March Madness Brackets

Local Bars Pick Their March Madness Brackets

CHOI Bracket Room
What local teams are in your bracket?  Tech, UVA, UMD and GWU
Who do you think will go all the way?  Kentucky
Name your final four teams.  Kentucky, Ohio State, Duke and UVA
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  GWU 
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  [We have] 45 great-quality TVs.  

BRACKET ROOM: 1210 N Garfield St. Arlington, VA; 703-276-7337;www.bracketroom.com 

COLIN LAVERTY The Ugly Mug
Who do you think will go all the way?  Kansas 
Name your final four teams.  Oklahoma, Kansas, Maryland and Villanova 
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  James Madison and Hampton  
When can we visit you at the bar? Thursday to Sunday nights  
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  Capitol Hill just has that unique blend of people that work in many different sectors of the economy. This creates a fantastic atmosphere throughout March Madness, but in particular, the early rounds. It’s a great time of the year to be around DC for sports. The Ugly Mug has that laidback feel where everyone is welcome. With multiple TVs, a staff that is sports crazy, beers served by the pitcher or 100 oz. beer towers, cocktails served in pint glasses and great bar food including brick-oven pizzas and Stromboli, it really is hard to beat coming to The Ugly Mug around tournament time. Of course, this year the first day of [the] games happens to be St. Patrick’s Day. [It’s] lining up to be an extremely fun first weekend of the Big Dance. 

THE UGLY MUG: 723 8th St. SE, DC; 202-547-8459; www.theuglymugdc.com

CHRIS LEFBOM Ragtime
What local teams are in your bracket?  Maryland, West Virginia and GWU 
Who do you think will go all the way?  WVU 
Name your final four teams.  WVU, Miami, UNC and Xavier
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  GWU What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  Ragtime is a WVU alumni favorite. The restaurant will be packed with rowdy Mountaineer fans come tournament time.    

RAGTIME: 1345 N Courthouse Rd. Arlington, VA; 703-243-4003;www.ragtimerestaurant.com 

JOHN MURDOCK Old Town Pour House Gaithersburg  
What local teams are in your bracket?   I’ve got to give some love to the Terps, of course, who are looking to be a third seed. However, they’re not looking as hot as the projected first seed – either Virginia or North Carolina. [It] should be a good year for NCAA March Madness.    

Who do you think will go all the way?  Even Scott Van Pelt can’t give you that answer. I’m hoping for one of the area teams to make it to the Final Four, [and] keep the energy pumping for the region. I would love to see Maryland in the final, but we have some tough competition.     

Name your final four teams.  I’m thinking that Kansas, Oregon, Xavier and Villanova [will] make it.    

What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  A lot of schools are fighting for rank this year. There is no clear-cut champ, so it’s difficult for the smaller area schools to have a chance.     

When can we visit you at the bar?   I work the bar a few nights during the “drink-end.” You know, Thursday night, Friday night and then on Sunday night. Occasionally, I do the Saturday morning gig. As the tournament gets going, I may be there a little more.   

What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  My place is lively when it comes to sports. We’ve got 90 beers on tap, three 110-inch screens for the big games and another 11 55-inchers for the other games going on. Plus, for big games, we VJ the experience! Never watch a commercial. Instead, prepare to laugh and cheer with funny videos spun up by our video jockey Phillip –funny YouTube videos to celebrity mean tweets and more. [We’re] all synced up to cut out commercials and keep the vibe pumping. I’m expecting a lot of great moments at the bar this year for March Madness. 

OLD TOWN POUR HOUSE GAITHERSBURG: 212 Ellington Blvd. Gaithersburg, MD; 301-963-6281; www.oldtownpourhouse.com/gaithersburg 

JOSH BOWEN Don Tito
What local teams are in your bracket?  Georgetown and UVA, but I’m from California, so [my] local team is San Diego State. 
Who do you think will go all the way?  Michigan State 
Name your final four teams.  Michigan State, Kansas, UNC and Oklahoma  
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  GWU
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  [We have] three floors of TVs, [and our] second floor is dedicated to sound. All games are played on TVs in the bar, and you can watch outside on the rooftop deck. 

DON TITO: 3165 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; 703- 566-3113; www.dontitova.com 

GARY OUELLETTE Union Jack’s Bethe sda 
What local teams are in your bracket? Maryland and Virginia
Who do you think will go all the way? Maryland
Name your final four teams.  Maryland, Virginia, Oklahoma and North Carolina
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  This is the “perfect storm” of events, with St. Patrick’s Day and the start of March Madness. Each event on their own [is] very strong for our store, but combined with the strength of Maryland this year, it should be off the charts.

UNION JACK’S BETHESDA: 4915 St. Elmo Ave. Bethesda, MD; 301-652-2561;www.unionjacksbethesda.com

SARAH KAYE World of Beer
What local teams are in your bracket?  Georgetown, Maryland and VCU  
Who do you think will go all the way?  Duke and Xavier 
Name your final four teams.  Duke, Xavier, Syracuse and Oregon 
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  UVA 
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?  The ability to view games on over 17 TVs and drink a variety of craft beers from the states of the teams you love most! 

WORLD OF BEER: 901 N Glebe Rd. #105, Arlington, VA; 571-483-0422; worldofbeer.com 

LEO GOMEZ Spider Kelly’s
What local teams are in your bracket?  Duke, George Mason and VCU  
Who do you think will go all the way?  Duke  
Name your final four teams.  Duke, Kentucky, Syracuse and Maryland  
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  GW and VCU  
What makes the March Madness viewing experience different at your bar than other bars?   [We’re] open for a.m. games, TVs are on a first-come, first-served basis and specials run [throughout the day]. 

SPIDER KELLY’S: 3181 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA; 703-312-8888; spiderkellys.com

TOM ROTH On Tap Staff Member
What local teams are in your bracket?   Maryland, Virginia, GWU and West Virginia
Who do you think will go all the way? Oklahoma
Name your final four teams.  Oklahoma, Kansas, North Carolina and Xavier
What smaller school(s) in the area do you think might get in?  James Madison and VCU

Spring Rec Leagues

Spring Rec Leagues

Work hard, play hard is a way of life in the DMV.  The area’s sport and social leagues are a great way to blow off some steam, meet new people and try a new sport. Each spring and fall, On Tap reaches out to see what these fun-loving groups have to offer, and the range of activities available is impressive. Here, in their own words, is what their leagues are all about and why they think you should put a little more social in your sports. To learn more about each league, including how to sign up to play, visit their websites.

