Tomorrow is a bigass waste of time. I am a grown adult, which means that the majority of my decisions are based around tomorrow. I save money. I go to bed at a reasonable hour. I don’t do crack. Tomorrow dictates a great deal of my actions, which is a shame because today is RIGHT HERE to be celebrated and enjoyed and fully lived in. And so it’s quite something to bear witness to thousands upon thousands upon thousands of people out in the street all collectively decide FUCK ALL THAT and have themselves a moment together.
The Washington Capitals, for whom winning was once a mere harbinger of something awful happening tomorrow, are Stanley Cup champions. This is not my title to horn in on, so for posterity’s sake, here’s my fully objective and drunken reporting from downtown D.C. on the night they clinched the city’s first major sports title in 26 years:
• Before heading into the mass, I went to a liquor store on Connecticut Avenue to grab myself some travel whiskey. There was a flock of bros stocking up on tall boys in line, and they were gently arguing with the clerk about wanting the Capitals to finish off the series in five games. The clerk, understandably, wanted the series to go SEVEN games, because more games meant more drunk customers for him. Eventually, all parties politely agreed to disagree.
• I couldn’t get into the arena because, as you might have heard, the watch party inside and the Mystics game preceding it became such hot tickets that people were shelling out hundreds of dollars for them. So I was out on H street, in front of the National Portrait Gallery, standing in a crowd that grew by the thousands seemingly every second. This area of city was not prepared—and why would it be?—to host such a mass viewing. The game was displayed on two screens in front of the gallery, but those screens were blocked by a few trees (a FUCK THAT TREE chant broke out at one point), and this shipping container:
Real estate on top of the shipping container became quite valuable. As more drunks attempted to scale it, the other drunks on the ground became increasingly, surprisingly concerned about the safety of everyone on top. One man fell off the container but managed to get a hold of the edge before falling to his death. It was better than any stunt sequence in the Mission: Impossible franchise.
As you know, climbing is a vital part of the fan riot experience. It’s an extremely stupid and dangerous thing to do, but also perfectly understandable. It’s hard to see much of anything when you’re surrounded, on all sides, by other human beings. And it’s even harder to be seen. What do you do about it? Where do you go? My friend, you go UP. You go up to the sky!
• The man in front of me had weed on him, so I mustered up the courage to tap him on the shoulder and ask him for a hit in exchange for a pull of my whiskey. He was more than happy to oblige. That man is now my best friend. The rest of you are losers.
• There was also a FUCK ISIS sign. And look, I agree: fuck ISIS, man. But right now?
• A helicopter circled over us the entire time, presumably to get NBC all those pretty crowd shots you saw on your teevee last night. Eventually, the crowd started cheering for the helicopter, because why not. The dude behind me, who looked like the Foo Fighters drummer, shouted out CHOPPER! at random intervals. I appreciated it.
• This was not an anxious crowd last night. These fans were all but certain the Capitals would win, and with good reason. If you watched this series, you knew the Capitals were the bigger, deeper, better team, and that they had Vegas essentially solved. And so the scoreless first period was met less with nervous tremors than mass impatience. Come on, men. Let’s get this the fuck over with so we can get naked.
• I have good news for you, which is that the lead singer of Sublime is actually still alive and well:
My man painted his whole head red but then, at some point, wiped it all off. So he head was just lightly stained red when he walked past.
• And here’s an empty bottle of wine sitting on a cop car. Takes a lot of guts to use a cop car as a coaster. REBELLION!
• These were Capitals fans, and so of course the crowd consisted of a great many bros. Bros in jerseys. Bros vaping. Bros shouting. Bros drunkenly tripping over curbs. Bros sitting on golf chairs in the middle of the street. And while we goof on bros here, the obvious truth is that I am a bro, and that I greatly enjoy bro culture when it’s done right. And these bros, my brosephs, bro-ed out PERFECTLY last night. The bros were happy, and friendly, and very happy to see you. Perhaps it’s time we reconsider the bro, in all its forms.
• I have never personally borne witness to a town celebrating a championship, so let me tell you what happens when the game is over and the screens turn off and the crowd is finally allowed to do what they came to do: NO ONE KNOWS WHERE TO GO. There were tens of thousands of people down in Chinatown, and none of them were content to stand still. But there was no DESTINATION to seek out. It was just people self-parading from street to street, high-fiving and shouting as cars honked jolly horns and bros climbed things they shouldn’t have been climbing. It was, in the nicest possible way, chaos. And I don’t blame the fans for not quite knowing what to do with themselves, because for a long time they didn’t expect to be here, in this moment. They were 100,000 puppies finally chasing down the mail truck.
• Because D.C., of course, has been waiting for this moment for a very long time. You could tell the people here chafed at the idea of being a minor league sports town, as noted dipshit Mike Wilbon said. If that was ever the case, it isn’t now. It’s a strange and transformative thing, to see a fanbase win a title. It’s not merely a show of support, but it’s also something of a rebirth. These Caps fans, once they sweat out the toxins, are not going to be the fans they once were. There is a pride, and a confidence, that will radiate out from them for years and years and years. That always has the chance to curdle into something awful (see: Boston), but for now it remains in its delightful infancy.
These Caps fans finally reached the end of something very long and difficult last night, and now they get to begin a whole new existence as fans of a champion. Thanks to that particular today, tomorrow’s gonna be better for them. And that’s a nice thought. Truly, they have climbed the tallest of poles. In the words of a delirious Alex Ovechkin last night, that is “so much cool.” Drink up, my bros.