Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don't matter, and those who matter, don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss
Girls just wanna have fun ~ Cyndi Lauper
Make some fun, happy time ~ Alex Ovechkin

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Welcome - Please Take Your Seats

Now that the Washington Capitals are moving onto the second round of the playoffs, they are finally garnering enough regular media attention to attract even more new fans. Fans that would have been singing “Hail to the Redskins”, if there was anything about the Redskins to sing about. Lots of faithful fans are now moaning “Ugh, bandwagoners”. It’s okay, faithful fans, everybody has to start somewhere. But, newbies, there are rules you need to adhere to, rules the faithful fans follow, rules that if you don’t know them, will make you stand out like a sore thumb.

So, to help you fit in, here are a few things the faithful would like you to know when you are lucky enough to gets seats to a hockey game at Verizon Center or even if you are just one of the hundreds of Caps fans on Twitter:

The team’s owner is Ted Leonsis; or Uncle Ted as we call him. He is NOT Dan Snyder, please treat him with a little respect. He welcomes you to the fold, appreciate that and save your bitching for Dan. Follow him on Twitter (@TedLeonsis) and soak in the love.

When people talk about rocking the red, we really do mean it. Wear red to the game. Really.

Hockey fans are a very superstitious bunch. Do not mention “shutout” before the game is over. Even if there is only 30 seconds left in the game, nothing is guaranteed before the final horn blows, so shut your yaps and keep your fingers crossed.

There are other players on this team besides Alex Ovechkin. Yes, we all love Ovi, but learn who the other players are. You don’t need to learn every nuance of their position, but if you only cheer when Ovi has the puck, the faithful around you at Verizon Center will recognize you for the newbie you are.

DO NOT lean forward in your seat, unless you are seated in the back row. I know it’s tempting, but if you catch yourself doing it, please sit back. Leaning forward really does block the view of the people behind you.

Obey the puck in play rule. Yes, I know, when you gotta go, you gotta go; but wait for a whistle or timeout. Hockey moves so fast, the one split second you stand up and start moving down the row of seats is when a goal may be scored or a penalty occurs, and the rest of us paid good money to see it, so WAIT!

Please remove any large obnoxious head gear when seated at the game. Yeah, giant puck hats are funny, but when not when they block your view. Take them off, or better yet, don’t buy them at all.

DO NOT start or participate in the wave. EVER. Period.

DO NOT boo our team. EVER. Period.

Please be classy and do not bitch to other fans. Most likely, you’ll come off looking stupid, so stifle it. Most of us really love our team and really really really do not want to hear it. Save your rant for the ride home. Thank you.

There are 2 guys you need to know about: Horn Guy (@TheHornGuy) and Load Goat (@LoudGoat). Just chant along when you hear the rest of us chant at their prompting. Learn their sound/voice because there are a few wannabe’s in the crowd (who really need to leave it to the experts but can’t seem to STFU), and if you follow their prompting, you’ll look like a rube.

Be prepared to Unleash the Fury in the third period. Stand up and unleash it loud and proud. It’s a tradition and our trademark and every fans’ obligation to encourage our boys down on the ice. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Your homework before the second round starts is to search it on YouTube.

DO NOT leave early, even if the game is so lopsided you figure you might get a jump on the crowds at the Metro. Our guys came to play a full 60 minutes, the least you can do is show your support and hang in there with them. Besides, you’ll miss seeing our guys salute us when the game is over, which really makes you feel appreciated for your support. If you can’t handle that, please sell your tickets to me.

Finally, it's ok to ask questions to fans around you or to people on Twitter. We really do want you to understand the game and we are more than happy to share our infinite wisdom with you! Too shy? Then follow and read the great hockey blogs you see listed over there on the right side of this page, anything you want to know you can find there. Remember the old adage: knowledge is power.

So, newbies, welcome to the fold…Any questions?


  1. oh, man, this is GREAT! should be required reading. i wonder if we can get this printed out and passed out on the way into the VC every game.

