Misery loves company, literally, and nothing epitomizes that more than the professional sports team in Washington D.C. Some may even say they are cursed. You, the reader, if you’re not from D.C. or don’t know much about D.C. sports teams, you’re probably thinking that’s crazy talk. However, to the fans of these franchises, it’s very much something that gets talked about around town or just amongst the fanbases. Some people who are in their twenties or younger, haven’t even seen any sort of success. No D.C. team has seen a championship since the 1991 Washington Redskins and no squad has even played in either a league championship or a league/conference final since 1998 when the Washington Capitals were in the Stanley Cup Finals. Not a curse, eh? How else can you explain it?
The newest of all these teams might be already one of the top heartbreaking clubs for the city. There was baseball in the city, the Washington Senators, from 1901 until 1971 (mind you that there were actually two incarnations of the Senators as the first one moved to Minneapolis to become the Minnesota Twins before the 1961 season and the second one after the 1971 season), but then laid dormant until 2005 when the Montreal Expos moved to the city and became the Washington Nationals. The problem with those 33 years without baseball was that people became fans of team from a city 39 miles to the North on I-95 with the Baltimore Orioles. The Nationals would have a tough task breaking into D.C.
It actually wasn’t too hard as many people seemed like they missed having baseball in the city. Even lot’s of fans of other ball clubs were showing up to games and adopted the Nationals as even a second favorite team. The club became popular and did so quickly. The 2005 season was actually a fun one as the team overachieved and made a run at the playoffs, however, they hit a mid-season swoon and fell out of the race, but finished 81-81. The club then had a few tough years between 2006-2010 where they were so bad, but that was part of the plan as it was a rebuild and things got even better when they hired Mike Rizzo as their general manager as they made some incredible draft picks like landing the best consensus prospect in the draft in Stephen Strasburg in 2009 and Bryce Harper in 2010 with the number one picks. 2011 was a good year even though it was a losing season as there was promise and the youngsters were developing like Ian Desmond and Jordan Zimmermann.
In 2012, their fortunes turned around as they won 98 games, the NL East Division, and secured the number one seed in the NL side of the playoffs. Their first round matchup in the Division Series was with the defending world champions, St. Louis Cardinals. The Nationals won their first game with the Cardinals, but then proceeded to lose the next two. In Game Four, it was a 1-1 score in the bottom of the ninth and everyone thought this contest was going into extra innings. Outfielder Jayson Werth worked a 13-pitch at bat, but the 13th one thrown was hit over the left field wall for a walk off home run and winning the game for the Nationals tying the series at 2-2. In the Game Five, it looked like the Nationals were headed to the National League Championship Series when they got out to a 6-0 lead. The Cardinals kept chipping away, but by when the ninth inning came, the Nationals still lead 7-5. With two runners on and two outs, it seemed like they were moving on. Closer Drew Storen had two strikes on St. Louis batter Daniel Descalso, but Storen threw a pitch that Descalso hit sharply up the middle and a ball that shortstop Ian Desmond could not handle. Tied game. Next batter was Pete Kozma who would proceed to rope a ball to right field scoring two more runs. Cardinals lead 9-7 in a matter of minutes when they were down to their last strike. The Nationals went down in order in the bottom half of the frame and their season was over. While it was heartbreaking, the fanbase felt hopeful for the trajectory of the franchise.
In 2013, manager Davey Johnson proclaimed that it was “World Series or bust.” The team seemed to even improve their roster by nabbing closer Rafael Soriano off the free agent market and traded for center fielder Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins. It looked promising and they even got off to a great start to the season. However, that would not be the case as they won only 86 games.
