As you may have read earlier over at Capitals Insider, the NHL and HBO’s 24/7 are teaming up to create “a four-episode all-access series on the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins leading up to this year’s Winter Classic on New Year’s Day” following the success of their Hard Knocks series. Whether you love or hate the idea, you have to admit that this could get interesting seeing all the behind-the-scenes for the NHL’s annual event. And while you might not know me personally, this will make things in my house even more interesting than they already are. Allow me to explain, for HBO should come do a series on my household.
|Exhibit A: Sweaters|
While some say that the Capitals and Penguins are not actual rivals (come on, you’ve all heard reasons people use to justify this: They’re not even in the same division; The only rivalry between these two teams is the one the Media (or Gary Bettman) created; The Caps don’t have a storied enough history to have rivals; blah-blah-blah), to me – it’s a huge rivalry. Why? Well, 2 years ago, I married a Penguins fan. Now before you click the little x in the top right corner of the screen to leave this page or skip straight to the comments section to call me a traitor, let me explain. We have a great relationship, and he’s actually a really good guy. We play on the same co-ed softball team (which is actually how we met), we both live and breathe Notre Dame Football, and we’re probably the only 2 Mets fans living in Central Pennsylvania. Oh and that other major thing we have in common? We’re both ridiculously loyal Hershey Bears fans. In fact, our season tickets lay out our “date-nights” for at least (and I say at least because we all know how the playoffs have gone for the Bears over the past few years – with the exception of 2008… that was bad) 40 nights a year. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s rare enough to find another hard-core hockey fan, especially an AHL/Bears fan that also lives for the Fighting Irish and likes to see a gigantic apple pop out of a top hat in center field. When you weigh the pros and the cons, surely, his Pens-fandom is a small price to pay for such a wonderful husband…
When the Caps were struggling a few years back, he thought it was kind of “cute.” He’d say supportive things like “you know, the Pens were really bad a few years ago, I know how it feels” or “don’t worry, with all the talent we have down here in Hershey (this was during that 05-06 season, the first year of the new affiliation), they’ll get better in time.” Then the Caps did get better… and stronger… and faster… and more talented. Now we have issues (not marital issues, just hockey issues). I despise Crosby and he despises Ovechkin. I make fun of Penguins fans because they have to supply shirts to them in order to get them to all wear the same color to a game and he makes fun of Capitals fans for jumping on the bandwagon and not being able to name anyone not wearing #’s 8, 19, & 28. As I’m sure you’ve experienced in your own life, the list could go on and on – and while this is a big year for both teams because of the Winter Classic, this is also a big year for us.
|Exhibit B: Fleury framed photo|
Last month my husband was awarded first shift at his job for the first time for as long as I can remember. All this time, I’ve been watching Caps games in the comfort of my living room on my beautiful big-screen Sony Bravia while he’s been at work. He’d set the DVR for the flightless fowl games and watch them at midnight when he got home. We both got to watch what we wanted without having to deal with watching each other’s teams. It was fantastic. Now that he’s going to be home, we’ve already begun fighting over who gets to watch their team on the big-screen and who’s banned to the bedroom and the season hasn’t even begun yet! We can’t even look each other in the eye without arguing on days when the Caps and Pens play each other, and if gets bad enough, one of us is sent to our favorite local bar, Champions, and the other stays home and watches the game. Add these issues to the ones we already had, and this will make for one interesting season.
On top of that, we’re moving into our new house at the end of October. It has a finished basement, which in most houses becomes a Sports Haven. The arguments of what is being hung up/displayed where have already begun. I want my Capitals plaque signed by Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin, & Green prominently displayed. He wants his framed Fleury “from in the net”picture prominently displayed. I want to hang up my pictures of myself posing with Quintin Laing and Braden Holtby and he wants to use that wall to put a shelf for his Fleury and Malkin Bobbleheads. I can’t turn anywhere without being surrounded by his Pens blanket, a “Lemieux Drive” road sign, his Brooks Orpik pint glass, a Eric Goddard autographed card… I could go on for days…
|Exhibit C: T-Shirts|
Should we talk about one of the spare closets? The Penguins jerseys and Capitals jerseys must be separated by the Bears practice jersey. Also along the line of fashion, he’s been trying to throw away a few of my t –shirts and I his for quite some time too.
So whenever you think about the rivalry and about how much you enjoy or hate the hype surrounding it or dislike the Penguins fans, think of me. I know I chose my own path, but I still think I deserve some sympathy (and he seems to think that he dose as well).