  2. Its OK to boo if the boys put up a stinker of an effort.

  3. Sorry Anonymous, I'm gonna stick to my statement: DO NOT boo our team. EVER. Period.
    No matter how much of a stinker of an effort.

  4. Agreed, Caps_Girl. Booing our boys in red is unacceptable in any circumstance.

  5. I was at Game 7 in 2009 when Caps got blown out of VC by Penguins (my first playoff game ever, but I've been to many regular season games), thought it was incredibly classy of everyone to cheer for the Caps and not boo and standing ovation at the end was really nice.

  6. Sorry, I agree with everything but if you pay for your seat you have a right to Boo.

    I have only Booed at select times. Once after yet another failed power play in which the caps failed to register a shot in game 7 vs Montreal and the other I can remember was the 7-0 beating which I actually almost left the game before It was over... (maybe 4 years ago?)

    As for the Pens game 7 where we did not show up... I was part of the standing Ovation because I felt it was the best series I've ever watched. However, if we would have been knocked out 4-0 and did nothing, that would be another story.

  7. Yes, fans wear red, now. I do too when I go to the games. But that's a new phenomenon. So if you have an old school Caps home jersey from back in the day (mine, Alan May, white), that will be fine, don't let anyone tell you differently. Showing you've been a fan for a long time, and been through a lot more misery than many is a badge of honor. (insert Mike Fornes call here)
    And yes, be respectful of those around you, agreed. But if you want to start a chant, go for it, you paid handsomely for your seats and if you want to cheer, cheer it up. You don't have to take a cue from any other fan. LET'S GO CAPS!

  8. I kinda equate the non-booing with the job. Caps job is hockey, if you had a bad day at work, would you want to be booed? Not every game or even every shift can be 100%, gotta take the good with the bad and show your support regardless. So still gonna stick with my do not boo rule.

  9. As for the chanting (thekCshow), I was actually dissing the posers and trying to give a shout out to Horn Guy and Goat. I yell Let's Go Caps myself, but I don't expect to lead a chant.
    And retro white jersey (of which I have as well) is great, still has red. I'm addressing the newbies, not us diehards.

  10. The only thing I don't like about this post is the part regarding The Horn Guy and Goat. I don't think it should be viewed as they are the only guys who can lead and start a chant at a game.

  11. Well, can't please everyone, right? But thanks for reading, Anonymous.

  12. Saying that people should only do/start cheers when the horn guy or goat starts them is downright asinine.

  13. I've been on 'the bandwagon' since the team's first game in 1974. This is the dumbest thing I've read all day. First -- newbies: welcome! Enjoy yourselves! Really! You don't have to prove anything to anyone and I think it's AWESOME if you're coming to your first game. Some good advice: Don't lean forward, don't get up when the puck's in play, be mindful of funny head gear. Also: hockey, like all sports, has hundreds of rules. Try and get down icing and off sides, then enjoy the natural rhythm as it emerges in front of you -- the rest will follow. Trust me. Above all: have fun!

    As for the rest of this: Ted, booing, the goats and horn guys? Whatever. You want to boo, boo. You want to think Ted is more often full of cotton candy (sugar, air, and SPIN!) than substance? Fine. (He is.) I don't recall goat or horn guy back in the 70's. WHEN someone joins in is irrelevant. THAT they join, and bring their natural energy, is what's important.

    This ISN'T the Redskins: there is no 'A' lists and "acceptable" ways of being a "fan" like this implies.

  14. Jeremy, not trying to imply there is an A list or acceptable way to be a Caps fan, just some "tips" for newbies who are just now getting into the Caps. Dumb? Maybe, but so what?

  15. First, thanks for the bit about leaning. I think it is one of the most annoying habits ever, especially the people who get all sanctimonious when you ask them to lean back. In general, I think your points are solid. I would argue with wearing red - I love my older (late 90s) style white jersey which I wear occasionally.