The next season, in 2014, the squad had a brand new manager in Matt Williams after Johnson retired and improved their roster with pitcher Doug Fister and their catching depth with Jose Lobaton, then making a trade for infielder Asdrubal Cabrera in the middle of the season to play second base when their up and coming star Anthony Rendon had to replace their franchise star Ryan Zimmerman at third base after Zimmerman injured himself. The team caught fire in the second half including having a win streak of 10 games, finishing the season with 96 victories, the NL East Division title, and the number one seed in the NL. Zimmerman came back in time to play as a vital player off the bench and it looked like they had the best squad in the entire league as they were hitting well and pitching lights out. The team they were playing was the San Francisco Giants who limped their way into playoffs and needed to have a first baseman, who barely played any left field, to start in that position. To say the least, the Giants were depleted and injury-riddled, so it was a perfect opportunity for the Nationals to advance the next round. It didn’t quite go the way they wanted it to go. They lost the first game 3-2, but the hope was still there. In Game Two, the Nationals had a 1-0 lead with two outs and it looked like the series was going to be tied. Giants hitter Pablo Sandoval hit a blooper to left field and tied the game at 1-1. The game would go into extra innings, but what transpired was one of the longest postseason games in MLB history as it went 18 innings. In the top of the 18th, San Francisco batter Brandon Belt drove a pitch into the right field seats to take a 2-1 lead and the game winner. The Nationals were down 0-2 in the series. They won Game Three, but Game Four was do or die. In a tight game, down 2-1 in the seventh inning, Bryce Harper punched a home run out of AT&T Park and the game was tied breathing new life and possibly shifting the momentum. That didn’t last long as the Giants took the lead on a wild pitch in the bottom half of the seventh. Two innings later, the Nationals season was over.
Then in 2015, the Nationals made a slew of moves including a blockbuster signing of the former Cy Young winner Max Scherzer to be the ace of their rotation and it looked like they were the team to beat. Despite a slow start to the season, the Nationals went on a huge roll and seemed to be on pace to win the division and nab the number one seed especially behind a breakout season from Bryce Harper who showed how much of a bonafide star he was. However, when did anything ever go right for this team? The club decided to go get Jonathan Papelbon, a top notch closer, midseason from Philadelphia to help make their bullpen better, which had been struggling for a bit. That seemed to make a negative impact on the club as suddenly they started to struggle. The New York Mets then went on a roll and leapfrogged the Nationals for first place for good. The Nationals, however, spiraled into a tailspin that put them even outside of the playoff picture. What symbolized the disaster of the season was in the dugout when an altercation between Papelbon and Harper occurred where Papelbon choked Harper after he felt like Harper wasn’t running enough on a certain play. Papelbon was suspended for the rest of the season. But there it was, another promising season, another disappointing result. Matt Williams was fired at the end of the year and there was another job search for the manager position.
2016 felt different though. They hired Dusty Baker, an accomplished manager over the years with the Giants, Chicago Cubs, and Cincinnati Reds, to become their newest guy to take the reigns of a talented ballclub. They signed infielder Daniel Murphy, who had a breakout 2015 postseason for the Mets, to be their new second baseman and cleanup hitter. The team took off that season as they were clearly the most complete team in the NL East and won that division pretty convincingly. Deep bullpen, great rotation, phenomenal defense, and productive offense and the club looked like they were good enough to make the World Series as they had the most consistent season out of any NL team, even more so than the eventual World Champions that year, the Cubs. Even though the Nationals did not get the one seed, they had home field advantage in the Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Of course it was a tightly contested series and it all came down to the final game. Scherzer was lights out and the club lead 1-0, but in the seventh inning, it came all crashing down when the Dodgers put four runs on the board as Scherzer and the bullpen seemingly forgot how to pitch. While a two run home run cut the Dodgers lead to 4-3, the Nationals lost once again collapsing in spectacular fashion. That feeling where it felt different? Well, it wasn’t different.
In 2017, the Nationals were clearly the best team in the NL East as every other team in the division was under .500 and the club nabbed the division title easily. During the season, the club suffered a lot of injuries, but even when they weren’t healthy, the Nationals still kept winning as they had a lot of depth. One by one each of those key players who were hurt came back and by the time the playoffs were about to start, the team was fully healthy. In the first round, the defending champions, Chicago Cubs, were their matchup. Though having a good stretch in the second half, the Cubs were clearly not as good as the Nationals. Just like the year before, it was a tightly contested series that came down to the final game. Even though the Cubs got off to an early 1-0 lead, the Nationals came back by putting up a four spot in the second inning. It looked like the franchise was finally going to breakthrough. All that agony Nationals fans had endured over the years seemed to finally be over. Well, what has been the common theme been here? Promise then disappointment. Yeah, that’s what happened here. Again. The Cubs cut the lead to 4-3, but then scored four runs in the fifth in what was a disastrous inning with a passed ball, hits batsman, and two errant defensive plays. It was a very bizarre sequence of events that it was so fitting. There were many chances for the Nationals to get back into the game, but it seemed like the baseball gods didn’t want them to as even though the momentum was on their side cutting the Cubs lead down to one run, it just wasn’t meant to be. In a wacky play in the eighth inning, Jose Lobaton was sliding back into first base on an attempted pick off play, but his foot at one point came off the bag and with Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo keeping his glove on Lobaton the entire time, he was called out when the Cubs challenged the play and the replay proved he was out. Then in the ninth, the Nationals were shut down in order. Once again, more heartbreak and in those bizarre sequences, it epitomizes what every D.C. sports fan had endured over the past two decades.
