Column: The tragic narrative of a D.C. sports fan

Ryan McFadden, Sports Editor

For anyone who doesn’t know me, I’m a native of Prince George’s County, Maryland which is at the heart of the Washington, D.C., Maryland and the Virginia area, or what we like to call back home the “DMV.”

I have grown accustomed to the delightful taste of mumbo sauce, the sounds of go-go music and breathtaking sights of various museums and memorials that makes up the District of Columbia. At the same time, I have developed a deep love for the professional sports teams that represents the DMV on a daily basis.

It all started when my parents took me to see my first ever Washington Wizards game in 2002. The Wizards ended up losing to the Milwaukee Bucks, but that game left an important mark in my life. I had the opportunity to witness Michael Jordan, who was nearing the end of his remarkable basketball career, and it was the day I officially became a D.C. sports fanatic.

Leaving the MCI Center, which is now called Capital One Arena, my innocent yet joyous four-year-old self didn’t realize being a D.C. sports fan meant enduring years of heartache and turmoil.

Describing 16 years of being a D.C. sports fan in writing could end up as long as the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” book, so I’ll try my best to keep it within the confines of a traditional sports column.

It’s been 20 years since a D.C. sports team have made it to a conference finals. The Washington Redskins are the last championship team as they won the Super Bowl in 1991, a time when “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” was in theaters and Michael Jackson’s iconic song “Black and White” at the top of the charts.

The Wizards haven’t won an NBA Finals since 1977, while the Washington Capitals and Nationals are still seeking a championship banner to raise in the rafters.

I’ve seen LeBron James carve through the Wizards’ in four straight NBA playoffs, the Nationals choke in the NLDS despite being World Series favorites and the Washington Capitals dominate the regular season only to fall flat in April.

It doesn’t matter if it’s the Wizards or Capitals — each D.C. sports team seems to follow the same formula, which is to build its fan base hopes up then crush it in the worst way possible. Each team has shown its capability to win games and go to the postseason. However, getting past the first or second round has been the greatest mystery.

I can’t forget the outrageous front office decisions (i.e. signing Albert Haynesworth and trading for Donovan McNabb) by the Redskins, which have made fans want the heads of general manager Bruce Allen and owner Daniel Snyder.

The Wizards are guilty of the same thing. The night Wizards’ general manager Ernie Grunfeld decided to pick Jan Vesely over Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson in the 2011 NBA Draft has forever scarred me.

The Nationals and Capitals are the only teams that has given fans a glimpse of hope, yet their playoff struggles has kept D.C. sports stuck in mediocrity.

No matter the amount of headaches the Redskins, Wizards or Nationals give me, I still wear my Bradley Beal and Michael A. Taylor jersey proudly around Iona College.

Just like the Redskins fans that fill up FedEx Field every Sunday and the fans who sing “Take on Me” during the seventh inning stretch at Nationals Park, I still believe.

To contact The Ionian’s Ryan McFadden, email him at [email protected]