Four years ago, Evan Markley — a Blackhawks fan from Chicago — moved with his family to Edgewater, Maryland. The move forced the teenager to make new friends. In eighth grade he met someone who would become very special to him: Jessica.
Jessica and Evan had a lot in common. They both played soccer. They both loved hockey. Jessica was a diehard Capitals fan; her family owns season tickets.
Markley grew fond of his new area team. “The Caps are definitely my second favorite now,” Markley tells me.
He also grew fond of Jessica.
Now 16-years-old, tall, and handsome, Markley is a junior at Anne Arundel County’s South River High School along with Jessica. “We’ve just always been friends,” Markley said. “But for the last six or seven months I’ve wanted to date her.”
Worried they might never be more than friends, Markley wanted to do something bold to profess his feelings. So he decided to ask Jessica to Homecoming and go the promposal route. And that’s where Tom Wilson enters this story.
“Not a lot of people, at the schools in my area at least, go to Homecoming with a date,” Markley said, echoing my own homecoming experience from twelve years ago. “So when someone does ask, they usually do it in some semi-extravagant or significant way, often involving posters with puns.”
Yes. I like where this is going.
“Jessica has been a really big fan of Tom’s ever since he was drafted,” Markley said. “It’s no secret. She talks about how he’s playing or tweets about him on a fairly regular basis.”
Markley knew Willy Baby was his in.
“I threw around a few ideas of what I could put on a poster to hold up and decided on ‘I’m no Tom Wilson, but can I be your WING-man @ homecoming,'” Markley said. “I thought it would be a nice little play on words, since Wilson plays right wing.”
Yes, it is.
The next questions to answer were when to ask and what to wear. Markley decided last Friday’s South River’s varsity football game against Annapolis was the perfect time. A nice touch would have been to wear a Wilson jersey, but Markley didn’t have one. That required some quick thinking.
“The only person I knew with a Wilson jersey was Jessica,” Markley said. “So I talked to her younger sister, Melanie, and she took the jersey out of Jessica’s closet without her knowing.”
On the way to the game, Markley picked up some flowers. He wanted Jessica’s two siblings, including her older sister Stephanie, to be there. At half time they arrived. He threw on Jessica’s Wilson jersey.
“I went up to where she was standing, with my poster and the flowers,” Markley said. “I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure what she would say but I had a feeling she would say yes so I tried to keep the nerves down and just went for it.”
Jessica, smiling ear-to-ear, was speechless.
“What do you say,” Markley asked, hoping for an affirmative answer.
“Yes!” Jessica exclaimed.
Like a Tom Wilson punch to Brayden Schenn’s face, Markley’s advance connected.
“Everyone around was super excited to see it all go down and the cameras all came out,” Markley said. “Everybody got a ton of pictures of the whole thing. Some people clapped, some gave a general awww or that’s so cute and there was just a lot of positive energy about it by everyone.”
Later that night, a beyond happy Markley decided to tweet out the photos. He tagged Tom Wilson, Jessica’s favorite athlete. Wilson retweeted.
— EvDawg (@double00evan) September 26, 2015
By the next day, the tweet had 158 retweets and nearly 600 favorites. Even one of Markley’s friends, a Bruins fan, remarked, “despite my hatred for Tom Wilson and for the Caps, this is pretty sick.”
A few days later, Markley is living the dream. He and Jessica are dating. On October 17, they will attend their first hockey game together. The Carolina Hurricanes are traveling to Verizon Center to take on the Caps. Maybe the couple will be able to thank Wilson in person.
“Even though my hair isn’t as luscious as Tom’s, thank you for being my amazing homecoming date,” Markley said, after asking if he could end the story with a personal message to Jessica. “And thanks for having two awesome sisters, who were a big help with the whole thing!”
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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