife and I took him to his first Caps game ever, the 11/1 tilt versus the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was a bit apprehensive at first but started to get into it by the end of the game.
As the season progressed, he became very vocal. He did all the cheers and high fived people when the Caps scored. He has become a fan now. His favorite players are Nick Backstrom and Mike Knuble. He watches NHL on the Fly without me being home.
My ticket agent, gave me a picture of Ovechkin with the MVP trophy, and a piece of the net in which he scored his 65th goal during the 07-08 season. My son was given a framed mini jersey signed by Nick Backstrom.
Drew used this quotation from Ted Leonsis in one his blogs recently.
Leonsis: “Suddenly, when the Redskins (win) on Sunday, Monday there’s a happy day in Washington D.C….that our team has been doing so well. And I think that’s a big responsibility. I don’t just want (the Caps) to make the playoffs. I don’t even want our team just to win a Stanley Cup. I want to make millions and millions of lifelong memories between fathers and sons and mothers and daughters. I want immortality for our team. Nothing brings a city closer together than a winning sports team.
This is exactly the feeling I have about going to games, practices, appearances involving the Caps. I want those kinds of memories with my son. I never bonded with my dad over…well… anything really. I want to be able to look back and talk about how great the team was and how cool it was to meet Mike Knuble at ESPN Zone, etc. We’re well on our way to having those memories. Thanks to guys like Ted Leonsis, George McPhee, and all the great players.
On the final day of the season, we were permitted into the penalty box to watch the pregame warmups. We got to meet Wes Johnson. Along withbeing a great PA announcer, he seems like a genuinely nice guy. Before he had to start prepping for the game he spoke to Parker for a couple of minutes, and took a photo with him.
So even though, the end of the season was disappointing, overall it ranks right there with some of the best times of my life.