Two of the newest arrivals to the strange and wonderful world of Washington sports appeared ready Tuesday night for the upcoming spring playoff season, that magical time when both the famous and the anonymous from around the entire region rally together as one, in a spirit of hopefulness and togetherness and irrational sanguinity, before ultimately bathing in a salad bowl of disappointment whilst every sensitive fiber of their collective being is finely shredded into a well-dressed slaw of pain. With mayo. And maybe some celery salt.
But before that comes optimism and a pleasant spirit of communal, mayo-free faith! That’s the fun part!
And so there was new Redskins quarterback Alex Smith — in advance of a scheduled meet and greet with fans this week at FedEx Field — sitting courtside at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night as the Wizards handled the Celtics to finally head into the postseason with a modicum of good cheer.
Smith sat with Monumental Sports partner Roger Mody, in front-row seats awfully close to the Wizards bench, allowing him to shake hands with Washington’s second best passer at the conclusion of the game.
He visited the victorious locker room, too, home to at least one lifelong Redskins fan in Mike Scott, and at least two ardent Cowboys fans in Wall and Markieff Morris. ‘Twas a fitting welcome to the Washington market, to be honest.
Smith also made an appearance on the big screen, not long before the Wizards began rallying from an early deficit. And no, this would not be the right time for a joke about his own regular season success seguing into playoff hiccups, because this Wizards regular season was not a success, so the analogy doesn’t work and you can save your snarky comments for, like, three weeks from now.
Meanwhile, across town at almost the exact same moment, Nationals Manager Dave Martinez was donning a Capitals hat, because there, at least, is a Washington club that can advance beyond the first round, except whoops I forgot we’re supposed to be shelving the snarky comments for now. Community togetherness and optimism and all that.
And hey, it was also quite a night for the Nats, what with Stephen Strasburg following up on Max Scherzer’s domination of the Braves with some dominating of his own.
The night felt very much in keeping with early April Washington tradition. This, after all, is the time of copious wins, of Paul Pierce banging on the glass in his Caps jersey, and the Caps wearing playoff gear inspired by the Nats, and the Nats taking group outings to Caps playoff games, and Thomas Boswell attempting to slay the D.C. Sports Troll, and Barry Trotz striving bravely to rally the entire civic enterprise out of its recent postseason malaise with just a few words of hope and courage.
“It’s going to be contagious, I’m telling you,” Trotz said in, uh, 2015. “It’ll affect all the sports.”
Now the playoffs are starting again. Television anchors will wear jerseys and scarves and hats, and well-intentioned fans will wonder if Washington’s luck might change, and various athletes will offer various messages of crosstown support, and so here was a perfect start: the football quarterback rooting on the playoff-bound basketball team; the baseball manager shouting out the playoff-bound hockey team, and all of you either imagining good things to come or steeling yourself against the pending heartbreak or just watching “Chopped” to see whether one could make an effective slaw out of jackfruit mousse and smoked almonds.
(That was a lot of unnecessary words. You try to make a blog post out of two photographs.)
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