When I first got to Washington, D.C., in 2002, the sports landscape was pretty barren.
There was no baseball. The Capitals were in the beginning stages of a rebuild due largely in part to the underachievement of Jaromir Jagr. The Wizards had some guy wearing a No. 23 jersey, but it wasn't really Michael Jordan and the kid he drafted No. 1 overall in Kwame Brown never grew up to be a man in D.C. The Redskins were starting the Steve Spurrier and Patrick Ramsey eras, and we all know how that turned out.
There have been some bright spots here and there during the past 10 years, but there has never been more to be collectively thankful for in our nation's capital then right now in 2012. In the spirit of the season, here is a partial list of the things I'm thankful for when it comes to the D.C. sporting landscape.
* A franchise quarterback in Robert Griffin III, who is just as amazing in the way he carries himself off the field as he is with football in his hands.
* A running back selected in the sixth round in Alfred Morris, who is the closest thing the Redskins have had to a pure bruising NFC East style running back since Stephen Davis.
* Ted Leonsis, who as owner of the Wizards and Capitals, has diligently tried to change the culture of both. The Capitals' rebuild is almost complete with Lord Stanley's Cup the last piece of the puzzle. The Wizards are a much different story, but I'm thankful to be rid of Andre Blatche and the other players that were part of the problem and not the solution.
* Capitals Forward Joel Ward for showing tremendous class in the face of some very tasteless comments by Boston Bruins fans.
* Kastles owner Mark Ein for attempting to revitalize the waterfront in Southwest D.C. and also for bringing in Venus and Serena Williams. My dad is smitten with Serena and can't wait to come down from New Jersey each summer to spent time watching his favorite athlete. He used to like coming down to see his only son, but I have been replaced.
* Redskins players Lorenzo Alexander, London Fletcher and Santana Moss for understanding what it means to be a professional.
* Redskins tight end Chris Cooley for the refreshingly honest way he has handled the sometimes brutal and unfair business of the NFL
* Ben Olsen for doing an outstanding job as D.C. United head coach and bringing the black and red back to the playoffs. I played against Ben in college so to see him do well as a professional player and now as a coach is pretty cool.
*Dan Snyder for staying in the background and for his willingness to spend money to make his Redskins better.
* The Leaner family and the rest of the Nationals organization for giving us a baseball season to remember.
* Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo for sticking to his guns with the whole Stephen Strasburg shutdown.
* All the folks over at Events D.C. who have done a fine job in keeping good ol' RFK stadium alive with great sporting events all year round.
* The public relations and community relations staff of each team and university who keep media folks informed and in check.
* All the ushers and hospitality personnel at each venue in the Washington, D.C., area that greet and seat thousands upon thousands of patrons with a smile while dealing with game day drama that would blow your mind.
Give me your thoughts on any of the things listed above and please feel free to add to this list about D.C. or your favorite sports market.