Wednesday, September 22, 2010


As I've posted previously, making the trip down to Kettler is a bit more than a short trip on the Metro. So when I found myself with a day off yesterday, I decided to keep my 8 month old son home from daycare, brave the Tuesday morning traffic and make the trip down to watch the Caps practice and scrimmage. Let's just say it was an eye-opening morning.

I almost always head down to the far end of the rink. I'm not sure why, but for me I like to just sit quietly and watch practice (and take some mental notes). Plus, there is usually plenty of free space along the glass for my son to sit and watch the players lights and colors move around quickly, making banging noises along the way. Upon sitting down, I noticed I was near a bunch of fathers with their young children (10 months to a couple years old). Unbeknownst to me, I had ventured into (wait for it)...


Apparently, there is some online listserv for stay-at-home dads in the Arlington area. They look for interesting, time killing things to do throughout the day to stay sane keep their kids active and yesterday was Kettler day. They introduced themselves to me and explained the culture around being a stay-at-homer. Some had lost their jobs, others had households where mom was the breadwinner. Either way, they were Mr. Mom and, being guys, were a bit bored of the options on PBS and the Disney Channel.

This is where it gets weird: they had no idea about Kettler. One of them 'stumbled' upon the rink when his kids wanted to ride the elevators on a trip to the mall. One kid hit G8 and POOF! ice rinks. They knew absolutely nothing about hockey, the Caps, or what was going on. One guy admitted he didn't understand what the players were doing and had always made fun of hockey, but the kids liked it so why not come watch.

"Who do these guys skate with?"
The Caps.
"All of them? I don't know any of their names, but this looks like a lot of people."
It's training camp. Some are THE Caps, some are trying to show the coaches they deserve a spot.
"So where would the others go?"
Canadian Juniors, college, or the minor leagues in Hershey or South Carolina.
"OH! Hey guys! This guy says the ones that don't make it go to Hershey!"
"In Pennsylvania!? Wow!"

It went on that way for a while. After explaining the game and the team a half dozen times, I came to a rather startling realization:

Not everyone in the area Rocks The Red. They're not hockey fans, fair-weather or otherwise. They don't care about the Caps, know who Mike Green or Alex Ovechkin are (I had to point out who 'the good one' was), and could care less about learning. There are just some people who aren't ever going to be on board. So cherish the Caps. Spread the word, educate the masses and sell as many people as you can on how great hockey is.

And if that doesn't work, just tell them there's a place where their kids can ooh and aah when grown men hit each other. And it's free.


  1. don't know much about hockey, but enjoyed the read nevertheless. hockey sure does have their diehard fans. hehe

  2. Hockey is one of those things that can't be appreciated until it's seen up close. It doesn't look as fast or physical as it is on TV. A Caps practice is a great place to take it in... you'll pick the game up pretty quickly, even if you don't know all the rules already.