As one can see here, this is a fanbase that has endured a lot of tragedy, but with even all the promise, it just seemed like destiny was not to be had. But the Nationals aren’t even the most tragic sports team in the D.C. area.
The Wizards hadn’t been very successful in 1990s and early 2000s, but once the team acquired guard Gilbert Arenas, it all changed. He and Larry Hughes formed one of the best backcourts in the league. They would make the playoffs in 2004-05 for the first time since 1996-97 and there was a lot of hope. Even though they fell 0-2 to start their series against the Chicago Bulls, they came back to win four straight and made it to the second round to face the Miami Heat where they would get swept. Then in their next three seasons they would make the playoffs and not make it out of the first round. It would take until 2013-14 to make the playoffs again.
In 2013-14, under a new star John Wall, led his team to the playoffs to take on the Bulls in the first round where they won in five games and headed to the second round. They would lose in six games to the Indiana Pacers, but the promise was there as they were an up and coming team.
The next season was even more promising as they picked up veteran player Paul Pierce to help the team grow, which they did. They made it back to the playoffs where they took on the Toronto Raptors and swept them. They took on their division rival, Atlanta Hawks, in the second round and they split the first four games of the series. In Game Five, it was a closely contested game, but in the final seconds of the game Paul Pierce drained a shot to give the Wizards a late lead and seemingly looked to take a 3-2 lead in the series. That would not be the case as the Hawks took the lead with a second left and they lost the game. The Wizards lost Game Six as well in heartbreaking fashion.
The club missed the playoffs the next year, but in 2016-17, they returned and there was a lot more hope. In the first round, they beat the Atlanta Hawks in six games and advanced to the second round. The Wizards played a back and forth series, but ultimately lost to a rising Boston Celtics squad in seven games. That, in and of itself, isn’t too bad. That Game Seven featured Celtics player Kelly Olynyk, of all people, scoring 26 points in a game the Wizards lost by 10 (though that margin masks how close the game was). The Wizards were leading late in the game, but they ultimately fell as D.C. just had two teams lose a Game Seven just within days of one another which made it even harder for the city (the other being the Capitals).
This year represented a fairly typical season for the current iteration of the Wizards (built around John Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter): a lot of experts had this Wizards team as a dark horse Eastern Conference finalist and a likely top four seed in the Playoffs. Instead, the Wizards managed to barely squeak in as the 8th seed and lost to Toronto in six games.
What makes this experience frustrating is not that such success (or lack thereof) happened, it’s that it was entirely predictable.
The Wizards are also a mess of terrible chemistry. Wall and Beal famously dislike each other (or at least are reported to) and Wall feuds with random teammates in a very public manner from time to time. When the Wizards rolled out their “everybody eats” strategy of quick passing and off ball movement during Wall’s injury, Wall ended up in a Twitter flame war with his teammate Marcin Gortat. Nothing about this team functions as it should.
Even worse, the Wizards aren’t competently managed and refuse to change in that regard. The Wizards general manager is Ernie Grunfeld, who has held that position for 15 years. Grunfeld has almost nothing to show for that stretch. Grunfeld’s decision’s have also been leaving the Wizards perpetually bereft of draft picks, and spending on contracts that made little sense even in crazy spending years (i.e. Gortat and Ian Mahinmi’s contracts), the Wizards extended Grunfeld, in secret, before the 2018 playoffs began. The Wizards are content to stick with the guy that’s left them with no means of improvement; the team has almost none of its draft picks and little cap space. Keeping Grunfeld after such a humiliating season is the encapsulation of Wizards fandom: a perpetual dedication to the mediocre. While the Nationals and Capitals are underperforming contenders (which is worse), the Wizards can’t even build well enough around one of the NBA’s best backcourts to reach that tier. That is their contribution to D.C. Sports.
