What a Wonderful Washington Weekend!

It is a great weekend to live in Washington…

Stanley Cup Celebrations Continue — From bars in Arlington to today’s game at National Park to the Georgetown Waterfront, the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals are having a great time celebrating the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship with the hometown fans.  While I was across the country when they clinched on Thursday evening, I could hear the city explode from Phoenix. We’re ALL CAPS here in D.C. It was an especially satisfying run, given 1) that they weren’t expected to go very deep due to losses of players to the expansion draft, and 2) that they got through a couple of perennial stumbling blocks:  John (Torts) Tortorella of the Columbus Blue Jackets and—most significantly—the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Too bad Martin St. Louis—who was always a playoff pest—no longer plays for Tampa Bay.

If you want another thrill, watch the highlights from the cup-clinching game.

Pride 2018 Celebration — Thousands have descended on DC this weekend for the annual Pride celebration.  Andrew almost always makes it to Pride, but because of singing commitments out-of-town, he’s only able to attend Sunday’s festival.  (Work can be such a bummer sometimes!)  I have a number of friends and colleagues who are enjoying this celebration of diversity in the DC capital, and I suspect the good times are rolling.

Politics and Prose Member Sale — Several times a year, our wonderful independent bookstore, Politics and Prose , holds a big members sale…and it just happened to be this weekend.  So after our traditional Saturday morning farmers’ market visit and pastries at Tout de Sweet, we headed into town for the sale.

Candice was much more methodical in her research than I had been.  Nevertheless, I had a few titles in mind, and planned to trust my instincts when faced with a decision.

Books from Politics and Prose

Today’s purchases at the Politics & Prose members sale – what a treasure trove!

The books from Educated to the top are Candice’s choices.  Mine go down from there to the recent Pauli Murray biography Jane Crow.  Our summer reading bags are full once again!

And Did I Mention That the Nationals Won — Once the Nats were finished with the pre-game celebrations with the Caps on Saturday, they turned around to beat the San Francisco Giants 7-5, holding on to first place in the National League East.  Adam Eaton returned from the Disabled List and Bryce hit another home run.  Go Nats!

Have a great weekend…wherever you live (but this weekend, it is hard to top D.C.)

More to come…


P.S. — Oh, and not everyone stayed in Washington this weekend…that’s not a bad thing.

My New Favorite Off-Season Sport, Part II

In late January, I wrote a post about the Washington Capitals and how their exciting brand of play was making hockey my new favorite off-season sport.   A play last night by Alex Ovechkin – the “Great 8” – just solidified that feeling.

First some background as to how I came to watch an entire hockey game uninterrupted at home.  Candice and Andrew were out while I was battling both a computer with a virus and a head cold, both of which came from my teenagers.  As for the computer, I normally have my laptop with me as I watch TV sports but Claire was using it last night. On Monday  Andrew had ventured off on the home computer into web sites where viruses lurk, and so we were down one computer waiting to get it debugged.  The head cold came, on the other hand, from Claire’s recent sickness.   I finally decided to just give in, curl up on the couch, and watch the entire Caps vs. Canadiens game.

And what a great decision that was!  After a wide open first period ended in a 2-2 tie, the Caps had to score in the final two minutes of the 3rd period to even the score.  Then after a scoreless overtime, the Caps won in a shootout.

The game was exciting enough, but as a bonus it included one of Alex Ovechkin’s classic goals.  In the first period, Ovechkin took the puck near center ice, banked it against the boards to his left, did a 180 degree turn to his right to avoid an onrushing player, and then picked up the puck again in the offensive zone.  A Canadiens player rushed him from the side and knocked him down, but as he was sliding on his butt across the front of the goal, Alex kept control of the puck and flipped it up over the goalie.  It was incredible…but of course this morning, Ovechkin was quoted as saying,

“No, normal goal, not sick.  Top 10 probably.  You have to try something new.”

But the Caps coach disagreed.  Quoted in the Washington Post, Bruce Boudreau said,

“I’ve seen that goal about a 1,000 times,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said of “the Goal” scored by Ovechkin from his back in 2006. “But [this one] was as amazing a goal as I’ve ever seen.”

As I expected, someone had it on You Tube by this morning.  Enjoy it for yourself.

More to come…


My New Favorite Off-Season Sport

I just realized that I have a new favorite sport for the off-season (i.e., the non-baseball months of the year).  Hockey.  Yes, hockey.  I’m choosing to watch hockey games on television instead of basketball (especially given that interminable season that is pro basketball).

And I’m hooked thanks to the Washington Capitals and their superstar Alex Ovechkin, the Great Eight.  (Ovechkin wears #8 on his jersey.)  He’s a terrific talent – fast and strong with a wicked shot – and he has the teammates to support him.

A friend of mine from New Orleans once said Southerners had learned to like hockey because it was the closest legalized sport to cock fighting.  A good line, but the fighting is not what I find intriguing about the sport.   I just watched a game between the top two teams in the Eastern Division of the NHL:  the Capitals and the Boston Bruins.  Although this is just after the All-Star break in the middle of the NHL season, these two teams played at a speed and skill level that was breath-taking.  Incredible puck handling, stop-on-a-dime turns, unbelievable stops by both goalies…this game had all the drama of playoff hockey.  As befitted such a well-played contest between the top two teams, the game went into overtime.  Ovechkin just missed a game winner due to a great stop by Thomas in the Boston goal, and in the ensuing rush up the ice the Capitols took a penalty.  On a bad bounce the Bruins with the power play won in overtime.  Nonetheless, it was a great game no matter your team.

Thomas Boswell, the baseball-loving columnist for the Washington Post, recently wrote a column that explains the appeal of this Capital team.  It ends with:

Sometimes, over the years, the Caps have been sportswriter spinach and fan repellent. And sometimes, they’ve been fun. But they’ve never been a thrill, never been the best show in town, never been the team whose tickets you gave to your family for Christmas. Until now.

It’s a strange new place we find ourselves, to be sure. But we can probably learn to enjoy it.

It is indeed a thrill that I’m enjoying a great deal.

More to come…