What an absolute whirlwind the last few weeks have been. In hindsight, my feelings about the Washington Capitals and the way things were meant to happen ended up being spot-on. This team, that many thought wouldn’t even make the post season won the Stanley Cup! The raw emotion and pure joy on the faces of the boys when that final horn sounded is something I will never forget. They looked as though the weight of the world, the goalie “controversies”, the negativity from media and fans, and the dreaded DC “curse”, had all been washed away as each and everyone of them took their celebratory lap with Lord Stanley.
Like a lot of people, I have the usual fears of things such as spiders and snakes, and heights. I also am very claustrophobic when it comes to huge crowds and tight spaces. The last time I put myself in a situation like that was during a hurricane relief concert after the devastation of Andrew in 1992 (yep that dates me). I was determined though to be part of the celebration when MY team brought the party back to DC.
Since we knew downtown and transportation would be a madhouse, we decided to stay in town the night before and after the parade; one of the payoffs of having a husband that travels is the ability to book travel and hotels with his loyalty points.
We started our trek to get a perfect spot for the parade (we decided the mall would be too crowded for me and would watch the coverage on it later) at 8:00AM. By 8:15 we had found the perfect spot and began the more than three hour wait for the parade to begin;
Yes, my husband rolled his eyes at the absurdity of it and yet he patiently waited with me; (we’ve been together since we were sixteen so nothing about me surprises him any longer). We passed the time by having conversations with fellow Caps’ fans and chatting with DC’s finest, the men and women there, to make sure we had a great time all the while keeping things safe. They interacted with the masses by handing out rally towels; I think they had one or two, or three for everyone along the parade route. They kept the crowd pumped and entertained during the long wait.
It was so strange seeing some of the boys already clean-shaven, and honestly I had to do a double take to recognize a couple of them. My only negative critique of the event (I’m sure it was logistically impossible) was the lack of restrooms along the parade route. We were lucky to have found a shaded spot but I myself didn’t drink anything for four plus hours because there was literally NO way to make it to and from the mall where they were located; bless those that had iron bladders.
Being a season ticket holder, we were given the opportunity to have our picture taken with the Stanley Cup. We were given a little over twenty-four hours to respond, so just like next man up with the team, my son-in-law accompanied me because of the uncertainty of my husbands’ schedule. It was an exciting thirty seconds of my life; the amount of time allotted with Lord Stanley; speed dating hockey style with lasting memories.
With the season being extended far beyond any of our own expectations I am finding it hard to acclimate myself into a normal summer routine. For the first time I have watched the exit interviews in real-time, because they weren’t filled with talk of season failures and the boys looked relaxed and happy. I don’t think the full extent of what they accomplished this season will hit me until I watch them raise the banner in October.
The ceremony will most certainly bring both tears of joy and a few of sadness knowing that some of the team that were a part of this winning regular and post season success won’t be there for the celebration.
I understand first and foremost that hockey as a sport is a business but I personally will dread the day, and it may be sooner rather than later, that Jay Beagle is no longer a Capital. He always took the time to make each and every fan feel special and I for one will feel a sense of loss if he is not brought back for next season. We also now know that Barry Trotz will not be returning. Having met him I can attest he is a wonderful human being and was always just as excited to meet the fans of the team as we were to meet him. He had a great respect for the “ladies” of hockey and our passion and knowledge of the sport. I wish him the best in whatever comes next for himself and his family.
One last detail I need to attend to before I “try”and go back to my non hockey life for a wee bit until the excitement of a new season is upon us. Before the start of the Stanley Cup Finals I promised the hockey gods I would get a tattoo if the boys won. True to my word, it will be my very first tattoo. My kids initially couldn’t believe I was serious and now can’t wait to see the finished product. The what and where to have it done are still being sorted out but I only hope in the words of Jakub Vrana,” it DOESN’T hurt worse than getting hit by a hockey puck”. Wonder if Holtby would be willing to hold my hand? This team will always share a special bond because of what they were able to achieve together; we as fans who love and support this team will as well.
By Lisa Desabrais