Growing Up Rooting for Alex Ovechkin

Posted January 12, 2016

(Caps Outsider)

On October 5, 2006, Alex Ovechkin scored his first two NHL goals. I was one month into second grade. 499 goals later, I am less than a month away from being able to get my driver’s license. This is my story of what it has been like to grow up rooting for Alex Ovechkin.

In grade school, the other kids always talked about “Kobe,” “Lebron,” and other names I did not recognize because I was watching Ovi. I always wore my Ovechkin jersey to every game I attended. I ooed and awed after every deke, after every shot. I still do today.

When Ovechkin scored ‘The Goal,’ I had no idea what Wayne Gretzky looked like, but knew who he was and what he did. When Joe B said he was the coach, combined with the look on his face, the 6-year-old me saw the most amazing thing I have seen to this day.

April, 5, 2008. The Caps beat the Florida Panthers to win the Southeast Division. I would finally get my first glimpse of the playoffs. I vividly remember the day. My grandparents gave my dad and I the tickets as birthday presents.

April 11, 2008. Three days before I turn 9. Until the other night, that was the loudest I had ever heard Verizon Center. With under 5 minutes remaining this happened.

“Steals. Holds. Scores…” as it has become known. I had never expected the playoffs to be that intense. In fact, my dad had to explain what would’ve happened had the game gone into overtime.

When Ovechkin did his hot-stick celebration, I was one month away from turning 10. I was still amazed by how creative he was.

In the 2009-10 season, I was graduating elementary school. That was the year they were favored to win the Cup after an insane regular season. The Caps learned they cannot just rely on Ovechkin to win a playoff series, while I learned how to go to a different class every 50 minutes.

The next year, while the Caps tried to adapt and play more defensively, I adapted to now needing to study for the first time and overcome obstacles. On April 5, 2011 Ovechkin scored number 300, I had just started planning for my Bar Mitzvah to be in Israel in the 2012 summer.

While Ovechkin was in Russia during the 2013 lockout, I spent a weekend in Pennsylvanian to see the Caps’ then ECHL affiliate Reading Royals and AHL affiliate Hershey Bears. As I was on the road to Hershey, the lockout ended, and I wore my Ovechkin jersey and I saw Braden Holtby defend the crease for the Chocolate and White.

As Ovechkin celebrated scoring number 400 on December 20, 2013, I celebrated finishing my first semester of high school. That year, as the Caps fired their head coach and general manager, I also entered a new chapter. I was attending a leadership camp. I was getting prepared to be a leader in my community and Ovechkin met with Trotz and was ready to be a leader for this organization.

This past summer was a heart-breaking one for the both of us. I had to say goodbye to the friends I made over the last two years at my private school and the Caps were once again bounced in 7 by the NY Rangers. Looking forward, Ovechkin showed he can lead the team into the playoffs and perform in them. I on the other hand, started writing for this blog.

I have seen Ovi score on the power play many times from section 417. As this one whistled into the net, I knew what that moment to him, to me, and to the city. As our futures go on, I hope they are more intertwined. As Ovechkin and the Caps look to capture the Stanley Cup, I look forward to writing about it.

Alex, congratulations on number 500. Thank you for giving me so much to talk about over the last ten years of my life.