    My big argument is your point about booing. I realize that it is your opinion, and you are welcome to never boo if you want, but don't tell other people that they shouldn't. You mention that you wouldn't want to get booed at work, but at work, I'm sure you get some sort of feedback on the work you do. As paying customers (clients) fans have only one avenue to express their displeasure with the players: booing. This is not some sort of youth soccer league where every special snowflake gets a trophy and every player needs to be told how great they are constantly.

  16. Hate to point this out, but fans from back in the Capital Centre days will tell you that starting/ doing the "wave" is just fine. Sorry it doesn't meet with your "don't be a newbie" expectations.

    I definitely agree with your leaning/puck-in-play remarks.

    I would also add in "don't be a drunk and spill your drink on the people in front of you (or on their belongings." In 3 playoff home games, I've seen instances of over-inebriation in 2 of them so far, and after Saturday's game, I needed to wash my backpack and my jacket because the guy behind me evidently was dropping his almost-empties behind my seat and the residue got everywhere.

    Not to mention that you should avoid kicking the back of the seat in front of you (and if you have children, make sure they don't kick the seats). More importantly, don't kick/knee the head of the person in front of you.


    J/K, good work. Been a Caps fan for a long long time and I do boo from time to time, but that is a personal preference. Since I no longer live in the DC area most of my booing is done at home from the couch, along with the occasional wtf-ing, why-ing, and NOOOOOOOO-ing


  18. When I first started reading your post, I was nodding in agreement, but as I reread it, I tend to agree with Jeremy. While I applaud your effort to educate new fans, its posts like this that can make new fans possibly not want to come out or even support the team.

    I'm sure that there have been a few times over the years (going back to Save The Caps and beyond) that I might have booed the Caps during a game, but at the end I will always stand and cheer for them. Yes, it annoys me that when the team asks fans to Rock the Red, that Caps fans will show up in something else, but it's not worth getting upset about.

    Jeremy hit the nail on the head - the Caps are not the Redskins and people who attend Caps games, while there is some crossover, are not people who attend Redskins games. As to Anonymous' point about booing at work, if people paid $75 to watch me work, $7 for a beer and $115 for a replica of my jersey and they weren't happy with my performance, I would expect them to boo.

  19. Good comments all, sorry I can't address every single one. Didn't mean to push anyone's buttons, obviously some of these "tips" hit close to home. Let's just all agree to disagree, ok? After all, everyone is entitled to their opinions, even me. Thanks

  20. But what if my opinion is more valid then yours? ;) I did not mean my comment as an attack or as an attempt to invalidate your opinion, just expressing mine. I liked your post ;)

  21. My comments were not meant as an attack and I'm certainly not a hater. You're showing your passion for the Caps and game experience and I appreciate that. My concern is, why do you get to set the rules? You're 100% right on part of your post when it comes to general game courtesy, but as much as you (or I) don't want the wave being done at a game, I would never tell someone that they couldn't do it.

  22. Not a Caps fan, but very well done.

  23. I agree, no booing; better to show your displeasure with silence, or cheer for the team anyway and hope it fires them up. And the wave just doesn't belong in hockey. (Neither does chanting De-Fense on the penalty kill, IMO.)

  24. Though this post was written as advice, I took it differently. I've lived in the area and watched the Caps on and off since the 80s. It was frustrating, and after the 98 cup run, I struggled to maintain my passion for the team.

    With my sons, 10 and seven, I've created the habit of watching the games together. It has been fun to have an exciting team and to celebrate them together. To see and cheer for players who are committed to excellence, to ownership and management who have earned and deserver respect.

    But when I took the older boy to his first game(last year's game when Ovi got his 50th goal and Backstrom his 100th point on the same play against Atlanta.), the experience was entirely unique and different from the experience I had going to games in the late 90s, early 2000s. And what a wonderful experience it is. For me this blog explain was like a set of common no-nos for any fan of hockey, mixed with the unique interesting quirks of going to a Caps game, in this era.

    Thanks for the post!

    Just FYI, last year we also lucked into tickets for game 2 against Montreal (overtime comeback win, wow). I promised that if they made the second round we'd go see them again. Gonna have to keep that promise.