Being in Las Vegas the night the Capitals won the Stanley Cup was a professional high. Broadcasting those moments as the players skated around the ice, Cup overhead, the realization not only of their dreams but the dreams of Caps fans everywhere... that was the best night of my career.
But Parade Day was a close second.
We had to get to our stage very early that morning. You could already feel the excitement in the air. Even before the sun came up. This was going to be a party unlike any this city has seen since the Redskins last Super Bowl title. But that was almost 30 years ago. This had the feel of something different. Something special.
.@RobCarlinNBCS is already at the parade, are you?— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) June 12, 2018
He's joining @JunksRadio RIGHT NOW to share the sights and sounds of the #ALLCAPS championship parade.
📱: https://t.co/6yqzxQyqrG pic.twitter.com/G50LPb8gLD
It did not disappoint.
Michael Jenkins & I made friends with a group of fans near our set. Those guys came equipped with airplane sized bottles of many different kinds of liquor. And they were sharing. So we were drinking. Sure, it might have been around 9 am. But it felt like it was 5 o’clock somewhere. So the insanity began.
Capitals Championship Parade Live: watch the parade and rally RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW. https://t.co/ZrZu0zoOAN— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) June 12, 2018
We had people lined up and down Constitution Ave. We had the parade covered from every angle. When we caught our first glimpse of the Cup, it still felt surreal. This was really happening. In DC. The demons had been exorcised. The black cloud that followed the city’s sports teams had been replaced with a bright sun and it was shining down on everyone. And it felt like everyone was there. The whole city. It was a sea of red for as far as the eye could see.
And what better backdrop. The Monument on one end. The Capitol on the other. Delirious Caps fans lined the mall in between. It was amazing.
Nicklas Backstrom said he used to envision a parade down Constitution Ave every time he drove to work. He said the parade far surpassed even his wildest expectations.
When Barry Trotz addressed the crowd, he beautifully paraphrased Martin Luther King. Saying, “We had a dream.” The dream was realized. Yet, it still felt like we were living inside that dream.
Ted Leonsis thanked the fans. And the community. His dream was to unite the city. To have his franchise bring people together. His dream was playing out right in front of his eyes. Not many people get to experience that in a lifetime. You could see in his face how much this meant to him and his family. Which, at that moment, extended to the entire fan base.
And, of course, Ovi summed it all up when he stopped the music at the end of the parade for one final statement. His reminder to the fans of how far this team had come that season.,
That’s a mic drop moment if there ever was one.
For us, it was the culmination of the wildest two-month rides of our lives. Seeing Alan May tear up when they won the Cup. Then seeing him get emotional again when his team was celebrated in his city... that was all worth it.
The parade was over. The party was not.
Walking through the city was phenomenal. Everyone smiling, everyone enjoying the moment. I high-fived strangers in the street. I shared a drink or two along the way.
We all made our way to Penn Quarter Sports Tavern. Alan arranged for us to have our own personal keg on the top floor. It was packed. Horn Guy & Loud Goat were leading the chants. Somehow, we all ended up doing inverted keg stands to see who could do it the longest. It was being broadcast by Steve Czaban on 980. I know that because some guys stopped me at the end of the night and said they were listening to the play-by-play on the radio. It was all so crazy. It was all so fun.
I’d sign up for another summer like that right now!
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