The Redskins are the darlings of the city. Whenever the Redskins play on Sunday, there is no one out on the streets as everyone is packed at home or at bars watching their team play. Many people around the National Football League might not know this, but the Redskins have one of the most faithful, dedicated, and most passionate fans in the entire league. During the 1970s and 1980s, the team was a model franchise that was steeped in tradition and was rich of winning history. Joe Gibbs was the head coach from 1981 till 1992 and is thought of as a god amongst the fanbase as he took the club to eight playoff appearances, four Super Bowl berths, and three championship trophies. He retired after 1992, but the respect around the league for the franchise was high. Sadly, several years later, that would change. They are also the last team to win a championship for the city back in 1991, 27 years ago.
In 1999, the team was bought by Dan Snyder, a communications marketer with his own business. That was the day when everything went bad for the franchise. Of all the clubs in the city, the one that was most beloved, was the one that started all the heartbreak. The Redskins were playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Divisional Round of the 1999 NFL playoffs after winning their contest against the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card round. The game was tightly contested (sensing another pattern here) and it was in the stages of the final seconds where the Redskins had a chance of kicking a field goal to win the game, but the snap was botched and the Buccaneers won the game. It was a 51-yard attempt so it might not have gone through the field goal post, but it’s sort of those weird and wacky plays that the city has seen over and over again in all their sports. The Redskins were the first ones to start that trend.
The next few seasons were bleak for the fanbase as Snyder tried to bring back the winning tradition by nabbing veterans off the free agent market like Jesse Armstead and Deion Sanders, but it seemed like they were all past their primes and never put up any productive numbers. In 2004, Snyder hired Gibbs again to bring back the team to glory, but team fell to another losing record and missed the playoffs. It took until 2005 for the Redskins to make the playoffs, which was a pretty decent team as they went 10-6, but they were never good enough to make a serious run as they lost in the Divisional Round to the Seattle Seahawks (though they did avenge their loss against the Buccaneers in 1999, when they beat them in the Wild Card Round).
The team then made a slew of moves to improve on their success of 2005 for 2006, but that was all for naught as the team went back to their losing ways. In 2007, the team made it back to the playoffs, but barely as they went 9-7. However, during the 2007 season, their prized young star Sean Taylor was shot and killed in a home invasion. It was a rallying cry for the team going into the playoffs, but they lost in the first round.
However, after 2007, the team fell back into oblivion and the team became irrelevant once again.
Then in 2012, it seemed like their fortunes had changed. In the NFL Draft, they had the second pick and decided to take Robert Griffin III, the Heisman winner, to be their everyday quarterback. The city thought that they finally had their franchise quarterback and that there would be long term success. While many didn’t think they would make the playoffs, no one predicted how bad of a start to the season that they had as the team went 3-6. Suddenly, the Redskins caught fire and rattled off seven straight wins to win the East Division title. Their matchup was against Seattle once again, but the Redskins were favorited. They got off to a 14-0 start and it looked like the team was headed to the Divisional Round. However, optimism never works out for people of D.C. and things quickly turned bad. The Seahawks started making progress and started scoring points including taking the lead. While down, the Redskins were still in the game until their prized quarterback, Griffin III (or RG3), injured his knee tearing his ACL, LCL, and meniscus. The entire fanbase held their collective breath as their future suddenly looked bleak after seeing their franchise quarterback go down with a serious injury. The Redskins also wound up losing the game, but the fans were worried more about RG3 than anything else.
The hope was that his knee would fully heal and over the offseason there was a lot of progress in his recovery. Optimism came back to the Redskins faithful, but things were not quite as good as everyone thought.
In 2013 and 2014, RG3 never developed anymore and was seen as a bust. By the beginning of 2015, he was relegated to third string quarterback. However, there was more hope as their backup quarterback, Kirk Cousins, was handed the reigns to be the starter and the team suddenly brought more optimism as they were a young and talented team and won the East Division. Their first round matchup was against the Green Bay Packers and even got off to a 11-0 lead, but because of the Packers experience, they rallied back and defeated the Redskins.
