The name Clinton can hardly be mentioned without arousing political divisiveness. Odds are, you either like Bill and Hillary very much or you hate them very much. It’s just symbolic of the culture of corrosive gridlock that has eaten at our capital city since Perot first gifted the Clintons a turn in the White House in 1992. The Clinton Curse I’m talking about here isn’t political though; it’s about sports and could easily be called The Clinton Coincidence.
I’ve always loved sports. Admittedly, as I grew up and began to understand the business aspect and how the loyalty from team and athlete was to the dollar and not their fans, my passion for “my” teams has diminished. Still, I love the strategy and the pressure to perform that is required of the successful competitor and success, when not measured in money, is something that has eluded DC’s sports teams.
The 2014 Washington Nationals just completed a fantastic season… but they got bumped off last night in the first round of the playoffs. This disappointment made me think about the decades-long futility of Washington DC’s major league sports teams.
The Washington Capitals hockey team has had many excellent seasons. But they always end up losing hard-fought playoff series like the Nats did last night in San Francisco.
The Washington Redskins have tried all sorts of ideas to build/buy a winning team. One thing they haven’t that might help is consistency. But, hey, the ‘Skins can be proud in this town because they are the most recent championship team… although the current roster has many who weren’t old enough to go to school when that ring was earned.
And the Bullets/Wizards have been the model of mediocrity — not bad enough to get the first pick in the draft and not good enough to get into the playoffs. When they have managed to participate in the playoffs, no serious observer would say they ever threatened to make the finals of the weaker Eastern Conference that they’re in. The big prize? Pure fantasy.
We do have pro soccer and team tennis organizations that have won multiple titles but, in this nation, at this time, those don’t create much of a ripple in the ocean of sports enthusiasm. Washington DC is a major league city and has champion-caliber fans who deserve big league teams that demonstrate a commitment to winning on par with the fervor of their faithful followers.
In sports, Washington, DC has been a loser since Bill came to town and, although the endurance of The Clinton Curse doesn’t fairly represent the residents, it’s fitting of a city that’s home to our dysfunctional government.