Capital BBall
www.capbball.com
Capital Basketball is an awesome way to stay in shape while meeting new people. We gather at the area’s best courts to shoot some hoops, socialize and share our love for the game. We have a variety of leagues that include men’s and coed/open, as well as our brand new ultra-level leagues. All skill levels are welcome, so lace ‘em up and ball. Beginners should look for coed/open leagues, and our seasoned vets should look into our new ultra leagues. We are all about basketball – coed, men’s, women’s or ultra leagues!

Capital Bocce
www.CapBocce.com
Cap Bocce is all about the social – all day, every day! This league is here to provide young professionals an opportunity to meet new people and have a blast in the process. Our teams and players socialize both on the field and at the bar, all while playing bocce. Games are mostly on weeknights in Arlington and DC. All leagues include some kind of drink or food special at our sponsor bars, team T-shirts and just enough of an alternative sports vibe to make your Italian uncle jealous. Our league is designed for people to socialize with others while having a blast in the process. Crazy bocce-stans should move on!

Capital Cornhole
www.capcornhole.com
Capital Cornhole is a coed league with teams from four to six players in size. Games throw down at some really awesome bars like Penn  Social, Carpool and Continental. Leagues typically run seven weeks and include a final tournament, player T-shirts, and a brag-worthy pilsner glasses for the champions. Skill is not a requirement, just the ability to have a good time. We’re all about cornhole over here.

Capital Dodgeball
www.capitaldodgeball.com
Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge. Capital Dodgeball is the ultimate nontraditional social sport league. It’s a high-energy, action-packed game with a kick butt attitude. Games are played downtown at Georgetown Law or in Adams Morgan, depending on your league, for eight weeks of ball-flinging fun and socializing. Cap the night off with some post-game drinks at one of our awesome sponsor bars. If you can throw a ball and halfway catch, you are overqualified. Sign up today!

Capital Flag Football
www.capitalflagfootball.com
Capital Flag Football is a fun and safe way to toss around the pigskin with friends. Our league offers a six-week regular season of games and an additional two weeks of playoffs. You will meet a ton of new people on the field and at the bar; everyone in each of our locations enjoys great specials at our sponsor bars after the game. From social to athletic, to our ultra leagues and our men’s-only division, we are the choice for flag football in the city. Cap flag veterans, we heard you loud and clear. We are proud to announce brand new cap flag football ultra leagues. Flag football veterans now have a chance to prove their mettle on the gridiron. Captain a full team through the full season and get your registration fees back in USS credit, good toward select USS events and future leagues. Beginners and seasoned  vets, we’ve got the league for you. We’re all about the Gridiron, baby! Blue 42, ready, set, hike!

Capital Rowing Club
www.capitalrowing.org
Capital Rowing Club is committed to bringing a variety of rowing opportunities to the DC area. Never been in a boat before? Not a problem. Capital Rowing Club offers programs for new and experienced rowers at a variety of different times that can meet your schedule on the Anacostia River. Our boathouse is Metro accessible. We also offer options for your organization or company to learn to row as a group. For information about our “Learn to Row” program or one of our experienced rowing programs, please contact membership@capitalrowing.org.

DC Bar Sports
www.DCBarSports.com
DC Bar Sports brings everyone together for a variety of fun events and activities based – you got it, being in a bar. Teams compete in various games like skee-ball, cornhole, shuffleboard and more. You might even see a game of giant Jenga or a Connect Four pop-up, who knows? Looking for a new hangout? Leagues are located in Arlington, DC, Bethesda and Reston. No experience is needed to play bar sports, and it’s much better that way.

DC Bocce League
www.dcbocce.com
Are you ready to join a sport that is fun, social and accessible to everyone? Look no further than DC Bocce League! DC Bocce League focuses exclusively on bocce so we can put all our effort into making ours the most fun league there is. With a beer in one hand and a ball in the other, you’ll learn firsthand there’s no better way to spend time with friends after work. Sign up for the spring season and get eight weeks of bocce, exclusive food and beer specials at the bar, weekly prizes and giveaways, and a free end-of-season tournament and party. Plus, only DC Bocce awards its winning teams with donations to the charity on their behalf. No need to bring your sweats or cleats – this game is about finesse, not fitness. After you engage in a little friendly competition, your opponents go from adversary to drinking buddy. Celebrate your win or commiserate your loss at your division’s sponsor bar, and see how far the evening will take you.

DC Cityball
www.dccityball.com
DC Cityball is a sports-first recreational sports league. We focus on providing a great game day experience for our players. We offer coed softball, coed flag football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, corporate/law firm basketball, coed basketball, coed volleyball and wiffle ball. The leagues are competitive but we offer recreational divisions as well. Our games are played on permitted fields/courts and we use certified officials in our leagues. Leagues consist of an eight-game regular season plus playoffs, and we host end-of-the-season parties as well as charity happy hours throughout the season. Most of our players are intermediate and experienced, but we welcome all types of players in our leagues.

DC Kickball
www.dckickball.org
First, captains play for free. Second, DC K is hands down DC’s best kickball league. Period. DC Kickball is all about meeting other people and having a great time. New to town? Have you heard about this kickball thing? Yeah…that’s us! Games take place all over the DC and Va. area, including the National Mall, Adams Morgan, Dupont, Columbia Heights and Arlington. We play to be social, and we’re pretty darn good at it. If you’ve played kickball at any point in your life, you are DC kickball-certified.

DC Skeeball
www.DCSkee.com
DC Skee is the easiest and most fun way to meet new people and make new friends in the DMV. What is skeeball, you ask? Well remember that game at Chuck E. Cheese with the wooden balls and the tickets pouring out? That’s skeeball. Get your roll on, and become a legend. As with all leagues in the USS family, we welcome free agents, small groups and full teams. No experience needed. Your four-year-old niece could outscore you any given Thursday. You never know!

DC Soccer FC
www.DCSoccerFC.com
DC Soccer FC is the fastest-growing soccer community in DC. We pride ourselves in delivering the best experience indoors and out. We offer indoor and outdoor grass and field six vs. six, seven vs. seven and eight vs. eight, men’s and coed soccer, with leagues playing in DC and VA. Sign up and get six weeks of game play and two weeks of playoffs, plus team shirts, end-of-season parties and super convenient locations. We work to make it as easy as possible for you to play the game you love. Registration is open to free agents, small groups and full teams. With both social and athletic divisions, we’ve got the league for you. As an added bonus, captains never get stuck paying for the whole team as they can opt for team members to pay their dues directly. Regardless of your athletic ability or skills, you will have fun in our league.

