Christmas in our little family tends to be more about the love and the thought than the size of the gift. I have to say Santa Michelle jammed an awesome gift down the chimney.
I was a kid when the Washington Capitals franchise was born, and I decided I wanted to be a fan of a team from the very beginning. So thanks to the nighttime AM radio boost rules, sometimes I was able to twist my little shitty radio in the right direction to pick up their games through the static 350 miles away on WTOP.
They won 8 games that inaugural season; a whole different expansion scenario than when the Vegas Golden Knights came into the league two seasons ago.
A whole lot has happened since - a whole lot of losing, some success in the 90s, and the streak of haplessness that landed us Alex Ovechkin. It was a long and winding road to winning that Stanley Cup over Vegas in 2018! The Caps were the winningest NHL franchise over this past decade, and over the last 37 years since their first resuscitation from life support.
And in all those years, I've never been to a game. Til today. Santa's gift - a 12:30 game against San Jose on a postcard perfect winter afternoon in DC. Everything was perfect - the Metro ride, getting there in plenty of time to see the pregame skate at ice level, the seats with a great view the length of the ice, honoring Ovi's 10-year anniversary as Captain today. Except that the Sharks had our number for 59 minutes. Last year we had a 4 goal lead late in the 2nd period that they erased with a second left, and we lost in overtime.
However, a hockey game is 60 minutes. And this time it was the Caps doing something they'd never done in the 45 years I've been a fan - came from two goals down in the last minute to force overtime. And sure enough, after Braden Holtby kept us alive with two spectacular saves, the Caps' Lars Eller potted the game-winner two minutes into overtime.
An early dinner at Carmine's, a lovely walk down to Metro Center in late day light by the Smithsonian Museum of Art, and a happy train ride home in the twilight. I won't forget this day :) Most especially the thought and the love behind it. What Christmas between spouses is when everything works perfectly. May I be lucky enough to reflect this one back somehow!
PS Check out the Anthem done by Voices of Service, as splendid as I've ever heard a vocal arrangement. If you saw them on America's Got Talent, you know what a treasure we have here in the DMV.