However, there was a lot of hope and the optimism was back, but where has everyone seen that?
Redskins management had a big decision to make, whether to sign Cousins to a long term contract or let him go in the free agent market. The team made the right decision to put the franchise tag on him to see if whether his strong 2015 campaign was a fluke or not. The team also let go of RG3 ending a forgettable era of a failed prospect. It was Cousins’ time to shine.
In 2016, the team got off to a 6-3 start and it looked like they were headed to the playoffs. That didn’t happen, but what happened in the last game of the season was what was even more painful. The Redskins were playing their division rival, the New York Giants who had already clinched a playoff spot and essentially played for nothing in the contest. For the Redskins, all they had to do was win. They played terribly and put themselves in an early hole though they rallied back to tie the game. The Giants took a late 13-10 lead and the Redskins had one last chance to rally again. They moved the ball well, but Cousins threw a ball that was picked off and the playoffs were dashed. While disappointing, there was more optimism that this team was on the right trajectory.
The Cousins contract saga continued as it seemed like the management were still not satisfied and gave him the franchise tag again. But that wasn’t the only other saga happening in the organization as the team decided to fire their general manager Scott McCloughan, who was thought of as a great evaluator of talent. They used his struggles of alcoholism as the reason why they fired him, but it seemed more like it was more of a power struggle than anything. Fans were outraged and many called for president of football operations to be ousted. That never happened.
And finally, in 2017, the team looked like they were off to a really great start and even one executive proclaimed the Redskins to be a really good team, but something happened to the team that hurt them. Literally. Injuries hampered the squad all season long as they signed so many players off the street in order fill in the holes and they were never able to fully play at the healthiest they could have been and not reaching their potential. The team fell to 7-9, but there still was reason for hope until the offseason when the club decided to move on from Cousins by trading for Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith despite three seasons of very productive years from Cousins. Fans, again, groaned about all the incompetent moves this franchise kept making. While there is optimism for 2018, fans are still upset over how the team let a productive quarterback like Cousins go.
Snyder on the other hand has been the absolute worst owner in all of sports even without all the incompetent football moves that were made. He once decided to sue some season ticket holders. He’s also had issues with how The Washington Post covered the team as he didn’t quite like how they were doing their coverage. He seems to not care about interests of the fanbase as he makes decisions that only he wants to see. He has taken this once model franchise into a laughingstock. Just another tragic story for D.C. sports considering they are darlings of the town.
Ironically, the most tragic of all the teams in the city are the ones who last made it past the second round in the playoffs back in 1998. They lost to the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals, but no one knew this would be the last time any D.C. team would advance past the second round.
Where this story begins is during the current era of the Capitals, the Rock The Red Era as it’s called. It was started when the team drafted Alex Ovechkin to be their franchise player and what they got was something quite spectacular. He is one of the greatest goal scorer’s in this generation and it’s been awesome to watch. However, in his first few seasons, the team was awful. In the 2007-08 season, the team got off to a terrible start, but the team decided to fire their head coach and hired a man named Bruce Boudreau to be the man in charge. From there, the team then got off on a roll and rallied on to win the Southeast Division. Their first round matchup was against Philadelphia and it went seven games, but they ultimately lost. Game Seven’s have been a common theme for this team so keep that in mind. However, there was a lot of promise with this team.
The next season, the Capitals played some of the best hockey as they won 50 games and nabbed the two seed in the playoffs. They won their first round matchup with the New York Rangers and won that series. Their next matchup would be with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who would also be a common name in this section. The Capitals won the first two games of the round and it looked like they were going to the second round. However, they would lose the next three games and were one game away from being eliminated. The Capitals would win Game Six setting up a Game Seven showdown in D.C. for the right to move to the Conference Finals. The hype was there and many thought it was going to be a classic game, however, if been following along the common motifs of D.C. sports, it didn’t quite go that way as they lost 6-2.
The next season was even better as they won the President’s Trophy (the trophy for the best team in the league that season) with 121 points and the number one seed in the conference. They were leading 3-1 in their first round series against the Montreal Canadiens and it looked like it was they were going to the second round. Well, they didn’t as they would lose their next three games when goaltender Jaroslav Halak for the Canadiens suddenly became impenetrable and were ousted in the first round. The city drowned their sorrows as another promising season was wasted away.
