So I dutifully clicked through, and was taken to this page, which told me I was invited to Redskins Training Camp.

“Get your FREE Training Camp Invitation!” that page said. “Fill out the form below, print out the invitation and bring it with you to training camp.”

And then more: “Don’t forget: Print out the invitation and bring it with you to Training Camp!”

There were several “required fields” on this form, including first and last names, daytime phone number, mailing address and e-mail address, plus a chance to win some prizes by joining the season ticket wait list. “It's FREE to Join the Waitlist!” I was reminded.

Now, the use of “required fields” is actually a pretty strange thing, since it turns out that you don’t need this invitation at all. I asked a team official, who said fans can just show up if they want to attend practices, and some of my online users said that’s very much the case.

@dcsportsbog i went on Saturday without an invite. no one was taking them/asking for them.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyThomas Humphries

@dcsportsbog I brought the invite yesterday and the gatekeepers said I didn’t need it...there’s hardly any fans showing up right nowless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyDrew Somerville

@dcsportsbog Went yesterday. Printed the invitation beforehand just in case, but kept it in the pocket the whole time... it wasn’t necessaryless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplySteve Siclari

@dcsportsbog Yep and I dont know why they just sent me a invite via email lol No one at the park asks for itless than a minute ago via Tweet Button Favorite Retweet Replydino

So I’m sure there’s a great reason for e-mailing fans about free invitations, reminding them repeatedly to print these invitations out, and including “required fields” on these invitations which are not necessary to attend a camp that has been sparsely attended. I’m sure the Capitals missed a huge opportunity by opening the doors to fans for their development camp scrimmage and failing to request not-actually-reqiured required e-mail addresses at the door. I’m sure this makes much more sense than just e-mailing people your team’s schedule and reminding them that they can go for free, without any paperwork of forms or e-mail addresses or waiting list offers.