[Editor's Note: Instead of rocking the red at Verizon Center for game two on Saturday, five-year Caps season ticket holder Ilan was at his brother Eyal's graduation at Indiana University. Enjoy.]
I am a long-time hockey fan, long-time Caps fan, and season-ticket holder. My brother and I grew up playing hockey and sweating the Caps hardcore. When I was in high school, we converted our basement into an indoor rink, and while pretending we were Olaf Kolzig, Craig Berube, and Peter Bondra, we wreaked havoc to the tune of drywall crumbling and light bulbs bursting. It was awesome.
Now for the not-so-awesome: I had to miss game two. My brother actually managed to graduate college this year, and his graduation ceremony was scheduled for that Saturday in Bloomington, Indiana. I thought about skipping his graduation but I am not a douche. Instead we tried to convince our mom to let us skip the festivities of the graduation at Indiana University and fly my brother home for game 2. No dice. Then I found out the worst part: we had to be at the ceremony at 2 pm. I wanted to die.
We found our seats in the nosebleeds of the assembly hall with the score still 0-0. They didn’t have the game playing on the jumbotron, so I had to resort to my DROID, which I made sure to charge before. I found my brother sitting about two-thirds of the way back from the stage. I checked my phone and realized the third period was just underway, still 0-0.
The anxiety of not being able to watch after having been there for every home playoff game the past five years got to me. I was sweating through my shirt. I looked down at my brother during stoppages and saw my brother was also checking his phone. I looked back to mine.
Stoppage – Goalie Freezes Puck (Breathe…. Breathe….)
WAS Shot on goal – Chimera (ARGHHHH)
NYR Shot on Goal – R. Nash (HOLTBY!!!!!!)
All the while, some guy with a doctorate and Nobel Prize was teaching everyone how to be awesome. And then it happened:
WAS Penalty to Troy Brouwer – 2 mins slashing (Please no! – longest 2 minutes of my life)
I couldn’t bear it, so I rabbit-punched my sleeping dad in the shoulder until the penalty was over. Then I got this text from my brother: “OVERTIME”.
When Steve Oleksy got called two minutes for delay of game, I said “#$@*”, and I could feel 100 parents glaring at me, not to mention the six-year-old sitting behind me wearing the tool bag tie-shirt-vest combo, learning some new words. The Caps killed the penalty, and I sighed “holy #$&%”. People are staring at me angrily now, and I am not caring.
My sports app told me “penalty to Ryan McDonagh – 2 minutes for Delaying Game.” I stood up and pumped my fist, immediately scolded by parents watching the ceremony. I let them know it was okay because the Caps were on a power play. They told me to shut up. (Ungrateful.)
I was hitting the refresh button on my phone like an 8-year-old with ADHD trying to get the last bit of sugar out of a pixie stick, and then it happened. Caps 1 – NYR 0. There was no player credited with the goal yet, but I didn’t care. I woke my dad up with a slap to the face and whispered “WE #$&%ING DID IT!!!” But before I could do that, I heard a student below scream.
I looked down to the sea of black robes. I located the source of the sound and saw a spot of white. In my sister’s crappy cell phone photo, you can clearly see my one student standing up during the commencement ceremony, ripping his robe open to reveal a white CAPS road jersey. That student was my brother, and he is awesome. Don’t you forget that. You can see him holding his phone too. He is calling me to celebrate. All the while the ceremony is still going on. Other students stood to see what had happened. They were paying as much attention to the ceremony as our sleeping father was.
We did a toast after the ceremony. It was awesome.
Note: Ilan’s letter was edited for length and celebratory profanity.