The question should be easy to answer, it is a personal one, but it isn’t. It has become quite hard, and I am left with nothing to do but try. At times I find it hard to love a place that is as unsure of itself as DC, but then I find myself driving on its streets and seeing row houses next to marble buildings next to modern commercial zones and realize something. DC’s beauty and identity comes from its unsure nature.
It might be easier to answer the question if I think of the times I haven’t been in DC. After I went away to college the plan wasn’t to return to DC it was to stay in the southern part of Virginia or move to the Tidewater area. Much quieter places with a more laid back feel. None of the rush and worry that comes with city life, but that didn’t pan out and I found myself back in this area.
It wasn’t long until I went to my first Nationals game. By the time I was home and settled in I had missed most of the good parts of the 2005 season. My first Nationals game was Barry Zito pitching for the A’s against Tony Armas Jr. and the Nationals. It was a typical 2005 Nationals game as the only Nats runs came on a Nick Johnson two run homer and the bullpen did its job with the Chief Chad Cordero coming on in the 9th to close it out.
Most of the rest of that season was filled with disappointment, but I was home and the Nationals have since become one reason why I love DC, but they aren’t the only reason or even the only sports reason. The first live sporting event I attended in the District was a Capitals game. I don’t remember many details from the game except it was against the Carolina Hurricanes and Peter Bondra had a hat trick scoring a goal on a power play, a goal short handed, and a goal even strength.
When I first got home from college the Capitals weren’t very good, but sometime during the Winter of 2007 I got the feeling that I should be at the Verizon Center watching the Capitals. Between being away for college and having not gone to many games in my first couple years back I was amazed by the development around the area. The empty lot we used to park in was now a Legal Seafood and the abandoned building that was adorned by a giant poster of Chris Webber had been torn down.
Just a couple weeks ago I met some friend to watch the Nationals play the Mets on a television in the Iron Horse Taproom and I am still amazed at how much that area has changed. I tried in my mind to change everything back to the way it was. Back to what it was like in December of 1998 when myself and my friends were on the way to Starrcade and had to walk more than a couple blocks to find a restaurant that satisfied everyone.
DC has changed a lot in my lifetime, but it has changed a lot in other’s lifetimes as well. Some buildings survive long enough to become historic while others don’t quite make it and are torn down and replaced with more modern buildings, and others still become occupied by a more modern business. The club where the Straight Edge movement got its start is now a Starbucks. There is an H&M somewhere downtown that if someone looks above the door their is a sign proclaiming it to be Woodworth and Lothrop.
There are parts of the old DC I like. I enjoy seeing A Christmas Carol at Ford’s Theater and stand-up comedy at the Warner Theater. Then there are the recent additions of Good Stuff Eatery, Nationals Park, and the Harman Center for the Arts where I find myself spending more and more of my entertainment dollars.
I first loved DC because it is my hometown, but now I love it for its sports teams, the free museums, the performing arts, the bar scene, and the abundance of burger joints. Like the city itself my love for it continues to evolve.