Windows of Opportunity
As we enter this final weekend of April, it’s a great time to be a (Shenandoah University)Hornet! The brand new Events Center gets closer to completion each day , Women’s Lacrosse has a shot at getting into the ODAC tournament this weekend, and the national number-one ranked SU baseball team can earn it’s 4th straight ODAC tourney top-seed honor with at least a weekend DH split.
Now, some obligatory words about the NFL Draft, which is happening this weekend. The NFL has done a great job of keeping the excitement level of their league at a peak the entire year. Case in point, the NFL Draft. All over the country people have draft parties, mock drafts, etc. I may be one of the few who just don’t care. I simply find no interest in watching future millionaires in bad zoot suits (look it up) don their future team’s hats and hug the Comish. I will see who the Burgundy & Gold have chosen, but that’s about it. The only draft I will care about this weekend is the kind in my pilsner glass…
On to today’s topic. Windows of opportunity don’t stay open relatively long for sports teams. The days of sports dynasties are long gone. We won’t ever see a title run like the 1960’s Boston Celtics again. Free agency almost insures that once a team wins a championship or 2, key players will bolt for more money. It is hard to get attached to a favorite player knowing that in 2 or 3 years that star will be wearing a different uniform.
That window of opportunity may be starting to close for 2 area teams, the Washington Capitals and Washington Nationals. The Caps, who have never won a Stanley Cup, have won the last 2 NHL President’s Cup Trophies, a symbol of regular-season excellence. However, their post-season failures are well documented. The face of the Capitals franchise is, and has been Alex Ovechkin, but the “Great 8” is running out of time. Ovechkin, who is one of the greatest players to ever put on a hockey sweater, is not getting any younger. He has some exciting stars around him, but certainly free agency and time will take it’s toll at some point. The Capitals have been built to win NOW, before “experience” morphs into “old.”
Same goes for the Nationals, who right now have one of the most prolific offenses in Major League baseball, a pitcher’s nightmare. They, too, have a “face of the franchise” in Bryce Harper. Harper may also be the face of MLB, an almost perfect blend of speed, power, and baseball intelligence. But he will be a free agent after the 2018 season, and this year has been an impressive audition for teams with big checkbooks. As is the case with the Caps, Harper has a great supporting cast, but Ryan Zimmerman is 32, Daniel Murphy is 32, and Jason Werth is 37. The Nats won Division Titles in 2012, 2014, and 2016, but have never won a playoff series. With (maybe) just a few more seasons to have Harper in a Nationals uniform, the time to win is now.
This is a great time to be a DC sports fan. The remote is getting a nightly workout with Capitals playoff hockey, the Nationals off to a 16-6 start, and the young, exciting Wizards in the postseason. Maybe instead of worrying about championships and parades down Constitution Avenue, we should enjoy our successful teams, and be thankful for the time we’ve had to enjoy stars like Harper and Ovechkin.
At the risk of having pollen all over our Lazy-Boys, may the windows of opportunity stay open a while longer.
Until next week, that’s it from the Booth! GO HORNETS!