Originally written on Sportaholics Anonymous  |  Last updated 10/23/14
Watching the Washington Capitals in the NHL Playoffs is hazardous to my health.

Each of the last four years, I have become so engrossed while watching the Washington Capitals during the playoffs that my reactions have caused me severe mental and physical distress.  My disorder has even affected those close to me. Examine my case history:

2011 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 4 versus Tampa Bay Lightning.  This was not a very enjoyable series to watch, and by the time Game 4 was played, I had reached my boiling point.  When Tampa Bay tacked on the last goal in a blowout win to clinch the series, I found the nearest inanimate object - an empty plastic cup - and smacked it across the room.  My wife asked me later if I was alright, thinking something had fallen over.

2011 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 4 versus New York Rangers.  This was an eventful game in an eventful series.  Washington fell down 3-0 but slowly came back, eventually tying the game to force overtime.  While down in the basement, I watched the first extra period end without a goal.  The game was eventually won in the second overtime, on an opportunistic goal by Jason Chimera.  I jumped up and down to celebrate, but bounced my head off the low ceiling.

2010 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 7 versus Montreal Canadiens.  Truly a sickening game.  Montreal led 1-0 for most of this game, but the Capitals opened the third period with a goal by Alex Ovechkin.  However, Mike Knuble was standing near the Canadiens goalie and the referee immediately waved off the goal, claiming goalie interference.  After the ruling stood, I text messaged my friend who was watching the game at his house, telling him "If this game is decided by that call, I'll be sick to my stomach."  The Capitals lost the series after losing the game by one goal.  Sure enough, the following day I almost became physically ill two separate times while dealing with my grief.

2009 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 7 versus Pittsburgh Penguins.  The shock of this game almost put me in a coma for a week.  The memories of watching one of the most disturbing Game 7 performances I have ever seen in any sport still haunt me to this day.  In fact, I can barely talk about it.

2009 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 7 versus New York Rangers.  I was watching this game on the first floor of my house while my mother-in-law was in the basement.  Since the game was scoreless for such a long time, I became very quiet and my mother-in-law seemingly forgot I was watching the game.  When Sergei Fedorov scored late in the third period to break the tie and ultimately win the game, I shouted out loud in celebration.  My mother-in-law was startled and exclaimed "JESUS!!!"

2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 6 versus Philadelphia Flyers.  The incident that caused my disorder.  Once the game entered overtime, I was so anxious that I stood up for the duration.  When Alex Ovechkin scored the winner to force Game 7, I jumped in the air to celebrate.  By doing so, I smashed the lamp hanging on the ceiling above me.  I survived the ordeal, but the lamp was never the same.

As you can clearly see, watching the Washington Capitals in the playoffs can put my health and well-being in serious jeopardy.  The only cure for my disorder is a dose of the sweet elixir of victory.

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