Matt Dunavant was born a few months after the Redskins won their last Super Bowl, a quarter-century ago. His fiancee, Nicky Boyers, was a toddler then, and remembers nothing of the game. They’re squarely part of D.C.’s Lost Generation — that massive cohort of Washington fans who can’t remember a local title in the NFL or the NBA, and certainly not in MLB or the NHL. And so their philosophy is, might as well relish the good times, whenever they arrive.
“I mean, why not?” Dunavant said late Saturday night. “There’s no reason for us to be D.C. sports fans, but we are, so why not be loud and obnoxious, a little bit?”
“If we’re proud of our team, I don’t see a problem,” Boyers said.
“It’s our home ballpark. We’ve been there every game. We know the ushers,” Dunavant said.
“And if there is a problem, I will run to my apartment across the street,” Boyers added.
You might not know this couple, but after Saturday night’s Nats-Cubs game, you might be familiar with their work. They were the ones who made the tail end of the TBS broadcast of this divisional playoff game — while holding a white-and-blue Cubs flag with an L at its center instead of the traditional W. The image of the happy couple zoomed across social media within seconds, one final bit of D.C. bravado on a night bursting with it.
Turns out the couple didn’t make the flag themselves, but rather bought it from the aptly named “Cubs Suck Club,” an organization that seems to exist primarily to sell “L” flags to opposing fanbases. (“It’s the highest quality “L” flag on the market today,” apparently. “We challenge you to find a better ‘Cubs Suck L Flag’ for a better price!”)
When it became clear several weeks ago that the Nats and Cubs would meet in the divisional round, Matt and a friend split a two-pack of the flags, receiving a white-on-blue L flag and also a blue-on-white L flag. They brought both to the ballpark this weekend. No one in security seemed to care about the 3×5 flag — despite the park’s ban on signage larger than 2×4 — although, in fairness, the flags were still folded up in a bag and not easily identifiable as flags.
In any case, if anyone deserved to become one momentary symbol of Nats fanhood, it might as well be these two. Saturday night was their 98th Nats game of the season — that includes all 81 home games; road trips to New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Milwaukee; and both playoff games. They live literally across the street from the stadium. They visit the stadium about once every four days of the year. Last year, they were in Pittsburgh when the Nats clinched their division title, holding up a Virginia license plate reading “LOLNYM.” They earned this moment.
So, “Fly the L,” as the Cubs Suck Club begs of the world. These two did.
“I just happened to be the one caught on camera,” Dunavant said. “I mean, it’s cool as hell, right?”
“We didn’t know we were on camera, obviously,” Nicky said. “We don’t do this stuff to get on camera. We just do it because it’s fun.”
Cubs fans, of course, protested bitterly that the Nats have never won anything to be this chesty, and also that the proper “L” flag would have a proper blue background and a white “L.” Which, I mean, really. Anyhow, their friend brought the properly colored flag to the stadium, and they all posed for photos together; they just happened to be the ones that wound up on TBS.
Will this be the capper of one night of joy in a time of sadness? Or will this off-colored “L” fly again and again as a grand month stretches on? Who knows! That’s why you thump your chest when you can.
Even if you’re the Nationals.