“Get in the car!!!” Jon DePompa wrote to his friend Jason on Twitter Saturday afternoon, near the end of Game 2 of this Caps-Rangers series.
“It’s go time,” Jason responded several minutes later, with a photo of his car radio. Before long, the Caps scored in overtime, giving them a 2-0 series lead. “Don’t doubt the car bit,” Jason wrote in triumph, attaching a photo of his car radio display showing that 1-0 final score.
See, Jason — a 35-year old government contractor who lives near Leesburg — has maintained a running gag with some friends for more than a year, involving the Caps and his car radio. It started during last year’s playoffs, when bad traffic forced Jason to listen to several postseason games while driving home from the District. Every time he listened in his car, it seemed, the Capitals won. Every time he watched comfortably from home, they lost.
“One game I was listening in the car; I came inside after second period, and the other team scored,” he recalled on Monday. “I was like ‘Well, the hell with this.’ So I left, got back in the car, and listened to the rest of the game in my car in my driveway.”
It’s only crazy if it doesn’t work, right?
“Listening to the game in my car pays off again,” he wrote last April 30, after a 3-2 Caps win over the Rangers. “As stupid as I feel in my driveway I’ll continue to watch this way until it don’t work.”
“Not even getting out of the car for intermissions,” he wrote last May 9, when the Caps beat the Rangers to force a Game 7.
He wasn’t planning on bringing back the gimmick this spring, but then circumstances forced him to listen to Game 1 in his car. The Caps won. After DePompa’s late request during Game 2, Jason’s 2013 car record moved to 2-0. He watched Games 3 and 4 on television, and the Caps lost both. Game 5 was played during Friday night’s raging storm, so Jason stayed inside, but turned off the TV and listened on the radio. The Caps won. Sunday was Mother’s Day, so he tried to act like a normal person and watch the game on television. The Caps lost.
“Now we’re at Game 7, and I’ve already made plans,” Jason told me Monday morning. “I’ll probably get home around 6. I’ll get comfortable. I’ll probably have some dinner, get the cooler ready. And then I’ll head outside.”
He has a GMC Acadia, which he said is a great vehicle for driveway sports listening, even if it doesn’t have all the comforts of home.
“Obviously when I’m driving I don’t do a whole bunch [besides listen],” he said. “If I actually just camp out, I’ll sit in the driveway with a couple of beers and listen. Nobodys allowed to come out and talk to me or be in the car; that would throw everything out of whack.”
Obviously. And because Jason happened to be listening to the away team’s broadcast on SiriusXM the first time this gag worked, he has stuck with that method. As much as he likes John Walton’s work, he plans to tune into the Rangers feed on Monday night.
“It actually brings joy to listen to them dejected when the Caps score,” he noted. “It makes it that much more enjoyable.”
I know Jason’s last name, but he requested that I not use it, so that he would not appear insane. Still, I had to ask him whether he actually believes it matters whether he watches a hockey game on a sofa, or listens to the same game from the front-seat of his SUV.
“If I say yes, I sound like a crazy person,” he answered. “But, ummm. Yes. Yeah. It’s enough of a thought or a doubt in my mind that I’m not going to mess with the forces that could possibly be leading to the outcome. So I’m sticking with it.”