TRAINING CAMP! TRAINING CAMP!
What does that mean?
For me, the former owner of the Baltimore and Washington Bullets and then the Washington Wizards, it means a new beginning.
That was one of the wonderful things about being involved with professional sports; every year was a new chance; a new opportunity. The excitement begins to build with the opening of training camp.
How much fun each year watching the new players showing off their skills and greeting the old players. No matter what happened the year before — good season or bad — now was a completely new chance, a new opportunity…. and maybe a championship? You need to be a “forever optimist.” You have to able to forget the bad that happened the year before and move on.
As an owner for forty-six years, one’s optimism never changes. This is always going to be the year!
It was always great to see the players again after the summer break. It was wonderful to see them and their families.
I loved hugging all the players…and getting hugged! They are great huggers! Oh, sometimes, they are a little sweaty but its okay.
And after training camp is over, the anticipation would build as we were looking forward to going into the Verizon Center for that opening game, feeling the energy of the fans excitedly walking to their seats with tickets in hand, sporting a new t-shirt, and five bags of popcorn and ten beers (at least it seemed like it sometimes!).
Standing up for the National Anthem…. the fireworks… and the players coming on to the floor for the first time of the season. All so exciting!
Abe and I always squeezed hands in anticipation of a new year!