By Chuck Lamar
In D.C., the Wizards are the ugly stepchild. Their fans are treated as second-class citizens. No matter how bad they are, the Redskins still sell out every game. Last season, I went to Verizon Center, a.k.a. The Phone Booth, and saw the Capitals and the Wizards on back-to-back nights; the difference in atmosphere and fan support was startling.
Everyone in the DMV knows tons of Capitals, Redskins and even Nationals fans. Yet it seems Wizards fans are few and far between. This has been the case for years, and now the ownership is finally taking steps to correct this.
Last week, the Wizards hosted an open house that was free to the public to show off the new arena floor and provide an opportunity to meet Bullets great Phil Chenier. Tomorrow, I will attend a Wizards season-ticket-holder holiday party, where I will be able to meet the rookie class and Bullets great Bobby Dandridge. This Saturday, the Wizards host Fan Fest, another public event. The event will include an intrasquad scrimmage, prize giveaways, a dunk show by G-Man and the Secret Service Dunkers and a chance to meet members of the BulletsWizards Alumni Association.
Notice a recurring theme? Meet the current players and meet the former players. The Wizards are reaching out and reconnecting to Bullets and Wizards fans of old, while building a new connection to the current roster.
A lot of older fans had difficulty connecting to a team with a different name, logo and colors from the team they grew up loving. When Ted Leonsis took over the team, one issue that was stressed very early was bringing members from the championship team back into the fold, hence the alumni association.
There are Wizards fans out there; they just need to be reminded where their loyalties lie. Like the prodigal son, its never too late to come back home. So when the season opens on Dec. 26, I will rock my red (John Wall jersey) and sing "Hail to the Wizards" (still working on the lyrics) at the top of my lungs. Will you join me?