“In Washington, though, a certain segment of the fan base has a sense of entitlement, like they are owed something. Maybe that’s an extension of the over-achiever personality that draws so many to D.C. in the first place. For a city that’s main industry is politics and law firms, I guess that’s not too hard to understand. If you’re accustomed to always getting what you want, and what you want is out of your control, I suppose I’d react with anger when I couldn’t get it as well.” — Dave Nichols, District Sports Page
This line is how I exactly feel about today’s D.C. sports fan.
You have three types of fans:
- The Loyal Fans who love the team from their beginning.
- The Casual Fans who love the sport.
- The Bandwagoners who come in when a team start doing something good.
Dave hit on the point that each city has an identity: New York and their arrogance; Philadelphia and their obnoxiousness; Boston and their pride; Chicago and their passion; Los Angeles and their flair. D.C. really didn’t have an identity because our sports teams didn’t do anything even with the Wizards make the playoffs in the mid 2000s with Gilbert Arenas. It was the arrival of Alex Ovechkin the tide was turning for D.C. sports.
D.C. never really had a true superstar since John Riggins in the 80s. When Ovechkin and the Capitals made their first playoff appearance in 2008, it was the start of the Caps bandwagon. The Caps brand of a high-octane offense brought people to their seats. Although it was entertaining and winning accolades, that system has not surpass the second round. Fans felt that if you have accolades and winning in the regular season, it will translate to the playoffs. It doesn’t work that way.
You getting the same feeling with Nationals fans. Loyalists have been through the bottom of the pit to nearly the top of the mountain and bandwagoners are coming in when the team got good in 2012. This year was supposed to be the year the Nationals were to break team records. Instead, they’re a “struggling” around .500 team. Fans have demanded trades, firings, cuts and others in just two months because the Nats didn’t have the hot start like last year and doesn’t meet their “expectations.”
If you tell me what’s D.C. fans identity, entitlement and the thought of power is the likely description. D.C. fans, like politicians and lobbyists, want to have everything and willing to do anything. The problem with fans is although politicians and lobbyists will kiss up and demand to get what they want, teams have to earn the title; you can’t buy it (right, Dan Snyder?). Fans want to buy, not bargain shopping or be resourceful that can extend for a long time. The 1991 Washington Redskins were the prototype of entitlement as they dominated the regular season and dominated the playoffs to win Super Bowl 26. The Redskins have not been relevant since until RGIII came to the scene.
Here’s what I learn about D.C. fans:
- We panic easily if something goes wrong, either if it is sports or inclement weather.
- The most authentic fan base in Washington is D.C. United.
- People want to be part of something special. They just don’t how with it.
I know the D.C. teams are trying their best. Sometimes, their best is not good enough here. The fans here want greatness and dynasties. Patience and reflection are not our greatest virtue. Maybe we need to start develop that.