DC Social Sports
www.DCSocialSports.com
DC Social leagues are now powered by United Social Sports (USS)! This means more leagues at more locations than ever. Don’t sweat, your favorite DC Social locations are coming back, as well as your favorite tournaments and events – bar sports, basketball, bocce, cornhole, dodgeball, flag football, kickball, skeeball, soccer, softball, street hockey, tennis, ultimate Frisbee and volleyball. We have leagues for beginners and veterans. Looking to get social this spring with classic DC Social leagues? We are all about being social and having fun, so no need to sweat the little stuff.

DC Softball
www.DCSoftball.com
Softball is our game, and you can’t wear it out! We play on traditional diamonds or on open National Mall fields with bases and backstops. DC Softball leagues play in DC and VA, so just pick the league that’s most convenient for you. All are welcome, from newcomers to long-time softball fans. The best part is captains never have to front the whole team fee, as individuals pay their registration dues directly. Registration is open to free agents, small groups and full teams.

DC Street Hockey
www.dcstreethockey.com
DCSH is a great balance of competitive street hockey with social interaction at the rink, at post-game tailgates or happy hours. On the rink, we offer by far the best and most competitive hockey and the area’s only men’s leagues, though women are highly encouraged as well. The rink offers DirecTV for NHL and NFL games to make the experience that much more exciting. There’s an annual golf tournament, happy hours, travel tournaments, local tournaments and other fun off-the-rink activities. Many players start in our lowest division or draft league, and learn from top players on those teams so they develop quickly. Though our leagues are always looking for new players, many of the leagues are for intermediate to advanced players. Our men’s leagues have a few different divisions and only the more advanced players play in the D1 top division.  Many players start in D2 and work their way up to D1 in a few years. DC Street Hockey is a great place to play a fun/competitive sport and make a great new social network. Email waynebarrett20@gmail.com to be placed in the proper league and team.

DC Ultimate
www.DCUltimate.com
DC Ultimate is the first social ultimate Frisbee in DC! This new sport is a cross between basketball and football – fast-paced and exciting. We offer several levels of play including social, athletic and the newly-added ultra level. We’ve got a spot for every skill set. Stay active and get social with this new sport. Players enjoy seven weeks of play with playoffs. Grab a friend and sign up for this new exciting sport. Now playing in DC and Virginia.

DC Volley
www.DCVolley.com
DC Volley plays at some of the best locations across the DC area, with a variety of team play options. We have indoor, sand, four vs. four and six vs. six, and now ultra leagues. Long-time volleyball veterans can now test their game against the best competition in town. After games, players head to one of our awesome sponsor bars for victory drinks, and USS league specials. We offer several levels of play including social, athletic and the newly added ultra level. We’ve got a spot for every skill set.

District Karaoke
www.districtkaraoke.com
District Karaoke is DC and Virginia’s first-and-only competitive, team-based karaoke league. It’s team-based, meaning you perform with friends and cheer each other on. And the competition? You, your fellow singers and anyone else you invite score each performance using our matchup mobile scoring system. Teams compete over a 10-week season for a chance to go to the epic citywide finals. You can form a team, join a team or register as a free agent by going to the District Karaoke website and selecting a night and venue. No experience required.

Fairfax Adult Softball
www.fairfaxadultsoftball.com
We are the largest ASA adult softball league in the nation! We have a league for every age and skill level, ranging from seniors to social to elite. We also run several tournaments and events throughout the year supporting several charities. We do not require any experience at all – we have a league for everyone! Click the “Join” tab on our site and it will walk you through the steps.

FXA Basketball
www.FXABasketball.com
FXA Basketball is one of the largest coed and men’s adult basketball leagues in Northern VA (VA/DC/MD), averaging around 25 teams each season. We offer both team and individual (free agent) registrations for all levels of play. To keep competition evenly matched, FXA offers two different divisions (casual or competitive) for teams ranging in skill sets.  All games are officiated by high school-certified and experienced referees, and played on regulation-size adult basketball courts. After the games, our sponsor bar provides beer and food specials for teams.

FXA Football
www.FXAFootball.com
FXA Football is the largest coed, women’s and men’s adult flag football league in Northern Virginia (VA/DC/MD), averaging around 150 teams each season and playing on turf fields.  We offer both team and individual (free agent) registrations for our spring 2016 season. To keep competition evenly matched, FXA offers several different divisions (social, casual, competitive and elite) for teams ranging in skill sets. All games are officiated by qualified and experienced referees and played on turf fields lined for flag football.

FXA Soccer
www.FXASoccer.com
FXA Soccer is the largest coed and men’s adult soccer league in Northern VA (VA/DC/MD), averaging around 120 teams each season of coed 11 vs. 11 and men’s eight vs. eight leagues. We offer both team and individual (free agent) registrations for our spring 2016 season and play all games on turf fields. To keep competition evenly matched, FXA offers several different divisions (social, casual, competitive and elite) for teams ranging in skill levels. All games are officiated by U.S. soccer graded and experienced referees and played on turf fields lined for soccer.

FXA Softball
www.FXASoftball.com
FXA Softball is one of the largest coed and men’s adult slow-pitch softball leagues in Northern VA (VA/DC/MD), averaging over 50 teams each season playing on full-size adult fields with dugouts and an HR fence. We offer both team and individual (free agent) registrations for our spring 2016 season. To keep competition evenly matched, FXA offers several different divisions (social, casual, Competitive and elite) for teams ranging in skill. All games are officiated by ASA-certified and experienced umpires. After the games, our sponsor bars provide beer and food specials for teams to socialize and meet other players.

FXA Volleyball
www.FXAVolleyball.com
FXA Volleyball is a coed volleyball league in Northern Virginia (VA/DC/MD). We play indoor, grass and sand, four vs. four and six vs. six coed volleyball. We offer both team and individual (free agent) registrations for our spring 2016 season, and any skill level can play.

Goombay Kickball
www.Goombay.net
Goombay Kickball has been hosting coed, women’s and kids’ kickball leagues in the DC area since 2010.  We have a competitive and social league which plays on Sunday afternoons, and after each game the teams cook out, play music, drink and socialize.  Each Sunday is like a big family reunion! When players first come out, they don’t need to have any experience. We always host two to three open practices before the season begins, and we teach everyone how to play and the rules. We also allow the older players to dust off the cobwebs and meet new players. Register by clicking the “kickball” link for Washington, DC on our site.

