[Editor's note: When Mike Knuble was let go by the Capitals over the offseason, Knuble's Knights were temporarily without a player to worship. After some careful thought, they re-formed as a fan club dedicated to power forward Troy Brouwer and dubbed themselves the Brouwer Rangers. Nathan Burchfiel, the group's fearless leader, is now here to reveal the group's new spandex'd uniform and signs for the Caps home opener. The floor is all yours, Nathan.]
After the Caps lost their season opener to the Tampa Bay Lighting on Saturday, many Caps fans were weeping and gnashing their teeth about this Schultz or that Ovechkin. We, on the other hand, were busy experiencing something of an existential crisis.
As we struggled to squeeze into lycra suits and freshly painted motorcycle helmets during our first and only Brouwer Rangers “dress rehearsal,” the existential question wasn’t, Who are we and what are we doing with our lives? It was more, How are we going to pull this off without being arrested for indecent exposure?
As you may know, for the past three years, we’ve attended Caps games decked in plastic armor, shields and swords, and armed with an array mildly controversial but mostly silly signs in support of fan-favorite Mike Knuble. With Knuble’s departure – and at his encouragement – we knew we had to continue the tradition with a new victim muse player to cheer for.
There’s plenty floating around about why we picked Brouwer (and why we do this at all in the first place) so we won’t rehash it here. With the lockout still fresh in our minds, who really wants to dwell in the past anyway? Instead, the fine folks at RMNB asked us to provide a preview of what’s in store for the Brouwer Rangers during this shortened season. Our existential crisis has become, Can this possibly live up to the antics and adventures of Knuble’s Knights?
We hope so. Here are the Top 11 (because 20 (Brouwer’s number) divided by 2 (number of Brouwer Rangers) equals 10, plus one for good luck – don’t overthink it) reasons we’re hopeful this season will be the best yet, in no particular order.
- New hashtags and sign. Not only is #brouwerpouwer fun to say, it’s also applicable to goals, hits, penalties (ironically, natch), funny quotes and basically anything that makes Troy Brouwer cooler than your favorite player. Use it liberally. And it’s already a handy-dandy printable sign. And remember #knublefacts? #brouwerfacts is like that, but more Brouwery. Follow us on Twitter @brouwerrangers to get your game-day #brouwerfacts. Also, #ConstellationEnergyBrouwerPlay. (That one might not stick.)
- More games, in “better” “seats.” Though it’s a shortened season, it’s our first as full season-ticket holders. For us, this means more chances to finally catch one of those “burritos.” (Spoiler alert: it’s really a t-shirt wrapped in foil.) And who needs the 100s, with its wide sets, vertigo-free inclines and easy access to bathrooms? Bring a Sherpa and come say hit at the very top of Section 402. We picked these seats because they’re directly across the ice from Horn Guy, so we’ve got optimal sound-wave directionalization. It’s science.
- Cooler shirts. I mean, seriously, who doesn’t want one of these? (100% of our proceeds from these shirts will go to Caps charities, just as soon as you people buy enough stuff to warrant Spreadshirt cutting a check. So, order some.)
- BROOOOOUUUUUWEEERRRRR Sign. Will #knublesign be revived as #brouwersign? Who knows? Maybe. [coy smile]
- Adam Oates. We hereby promise not to create, distribute or display any signs that may be deemed critical of head coach Adam Oates or any other member of team management. Unless Brouwer is ever healthy-scratched, bought out, or traded — then all bets are off.
- Spandex!, which brings us to our next point:
- Mandatory Fanny Packs! We were going to go “full Ranger.” Our wives … did not want us to do that. Awkward fanny packs were the compromise. You’re welcome, everyone. (We promise Ranger Ryan will have his by Tuesday’s home-opener.)
- Brouwer for President. Brouwer’s contract expires at the end of the 2015-2016 season. There is a presidential election in 2016. Coincidence? We think not. We’re already working on very realistic Hawaiian birth certificate for Troy.
- Cornhole Tournament. It’s a certifiable traveshamockery that we have these sick unbelievable hand-painted Caps cornhole boards and no parking lot to tailgate in. We hereby challenge the team of Ted Leonsis and George McPhee to a cornhole match at center ice. Winner sits in the owners box for a game; losers sit in our seats. But seriously, who has the hookup for setting up a pre-game cornhole tournament in the arena or nearby? Tweet us.
- Oppan Brouwer Style. Go ahead and get all up on your high horse about the dystopian future pop music is dragging us toward. We’re right there with you. But don’t pretend you’re not going to love it when Brouwer scores his first goal of the season and busts this out.
- Fun. In all seriousness, this should be a ton of fun. We go crazy like this because it’s fun, and we like to think it helps other people have some fun as well.
We’re so glad that (NHL) hockey is back, and we know you all are too. See you at the games, and Go Go Brouwer Rangers!