In the 2010-11 season, the Capitals won 48 games, the Southeast Division, and the one seed once again in the conference. Their first round matchup was against the New York Rangers and won with ease as they took the series 4-1. But in the second round, it was once again all for naught as they were swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning. Just another disappointing season for the Capitals.
For the 2011-12 season, the Capitals didn’t play well enough to win the division, but they qualified for the playoffs and had a date with the defending champions, the Boston Bruins. It was a hard fought series, but the Capitals came out on top with a dramatic overtime winner from Joel Ward and they moved on to the second round. There they would play the best team in the conference, the New York Rangers, and it was a tightly contested series as it went seven games. The team relied on a young, but up and coming star to play as their starting goalie, Braden Holtby. In Game Seven, it was hard fought, but ultimately lost the game 2-1 and their season was over. However, the hope was that Holby would develop into a top notch goalie. And he most certainly did as he became a Vezina winner (award given to the best goalie that season) later in his career and earned the name Holtbeast.
The 2012-13 season was strike shortened as they would play roughly half of a season, but they would win the Southeast division once again and had the three seed. In the first round they took on the Rangers again and even held a 3-2 lead, but when was it ever easy for this team as they lost the next two, lost the series, ended their season, and another bitter disappointment for the fanbase.
Even more disappointment happened when the next season, the squad didn’t even qualify for the playoffs, but the next year, they came back stronger and earned the two seed in the Metropolitan Division side of the Eastern Conference. There they faced the New York Islanders and grinded out a series victory in seven games to take on the Rangers, who were the best team in the division. The Capitals would win the three of the first four games of the series and it looked like they were on to the next round. Then again, this is D.C. sports and this was seen before. The team would lose the next three games including a stunning 2-1 loss in overtime. Another opportunity to end the drought for D.C. teams and it was squandered.
However, there was more hope as in the offseason they traded for T.J. Oshie, a star player from St. Louis, to pair up with Ovechkin, and it looked like they had the best team in the league. That 2015-16 season proved to be that as they crushed their competition as they earned 120 points and won the President’s Trophy gaining home ice advantage in the playoffs. Their first round matchup was against Philadelphia and won in six games advancing to the second round. There they took on the Penguins for the second time in the playoffs since the Rock The Red Era started. It was expected to be an epic clash and the first game seemed like that was going to happen when Oshie scored a game winner in overtime in dramatic fashion. The hope was there, the optimism was through the roof, and the fans were excited. This seemed different, it didn’t feel like any of the other years. It had to be the year they would win and finally bring a trophy to Washington, D.C. Well, the next three games the Capitals would lose and fell into a 3-1 deficit. They would win Game Five, but would lose in the Game Six in such a crushing way. The season was over just like that.
In 2016-17, it was even higher expectations as they were even better and played better defense that led to another President’s Trophy. Once again they dominated in the regular season and even trading for defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk from St. Louis to improve their defense. Their first round matchup was against the Toronto Maple Leafs and they won that series 4-2. Who was their next round matchup with? The Pittsburgh Penguins, again. The Capitals lost three of the first four games of the series and it looked like the season would end in disappointment once again. However, the Capitals suddenly played like they did in the regular season and won the next two contests in convincing fashion to force a Game Seven, back in D.C. and with the momentum. It seemed like the time had finally come. However, it was just another tragic ending as they lost Game Seven 2-0 despite outplaying Pittsburgh. Just like the season was over, once again.
The Capitals have been the most tragic of all the teams as they have always brought the most hope and to the city, but always it ended with heartbreak. They have been the most successful and have gotten the best opportunity to bring a championship the last two decades than all the other D.C. teams, but have always lost.
What could go wrong always did go wrong for any of the D.C. sports teams. It almost seems statistically impossible for what these teams have done, but it has. And it’s not just only a championship drought, it’s not even being able to play for a league/conference championship that makes it even more hard to digest. Not a curse, eh? Seriously, how else can you explain it?
*As of this article being written, the Capitals currently hold a 3-2 lead in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
*Dan Nicotera contributed to this article in the Wizards section.