Happy Hour Kickball
www.happyhourkickball.com
We offer a plethora of social sports to the masses in the DMV area from kickball and softball to cornhole and bocce. This summer, the focus will be on our 10th kickball season with games taking place on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 and 7:15 p.m., and post-game fun and activities at The Barking Dog in Bethesda. There will be food and drink specials, flip cup, pong and general merriment. Theme weeks will abound and friendships and partnerships will form. Join us, won’t you? Registration is done online and is just a click away on our registration tab. And stay tuned, “Happy Hour Softball Season Five” is coming this June! Games will be on Monday nights, so look for details as we get closer to the summer.

CCGW Coed Softball League
www.jccgw.org
We have two coed slow-pitch softball leagues at the JCCGW in Rockville. The first plays on Sunday mornings at local park fields. The second is a weeknight league that is played on Monday and Tuesday on the JCCGW’s campus in Rockville. Both leagues are a mix of social and competitive. The teams have fun but like to win too. Some of our teams get together for happy hour after the games. It’s a great group of participants, and we are always looking for new faces to join our leagues. No experience required. We get many new participants each year who have little to no experience but are looking to meet new people and have fun. You can register an entire team online or send an email to be put on the free agent list and get on a team that already exists. To learn more, click on the “Fitness and Sports” tab on the homepage, then choose “Sports Programs and Adult Leagues.”

Metro Sports Leagues
www.metrosportsleagues.com
We offer soccer, softball and volleyball. Our leagues are fun because we have multiple divisions and locations so you can choose to play in a league that suits what your team is looking for and where they want to play. It isn’t fun to play in a league where you are either killing every team or getting killed each week. We focus on making sure the experience on the field/court/gym is what you hoped it to be when you signed up. Recreational players can join and have a good experience, and at the same time we have competitive leagues for players that take the game seriously and want a high level of play.

Morven Park Flag Football League
www.MorvenParkSports.org
Play on the finest grass fields in all of Loudoun County. Morven Park’s flag football league holds its spring season on Wednesday evenings, April 6 to June 1. The nine-week season includes seven regular games and a single elimination tournament. The league attracts players of all skill levels. Register by March 23 for this season.

RASL
www.playrasl.com
Recreational Athletics Sports League (RASL or “razzle”) offers coed sports for adults over 18 years old. Our leagues and tournaments are held in Montgomery County, Md. with players hailing from Rockville, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Bethesda, Silver Spring, DC, VA and other locales. We offer coed, men’s and women’s flag football leagues. We offer registration for teams, small groups and individuals, and we are bringing back the women’s league.

RECLEAGUES.COM
www.recleagues.com
Established in 1985, we’re the longest-running continuous provider of adult athletics in the entire United States, with the best-organized programs anywhere. Offering multiple divisions for our leagues, men and women of all ages/skill levels are always welcome to join. We offer flag football, softball, basketball, floor hockey, indoor soccer and volleyball, just pick your sport – and get in the game!

Social Sports of Bethesda
www.socialsportsofbethesda.com
“More than just a game!” is our tagline. Social Sports of Bethesda (SSB) is a coed adult sports league for people who enjoy socializing and participating in organized sports. The league was formed to provide a venue for people ages 21 and older to participate in football, softball, volleyball, dodgeball and other sports in a safe, coed, well-organized and social atmosphere. We offer two or three divisions depending on skill level. The Miller division is for teams that prefer to be a little more competitive. The Lite division is a little less competitive and the Super Lite is for new teams or previous teams who finished sub .500 in the Lite division. Register as a team captain and have your teammates join your team.  Or register as a free agent and we’ll put you on a team.  Small groups (incomplete teams) are also welcome. Registrations are all online.

United Social Sports
www.UnitedSocialSports.com
With more than 15 active sport leagues in play this season, United Social Sports (USS) is the District’s largest social sports community. Our goal is to bring groups of friends and individuals together to connect socially and to play more often. From bocce to ultimate Frisbee to kickball, we have your sport/game of choice. We also host fun events like tubing trips and wine tastings. We will also have new tennis, street hockey and bowling leagues this spring. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned vet, we’ve got the league for you. For the first time, we are offering ultra leagues, so step up your game with our more competitive leagues or play in our infamously awesome social- or athletic-level leagues.

WAKA Kickball and Social Sports
www.kickball.com/dc
Club WAKA brings games, parties and friends together into one national sport and social club. With more and more people to meet, great parties, tournaments and events throughout the U.S., there’s never been a better time to join WAKA Kickball and Social Sports. Find leagues in the DC area by clicking on the DC tab online. We offer kickball, football, bar games, dodgeball and volleyball. We welcome all players of all experience levels 21 and over. See you on the field!

Washington DC Gaels
www.wdcgaels.com
The Washington DC Gaels has been celebrating the long tradition of Irish sports in the DC metro area since 1988 as part of a much larger international sporting organization, the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). We provide the sports of hurling and camogie, combining the skills of field hockey, lacrosse and baseball in a very fast-paced and exciting game. We also have men’s as well as ladies’ Gaelic football, which are sports that combine the skills of basketball, volleyball and rugby in another fast-paced and aggressive sport. No experience is needed to play with the Gaels. Our experienced coaches and veteran players are more than happy to help you learn the sport and see you excel as a new player. Trust us, once you start playing these sports you won’t want to stop. The season runs March to September, until our national finals on Labor Day weekend.

ZogSports DC
www.zogsports.com/dc
ZogSports is the United States’ largest charity-focused, coed social sports league for young professionals. We organize sports leagues (basketball, cornhole, dodgeball, football, kickball, soccer, softball and volleyball), social events, and volunteer opportunities for young professionals in DC. Fun is our number one priority and the ZogSports staff is trained to ensure that you have a superb time on the court and at the bar. Plus, everything we do (from the sports to the weekly happy hours to our “Play For Your Cause” charity donations) exists for the sole purpose of bringing people together to create a warm, friendly and fun community. We have leagues for casual and competitive players, so you can choose your skill level when you sign up. You can register as an individual, with friends or as a whole team online. We take care of the rest!

best bars march madness

Best Local Spots to Catch March Madness

March Madness is upon us, with the NCAA tournament kicking off its 64 games on St. Paddy’s Day. In anticipation of the upcoming games, On Tap put together a list of our top picks in the D.C. area for enjoying the tourney with a little flair. Our short list features sports bars with great drink selections, elevated menus, endless HDTVs to choose from and a less rowdy, mellower ambiance for cheering your team on to victory. Not going to make it out for the tourney, or feeling like your bracket will be busted before you begin?  These locations are all great date places and have plenty to offer besides big screens.

