The new Blog School of journalism, of which I am a part, holds that no one should tell fans how to think, feel or act; that all non-offensive reactions to sporting events are basically acceptable, because these are sports after all, and life is essentially meaningless, and we should really be reading Hegel rather than judging each other.
But I’m going to break with the orthodoxy here to tell you something as directly as I can: do not buy a Capitals Presidents’ trophy T-shirt.
I’m on record arguing, in another break with orthodoxy, that you’re crazy if you haven’t enjoyed this Washington regular season, which will likely end as the best in franchise history. If you’re ever going to invest in regular season hockey, then you acknowledge that it has some sort of value. And these Caps have come close to maximizing whatever value it has.
But just a few minutes after the Caps’ clinched their second Presidents’ Trophy on Monday night, these T-shirts went on sale at Verizon Center. And assuming you’re of sober mind, think about what happens next. Either:
1) The Caps win the Stanley Cup, and you will happily run to your local sporting goods stores and buy all manner of clothing commemorating the first major Washington sports title in almost 25 years, depending on how you count D.C. United and Maryland basketball, but now you’re really nitpicking and ignoring the main point, which is that if the Caps win the Stanley Cup, your T-shirt of choice at the parade will not be a Presidents’ Trophy model.
2) The Caps do not win the Stanley Cup. In which case there is something like a minus-357 percent chance that you will ever want to wear a “2016 Presidents’ Trophy” T-shirt in public.
Maybe I’m missing a few other possibilities. That you might want to wear this shirt to first-round games, perhaps. Or that you might wear it every day for the next two weeks, before the playoffs begin. Or that if the Caps lose in the Cup finals, you would still feel kind of okay about this historic season, and would still feel kind of okay wearing a regular season shirt, at least after waiting a few decades for the pain to subside. Or that you’re running out of pajama tops. Or that you just like transferring your dollars to pro sports owners.
But I don’t think these are compelling possibilities. I think you should be pleased with how well this season has gone. I think you should have had a celebratory soda-pop on Monday night. I think this team’s regular season accomplishments should be applauded. But I don’t think anyone should be buying a Presidents’ Trophy T-shirt, unless and until it shows up in the dollar bin. And even then, probably not.
Not that you’re going to listen to me, anyhow.