A D.C. Sports Renaissance

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Doesn’t it seem like it was only a few years ago that sports teams in the District were more a source of embarrassment than of civic pride? Those days seem like a distant memory right about now.

The Wizards and the Capitals aren’t just in the playoffs; it looks as if both may extend their run beyond the second round. With the first playoff-series sweep in franchise history, the Wizards breezed by Toronto and appear to have the advantage over top-seeded Atlanta. The Caps are keeping it more interesting with a seven-game win against the Islanders, and what looks to be a back-and-forth series with the Rangers.

Even the Nationals, who got off to a startlingly rocky start, have turned things around after taking three out of four games in New York against the Mets this weekend. It’s been ten years since baseball returned to the District, and every day it seems like an even greater benefit than any of us imagined at the time.

And potentially besting all three of their more publicized neighbors, D.C. United is tied for first place and off to the best start in franchise history (5-1-2). With the opening of a new stadium in a few years’ time, the team will have an excellent facility in which to continue to set milestones.

Beyond just offering laurels, I want to follow up on a previous column dealing with a college basketball series for some of our local teams: a D.C. Big 6 Tournament. Our neighborhood team, the Georgetown University Hoyas, announced a few weeks ago that they will play the University of Maryland Terrapins in a home-and-home series beginning in the 2016-17 season.

This is great news to be sure, reconnecting the region’s two top men’s college basketball teams for the first time in seven years (and the first time on either’s home court since 1993). But there’s a longer drought that continues. On December 16, 1981, Georgetown beat George Washington 61-48 at the Capital Centre in Landover, behind star senior “Sleepy” Floyd and freshman Patrick Ewing. Since that game, the two neighbors have stayed silent.

Two weeks ago, I introduced a “Sense of the Council” resolution calling for a D.C. Big 6 Tournament. Even before a regional tournament, I think it’s finally time for a “Downtown Game” between the Georgetown Hoyas and the George Washington Colonials. It’s been 35 years since the teams played each other in the District, on December 13, 1980, at McDonough Arena. These two schools, which I’m proud to note are both in Ward 2, would provide their communities and the entire District with a long-overdue reunion.

Let’s hope the good sports vibe happening now extends to a “Downtown Game”; our continuously dominant local World TeamTennis team, the Washington Kastles (who will welcome back Serena Williams this season as they look to win a fifth straight WTT Championship); and to the Washington Redskins.

Go Wizards! Go Caps! Go Nats! Go United! And, most of all, Go D.C.!

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