Champps Kitchen + Bar
Champps Kitchen + Bar is a community sports bar with a down-to-earth Midwestern atmosphere, nearly 30 varieties of beer and dependable comfort food. Kevin Songster, managing partner at the bar’s Pentagon Row location, says Champps is still the best seat outside of the stadium.

“Where else can you have as many TVs?” Songster asks (rhetorically).  “There isn’t a [March Madness] game we’re not going to show.”

Champps has four 110-inch laser projection screens, four 70-inch LCD HDTVs and 45 50-inch HDTVs. Songster points out some of the bar’s lighter food options, like the tuna poke appetizer or Tuscan salmon, for those who want to enjoy the game without having to unbutton their jeans/wear stretchy pants to the bar, and different drink specials every day of the week.

CHAMPPS KITCHEN + BAR: 1201 S Joyce St. Arlington, VA; 703-414-3601;www.champps.com/locations/arlington/

High Velocity
Derek VanBrakle guarantees that High Velocity carries a beer you haven’t tried before. The restaurant manager at the Marriott Marquis near Penn Quarter and the Verizon Center is referring to High Velocity’s 48 draft lines.

“We’re always reaching out to [beer] vendors to get the newest, latest stuff,” he says. “We also try some that nobody’s ever heard of before, because the only way to know if you like a beer is if you try it.”

Located in the Marriott Marquis, High Velocity offers 40 HDTVs – three at 120 inches and the rest at 55 – and quieter spots to park it and watch your March Madness game of choice. During the tournament, the swanky sports bar will serve $5 pints of New Belgium Fat Tire and Citradelic IPA. Plus, bourbon fans can swing by The Dignitary (50-feet from High Velocity in the Marquis) before or after the game and choose from up to 70 different bourbons and even some high-end scotches.

HIGH VELOCITY: 901 Massachusetts Ave. NW, DC; 202-824-9389;www.facebook.com/HighVelocityDC

The Bracket Room
The aptly named Bracket Room in Clarendon has a tight community of regulars, according to bartender Tania Amador, while also attracting a diverse crowd.

“You see a lot of bonding going on during big games,” Amador says. “A little smack-talking is always in good fun. It’s never a volatile experience here.”

Bracket Room offers 38 Samsung Infinity Edge LED TVs ranging in size from 55 to 75 inches, half-price happy hour Monday through Friday from noon to 7 p.m. and 75 beers to choose from. Some of the most popular dishes include the “world’s best” tater tots, baby back ribs marinated and slow-braised for 12 hours, and an authentic lobster roll that Maine natives are sure to approve of.

BRACKET ROOM: 1210 N Garfield St. Arlington, VA; 703-276-7337;www.bracketroom.com

THE PROSPECT
In the heart of the U Street Corridor sits The Prospect, an upscale sports bar with 45 HDTVs, craft beers and ciders, signature cocktails, and high-quality stadium and tailgating fare. The Prospect’s interior is covered in sports memorabilia – including an impressive collection of baseball mitts above the stairs and a brick wall of staggered baseball bats – and also offers a 40-seat patio for patrons to enjoy during warmer weather. Notable menu items include three types of home mules served in copper mugs – classic, spicy and strawberry – and hog wings that made Thrillist’s “Best Food & Drink of 2015” list.

“There’s not a bad seat in the house,” says Managing Partner Brian Dombrowski. “From every angle or direction, you’re able to see a specific game or multiple games at the same time.”

THE PROSPECT: 1214 U St. NW, DC; 202-450-4109;  www.theprospectdc.com

OLD TOWN POUR HOUSE
Old Town Pour House in Gaithersburg is ready for March Madness. General Manager Aaron Gordon says the ambiance is going to be awesome, with a great crowd of customers, the Pour House’s upbeat and friendly staff, a DJ spinning tunes during commercial breaks, plus upscale bar food and a diverse craft beer selection with over 90 drafts.

“We’re the total package,” he says. “There’s no restaurant in Montgomery County with the TV setup that we have. We have 14 viewing screens, so every single game will be on.”

Gordon says the bar’s three 110-inch and 11 60-inch flat screen TVs have a great sound system. Added bonus: Old Town Pour House is known for serving limited-edition brews and suds from local breweries.

OLD TOWN POUR HOUSE: 212 Ellington Blvd. Gaithersburg, MD; 301-963-6281;www.oldtownpourhouse.com/gaithersburg

NATIONAL PASTIME SPORTS BAR & GRILL
Impressively sized National Pastime Sports Bar & Grill, offering 600 seats and 42 HDTVs – including a brand new and gargantuan 30-foot-wide LED screen that can break out into 32 games, four games in quadrants, or only one or two games at a time, depending on the day. The sports bar also caters to those of us that prefer a quiet space to watch our team kick some butt, with smaller dining areas featuring individual screens.

Andrew Gould, the executive chef of restaurants at Gaylord National Resort, notes the Indian-inspired veggie burger, lamb burger with mint mayo and health-conscious Cobb salad (topped with salmon, crab cakes or chicken) as some of his top picks on the menu. Specialty March dishes include stew made with a Port City Brewing porter (National Pastime is adamant about serving local brews), corned beef and cabbage, and fish and chips. And get ready for some March Madness specials offering good deals on beers and appetizers during the games.

“We have a great local following from the Oxon Hill area and DC itself,” says Gould. “There isn’t another National Pastime. Our menus and our offerings are unique, and I think our service and general atmosphere is a lot different than what you get at other places.”

NATIONAL PASTIME SPORTS BAR & GRILL: 201 Waterfront St. Oxon Hill, MD; 301-965-5500;  www.nationalharbor.com/stores/national-pastime-bar-grill

Cupids Undie Run (71)

Cupid’s Undie Run 2016

Down in DC, locals put the hilarity in charity. Runners participated in a 1 mile fun run to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Photos: Mark Van Bergh

Photos courtesy Washington Capitals
Photos courtesy Washington Capitals

The Washington Capitals Talk Valentine’s Day

Players told On Tap their best gifts ever received, the best give to give and their favorite Valentine’s Day memories.

#77 T.J. Oshie
On Valentine’s Day & Best Gift
I proposed in early February and married my wife on February 5th. So that’s our special day/Valentine’s.  Valentine’s Day these days is more for our little girl, spoiling her and such.  But dinner and movie, maybe a spa day is good gift to give.

#90 Marcus Johansson
On Valentine’s Day & Best Gift
Never really celebrated Valentine’s Day in Sweden – sounds like an interesting holiday.  I got a box of chocolates once here – who doesn’t like chocolate, so I’d say chocolates is the best gift!

