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AN EMPIRE LOST: HOW DC THREW THEIR CHANCES AWAY AT WINNING MORE TITLES

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The United States of America was never meant to be an empire. Our founding fathers never meant for Washington D.C. to be an empire. In 2012, there was an empire building in DC but through sports not the government. 

The empire building in Washington never actually happened. 

April 22, 2012: A Culture Changing Day For D.C. Sports Fans

The Redskins had just drafted their Quarterback of the Future in Robert Griffin III. Bryce Harper had just made his MLB debut a week prior. John Wall was scoring 16.3 points-per-game and building his leadership trait for future playoff runs. Alex Ovechkin was playing as great as ever in a lockout-shortened season in the midst of leading the Capitals to a 3rd place finish in the Eastern Conference.

The future looked as bright as ever for a forever mismanaged sports city who hadn’t won anything since the Redskins won the Super Bowl in 1992. 

The city was in the midst of a 20-year championship series/game drought. The future finally looked bright for a city that had their hearts ripped out over and over again due to the idiocy of Dan Snyder and Co. and Ted Leonis running both the Wizards and Capitals. 

The Nationals were finally in contention in April instead of being behind the 8 ball in the first month of the season like in years prior. 

DC looked set for a big future with a young core at the helm with Harper, Wall, RG3, and Ovi leading the way for the city. 

But, this is Washington and it never works out that way for the city whether it be injuries, bad luck or a mixture of both. Washington just couldn’t ever get it going. 

After the Nationals won the NL East in 2012 and one strike away from the NLCS. The Redskins won the NFC East and one big play away from beating the Seahawks in the Wild Card round. The Capitals finished third in the East but were taken out in the playoffs once again. The Wizards were building a young core around John Wall even with a 23-win season there was a buzz like never before in DC, even after the heartbreak in the playoffs for each team. 

Once RG3’s knee gave out in the Wild Card game in 2013 it started a downward trend for each team whether it be underperforming or losing in heartbreak fashion in the playoffs the injury foreshadowed what was to come over the next 6 years for fans in the DMV. 

The Nationals underperformed in the regular season in 2013, 2015 and 2018. For the past six years, the team has been expected to make a deep run into October and expected to win the World Series by many sports experts but could never make it out of the first round losing every series-deciding game in a heartbreak fashion. One strike away in 2012, Aaron Barrett bouncing the ball in front of the plate with the bases loaded in 2014, the Dodgers all of a sudden catching fire in the 7th inning in 2016 and the Cubs big 5th inning in 2017. 

The Redskins were a team of disappointments each and every year since RG3’s devastating knee injury with only one playoff appearance led by his replacement, Kirk Cousins since then. The Redskins haven’t played well in the regular season, finding a way to choke in the regular season when they have a chance to make it to the playoffs. It isn’t entirely the players fault as injuries have hurt the team’s chances in making it to the postseason some years. The Skins were close to beating the Packers in the 2015 Wildcard round but lost to an Aaron Rodgers led Packers team that caught fire in the second half. 

The Wizards have been up and down for the past several seasons as they’ve been good but not great. They were one game away from the Eastern Conference Finals in 2016 but fell to the Celtics in Boston after John Wall’s clutch three with seconds remaining in Game 6 in DC. The Wizards have made it to the second round a few times since D.C.’s winning culture came around again. They lost to the Hawks in the second round after beating the Raptors. The Wizards returned to the playoffs in 2018 but lost in the first round in Game 6 to the Raptors. 

The Capitals, the only real successful team during DC’s run won the Stanley Cup in 2018 and appear to make a deep run into the Stanley Cup Playoffs this year. But their championship didn’t come without heartbreak of their own. A team that could never get past the second round just like the Wizards. The Caps continued to lose to the *vomits* Penguins in the Stanley Cup Playoffs year after year in heartbreaking fashion. It seemed inevitable to get past the Penguins due to bad luck when it comes to DC Sports. 

In conclusion, even though the Stanley Cup was brought to Washington last year, there could have been so many more championship parades than just the one in 2018. There should have been more parades and celebrations and parties but ya know… Luck is never in Washington’s favor.

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