#19 Nicklas Backstrom
On Best Gift 
I’ve got to come up with something good this year (since I don’t have plans) – Oshie’s dinner and a movie idea sound good to me though!

#88 Nate Schmidt
On Best Gift
An old high school girlfriend gave me this awesome tempur-pedic bed pillow—still have it from my junior year of high school. Super comfy!

#25 Jason Chimera
On Valentine’s Day
Every day is Valentine’s Day with my wife—I don’t need one day to show her love—I show her she’s special every day.

#27 Karl Alzner
On Best Gift
My wife (then girlfriend) gave me a huge 2 foot tall Valentine’s Day card—I still have it to this day.

#46 Michael Latta
On Valentine’s Day
I’m single. I’m open to suggestions. I spent last Valentine’s Day at a bar lol.

#10 Mike Richards
On Best Gift to Give
Flowers and chocolates. You can’t go wrong with those!

#9 Dmitry Orlov
On Best Gift to Give
Flowers!  I always have flowers for my girlfriend.

#31 Phillip Grubauer
On Best Gift
A surprise visit from my girlfriend from Germany.

#49 Stanislav Galiev
On Best Gift to Give
A great dinner – food is the way to a woman’s heart.

#65 Andre Burakovsky
On Best Gift to Give
Currently single, but I used to always do flowers, always.

#92 Evgeny Kuznetsov
On Valentine’s Day
I play hockey—love my wife—she knows!

#2 Matt Niskanen
On Best Gift
Can’t go wrong with a dinner and a movie!

#21 Brooks Laich
On Best Gift
My fiancé (now wife) had just bought a new home that day and it was empty with just boxes, she surprised me on our first Valentine’s Day in the new place with candles and a romantic dinner. There was no furniture, just us in an empty house sharing a special dinner together. That’s my best memory.

#78 Braden Holtby
On Valentine’s Day
We’re on the road a lot, so we spend most holidays away from our families traveling.  We usually only get Christmas off as far as holidays go.  So, flowers are the way to go for me and we celebrate in our own way when I get back.  My wife is very understanding.

Nate Schmidt
Photo courtesy Washington Capitals

Midseason Report with Nate Schmidt

Something very special is happening with the Washington Capitals this season. The team has been on fire since its first game, and is on pace for an astounding 120 points or more by season’s end.

While excited about the team’s prospects heading to the playoffs, the fan base has also reason to be leery after experiencing heartbreaking finishes year after year.

However, there is a wholly different feeling for this Capitals team. They play shutdown defensive hockey seemingly at will, they intimidating opponents with size and snarl. Opponents fall behind a couple goals and seem resigned to defeat because goaltender Braden Holtby has been that good.

Capitals teams in recent years have always been an offensive threat, but fans seem unanimous in the consensus that this is the most cohesive, complete unit they have seen. Ever.

“We’re a team that’s not taking anything for granted right now,” says defenseman Nate Schmidt. “We have an unbelievable group in the lockerroom. It’s a real team-first mentality.”

In his third year with Washington, Schmidt has really come into his own and established himself as a regular in the lineup. He personifies the depth, character, and resiliency of this team, filling in more than capably while veterans John Carlson and Brooks Orpik have missed significant time with injuries.

Schmidt was signed as a free agent by the Capitals in April 2013 after shining at the collegiate level at the University of Minnesota. After spending his first couple of seasons in and out of the lineup, Schmidt has stepped up his game and impressed fans so much that many consider him a top-four defenseman, even after Carlson and Orpik return for regular duty.

“I talked with Coach [Barry] Trotz about what it takes to be an everyday player, and having the confidence to go and make the plays I know I could make,” Schmidt says. He also praised assistant coach Todd Reirden for being helpful with polishing his overall game. This is Reirden’s first year with the Caps, but he spent the four previous seasons as an assistant with the rival Pittsburgh Penguins where he worked closely with their defensemen and power-play unit, including current Capitals Orpik and Matt Niskanen.

Reirden, a former player himself, has helped Schmidt stay positive while stressing the finer points of being a solid defenseman. “He’s worked with some really good defensemen over the years,” Schmidt tells On Tap. “And he’s really pushed me along and helped me find my niche.”

Bench boss Trotz has brought a disciplined structure to the team in just his second year as coach that has not been seen in Washington in recent memory. He has been able to develop young prospects like Schmidt and his defense partner Dmitry Orlov while getting the mainstays and veteran newcomers like T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams to buy into the system.

Perhaps foremost, Trotz has gotten superstar and team captain Alex Ovechkin to lead the other players in becoming one of the better teams in hockey at two-way play, meaning they skate and forecheck relentlessly to be just as effective on defense as they are on offense.

Ovechkin is still putting up his usual spectacular numbers, and attained an esteemed and extremely rare feat when he recorded his 500th career goal on January 10 against the Ottawa Senators. Personal achievements aside, Ovechkin and his teammates are well-aware that records and the regular season is meaningless once the playoffs arrive.

As of mid-January, the Capitals were a league-best 34-8-3 with 71 points. The next closest team was the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference with 64 points, and they had just surged up standings with a hot streak. The Capitals were picked by many experts before the season to make it to the Stanley Cup finals, and that pick seems legitimate so far.

Most importantly, throughout their trouncing of opponents this year, this Capitals team has evoked an air of confidence that is unmistakable. They wholeheartedly recognize and believe that they are an elite force; that they are a team that is immune to the gaffes and pratfalls that have plagued Capitals teams of the past.

“We enjoy being around each other each and every day,” Schmidt said. “We have something special brewing here. I think the goal is to bring some hardware back to DC.”

Hardware in individual categories seems inevitable this year, as Trotz, Holtby and Ovechkin are all early favorites for awards.

However, the ultimate hardware, of course, is the Stanley Cup. After all the years of anguish and despair, the soul-crushing defeats and hollow endings, the thoroughness with which this team dispatches foes simply cannot be ignored.

These Capitals are simply radiant. Moreover, they are on a mission to reach the Stanley Cup finals.

To learn more about the Capitals visit  www.capitals.nhl.com and follow them on Twitter (@washcaps) and Facebook (@WashingtonCapitals.)


Ovie Nets 500

It is only fitting that in the middle of what could be the most successful regular season in the history of the Capitals, Alex Ovechkin reached a momentous milestone.  On January 10, the captain ripped a shot past Ottawa goaltender Andrew Hammond to score the 500th goal of his extraordinary career.

Ovechkin became the first Russian-born player to reach the

500-goal mark, and the 43rd player overall. The Great Eight was also the fifth-fastest ever to hit 500, having gotten there in his 801st game. Only Mike Bossy, Wayne Gretzky, Brett Hull, and Mario Lemieux – all Hall of Famers – reached the plateau faster.

The Capitals are enjoying a tremendous regular season, having led the NHL in points as of mid-January. The team is hungry for playoff success after years of early exits, and fans and experts feel this team could legitimately challenge for the Stanley Cup. That Ovechkin was able to record his 500th goal only adds to the mystique the Capitals team is building this year.

Ovechkin also notched his 501st goal later that night against Ottawa, and later that week was awarded a golden stick in a brief ceremony at the Verizon Center. Having achieved so many individual goals already, expect Ovechkin’s intensity to only increase as the team ramps up its chase for the Cup.

Ovechkin leads the NHL in power-play and game-winning goals and points since entering the NHL at the beginning of the 2005-2006 season.

Photo courtesy Washington Capitals

Military Bowl
Photo: Glenn A Miller

Here Come the Clydesdales

Get ready for some football, along with lots of fun activities and events, all surrounding and celebrating the 2015 Military Bowl in Annapolis. Presented by Northrop Grumman, this year’s Bowl, which benefits the USO, takes place on Monday, December 28 at 2:30 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. But for some fans, the Military Bowl Parade, beginning at 11 a.m. that day, is just as much of an attraction. That’s because some very famous horses are once again leading the way.

For the third year in a row, the world famous Budweiser Clydesdales will headline the parade, which starts at the Annapolis City Dock. Steve Beck, President and Executive Director of the Military Bowl, said that the Clydesdales are now an integral part of the Bowl experience.

“Having the Clydesdales is just awesome,” he said. “The Clydesdales have their own following and they definitely are an attraction. For instance, prior to our first Military Bowl Parade in 2013, we were contacted by a woman whose father lived in the region, had served in the Marines, and on his bucket list of things to do was see the Clydesdales. With help from our partners at Katcef Brothers Inc., we arranged a special experience for him to meet the Clydesdales up close and personal. You have no idea how much we enjoy this aspect of the Bowl, to be able to do those things.”

First bred for farm work in Clydesdale, Scotland, over 300 years ago, the horses became associated with Budweiser in 1933. Scott Smith, from Budweiser’s Clydesdale team, explained how they became the public face of the company, courtesy of its owners, the Busch family.

“The Budweiser Clydesdales were a gift from August Busch Jr. to his father August Busch Sr., to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition,” Smith said. “Being brilliant marketers and lifelong horsemen, a team was dispatched to travel to visit Washington, DC and New York City to deliver ceremonial cases of post-Prohibition Budweiser.”

Since then, the horses have become synonymous with Budweiser, regularly appearing around the country at various sporting and community events. There are several “hitches” or teams of the horses that travel around, and Smith said that the company has one of the largest Clydesdale breeding programs in the world, producing 35-45 foals a year.

While the Clydesdales are a big part of the Military Bowl experience, it wouldn’t be a Bowl without the football game, which this year is Navy vs. Pittsburgh.

Steve Beck said that’s what sets the Military Bowl apart from other Bowl games, its commitment to America’s Armed Forces.

“Our game has a mission that we deeply believe in: to support and honor our nation’s military,” he said. “It is evident in everything we do, throughout the year. We are committed to doing anything we can for these brave men and women.”

To that end, the Bowl created Tickets for Troops, which, since 2008 has provided more than 25,000 free tickets to troops and their families through a partnership with the USO.

“Every year,” Beck said, “we have an allotment of complimentary tickets set aside for our nation’s servicemen and servicewomen. They are distributed through USO-Metro at local military bases in early December and we welcome these men and women to join us on game day. Additional information is available at www.militarybowl.org/militarytickets.

Profits from the Bowl also go to the troops, in the form of donations to the USO. So this December 28, get set for football and fun, and a special appearance from the famous horses referred to as the “Gentle Giants,” all for a good cause.

The Military Bowl kicks off on Monday, December 28, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. Tailgate opens at 9 a.m. Parade starts at the City Dock at 11 a.m. Pub Crawl and Gallery Walk the night before. More info atwww.militarybowl.org.

Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium: 550 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, MD; www.militarybowl.org

Players Pay It Forward
Photos courtesy Washington Capitals

Players Pay It Forward

The holiday season is upon us and if you’re looking to give back this holiday season, charity is a wonderful way to do so. In this spirit of giving, On Tap caught up with the Caps and the Wizards to find out what charitable organizations our favorite local players and teams support.

The Washington Capitals 

#88 Nate Schmidt
Defending the Blueline. This organization helps give military kids the opportunity to participate in the game of hockey. They provide things like free equipment, hockey camps and financial assistance. www.defendingtheblueline.org

#25 Jason Chimera
Make-A-Wish Foundation. The team has supported this organization for a long time.www.wish.org.

#77 T.J. Oshie
I support March of Dimes. They are dedicated to fighting premature birth. I also have supported the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which is a great event that raises awareness and funds for Alzheimer’a research. www.marchofdimes.org and www.act.alz.org

#4 Taylor Chorney
Team 25 – Shjon Podein Children’s Foundation. This organization is special to me and is dedicated to helping sick children who need it most. They offer assistance to a lot of different organizations. www.givemn.org

#8 Alex Ovechkin
I support the the American Special Hockey Association. This foundation supports players with develop­mental disa­bilities and gives people of all ages and abilities a chance to learn and grow by playing hockey. Also, Make-A-Wish Foundation. They help grant the wishes of children diagnosed with a serious medical conditions.www.americanspecialhockey.org and www.wish.org.

#43 Tom Wilson
I support Teammates for Kids, which does a lot to help kids.  A big part of what they do is support children’s health, education and help offer sports and recreation opportunities to inner city children. www.teammatesforkids.com

#46 Michael Latta
Make-A-Wish Foundation. Monumental has been a great supporter of this organization for many years. www.wish.org

The Washington Wizards
#3, Bradley Beal
I’m big on making awareness of children who are sick, kids in hospitals. That’s what I like to do – buy Christmas gifts for them, for the families who might not be able to be afford gifts. And on Thanksgiving we’ll have food drives for less fortunate families. Those are the main ones I participate in.

#13, Marcin Gortat
I do a lot of things with the Polish military. I send different kids from Poland to the United States to be able to see games – pretty much families who lost a father or mother in Afghanistan or Iraq. I’m sending military kids to camps visiting different bases, doing basketball camps in the base. I interact with the soldiers. At the end of the summer I always have a celebrity game with my celebrities versus members of the Polish Army and we usually have 14,000-15,000 people in the stands. And I have my foundation, too — MG13 “Aim High.”

#22, Otto Porter
One big thing here in D.C. is the homeless. There are a lot of homeless here that need to be attended to, especially here in the Capital. It’s right here in our backyards and a lot of people don’t even realize it. I’m always donating things – clothes, shoes, whatever I can do to help.

#1, Jared Dudley
The big thing for me I’m always big on the Boys and Girls Club. I grew up with that since I was a little kid. At one point in time, my mom didn’t have any money and the Boys and Girls Club gave us Christmas presents so I’m huge into that. It’s giving to the community – the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA’s and hospitals.

#45, DeJuan Blair
Christmas and Thanksgiving are really important. On Christmas, I like to give the less fortunate presents, and on Thanksgiving, I’m giving food out. Those are the two biggest holidays for giving for me.

General Manager, Ernie Grunfeld
A lot of our players give out turkeys to hundreds of families. We have something called Family-to-Family where all of our players buy Christmas gifts for a specific family who doesn’t have it as good as they do. It’s TV’s and all kinds of toys and food to make a little holiday cheer for everybody. Almost all of our players do it and hand-deliver it to their homes.

 

Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal photo courtesy NBA photos

Shooting Star Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal, the Washington Wizards’ fourth-year shooting guard, leaned against the wall at the Verizon Center after an energetic mid-October practice and smiled like a man whose time has come – and for good reason.

The St. Louis native with the silky jump shot and soft-spoken demeanor is entering the final year of his contract feeling healthier than he has in several seasons, and Coach Randy Wittman is looking to him to help lead the team deep into the NBA playoffs. Beal said he is completely healthy after suffering debilitating wrist, leg and toe injuries last season.

“I feel really good,” the six-foot-three-inch guard told On Tap. “I can say that of all my years in the league, I feel the healthiest at this point in terms of my body, energy-wise and everything. I’m just trying to keep it that way.”

The emerging team leader, who helped guide the Wizards to a season opening win against the Orlando Magic, has another reason to smile: He’s no longer the youngest player on the squad. Wizards rookie guard/forward Kelly Oubre Jr. – only 19-years-old – now holds that distinction

“It’s pretty cool not to be the young guy on the team anymore,” said Beal, 23, with a grin. “And it’s also pretty cool to be able to accept a leadership role. I’m doing everything I can to try to lead this team.”

Of course, Beal won’t have to do that alone. His backcourt partner John Wall – the Wizards All-Star point guard – is also healthy and eager to help push the Wizards beyond their post-season sticking point, which for the last two seasons has been the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

Washington posted a 46-36 record last season, accruing the franchise’s most victories since its 1978-79 campaign. The Wizards swept the Toronto Raptors in the first round of the playoffs last season only to be bounced by the Atlanta Hawks in six games in the semi-finals.

The team will miss future Hall of Famer Paul Pierce (now with the L.A. Clippers) at the small forward position, but third-year player Otto Porter – a Georgetown University alum and hometown favorite – has gained experience and savvy at that spot as his minutes have increased over the past two seasons. The off-season acquisition of Jared Dudley, Gary Neal and Alan Anderson will also solidify Washington at the forward position, while the return of veteran big men Nene and Marcin Gortat give the team a strong, athletic inside game.

Despite the disappointing outcome against the Hawks in last season’s playoff loss, Beal offered a glimpse of what he’s capable of. He scored a playoff career-high 28 points with a sprained ankle during the first game of the series. Then, in Game 4, Beal scored 34 points – yet another playoff personal best. Everyone knows Beal can score; now he wants to prove himself on defense. And how is he preparing himself to do that?

“I’m just constantly working on guarding guys who are smaller and quicker than me,” Beal explained. “I’m guarding John (Wall) in practice, guarding guys who are really good who are going to push me to defend. Honestly, it’s a mental thing, you have to be able to want to play defense and want to get involved and defend somebody. As much as I can, that’s what I’m trying to do – trying to guard the best players on each team and trying to shut them down.”

Wall, who dazzled an exhibition crowd in the pre-season practice by swishing a half-court shot followed by a bank shot while seated on the bench, also seemed in high spirits after the Wizards practice. The sixth-year veteran said he’s optimistic about the team’s chances and he, too, is focused on defense.

“The offense is going to have ups and downs,” Wall told On Tap. “You’re gonna make shots, you’re gonna be playing well and move the ball, but when we’re not, then we have to keep our defense at a high intensity and a high level. Coaches want us to get back to giving the ball more pressure than we usually do and do a better job of getting deflections and causing turnovers.”

Wall also said the acquisition of skilled players helps give starters like himself and Beal a chance to recharge and avoid injury.

“Our bench is deeper now, so that helps us out a lot,” Wall added. “When those guys are playing well we can sit out and let them keep rolling.”

Wall wants to help Beal and other Wizards succeed so they, too, can earn the big bucks that will make them want to remain in Washington. Beal is in the final year of a contract that will pay him more than $4 million this season, and the Wizards are expected to sign him to a longer deal by next summer. But they have not offered him enough money to compel him to sign on the dotted line just yet. Wall said he wants to help his teammates all the way to the bank, and the way to do that is by winning games.

“I’m going to help them get paid like we did in the past,” said Wall, who signed a five-year $80 million deal in 2013. “They (Beal and others seeking more money) can look and see how we did it and they will be perfectly fine. Come in and play your role and take open shots and you can find yourself getting into the contract without worrying.”

Beal told On Tap he’s leaving the contract negotiations to his agent and Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunwald. But he made it clear he’d like to keep hanging his jersey in the nation’s capital.

“I love it here,” said Beal, who lives in the Maryland suburbs. “I never get bored here; there is always something to do. I’m kind of a low-key guy but whenever I can, I come to the city and hang out and walk down F Street or U Street and have some fun.”

The Wizards star also threw some love to the city’s fans.

“The fans are awesome,” Beal said. “They have gotten better each and every year and we constantly feed off their energy and support. I think we have some of the best fans in the world, and as long as they continue to support us we’re going to continue to be a good team.”

Catch the Wizards’ home  opener Saturday, Oct. 31 against the New York Knicks. Tipoff is 7 p.m.

Verizon Center: 601 F St. NW, DC; 202-628-3200;  www.nba.com search Wizards

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Capitals Rock the Red Carpet at Verizon Center

The Washington Capitals launched their 2015-16 regular-season home opener with a special red carpet event at Verizon Center. Fans enjoyed an up close and personal experiences with players, while getting autographs, photos and more. Photos: Alex Benedetto