But the biggest celebration may have occurred the next morning in Maryland. To start each school day, Takoma Park Middle School airs a morning announcements show called Wake Up Takoma that is shown in all classrooms.
Monday’s edition was fantastic because it was very Caps heavy.
The announcements start with Mr. Wilson reading the pledge of allegiance. On this day, the video production and media literacy teacher wore an Alex Ovechkin Winter Classic jersey.
After telling the kids they can be seated, Mr. Wilson pulls up his jersey proudly and whispers into the camera, “Let’s! Go! Caps!”
The video crossfades to the hosts of Wake Up Takoma, Anika D. and Isaac N., both wearing Caps jerseys. Their top story was, duh, the Caps.
“The Washington Capitals defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime of Game Six to send them to the second round of the NHL playoffs,” Isaac begins.
Everyone in the taping room cheers loudly.
“They now move on to face the vile, odious, monstrous Pittsburgh Penguins, the most evil team in the history of major league sports,” Anika says. Loud boos fill the room.
“May they finally have the strength to slay the beast”
A “Let’s! Go! Caps!” chant then breaks out. The segment ends as the hosts’ mics fly off their sweaters while celebrating.
The video shows just how much Caps hockey has grown in this area. When I went to middle school in Frederick County 20 years ago, I was the only kid who would show up to class in a Caps jersey. I, apparently, wasn’t the only one who experienced something like this.
“When I went to Whitman High School in Montgomery County, no one knew or cared about the Capitals,” Mr. Wilson, the teacher in charge of the announcements, said to RMNB. “It’s so nice to see that a lot of kids are fans now.”
Mr. Wilson, who has been a Capitals season ticket holder since 2007, went to the team’s inaugural home game at USAIR Arena as a little boy. Wilson’s father was a season ticket holder during the team’s inaugural season.
“After two seasons of futility though, my dad gave up the tickets,” Mr. Wilson said. “My whole family has remained huge Caps fans since.”
When asked how many Caps fans are at the school, Mr. Wilson admitted that there weren’t “tons.” But because his students know how passionate he is about the team, it has inspired many more, who wouldn’t normally be interested in the sport, to follow the Caps.
“Since all my students know I’m a rabid fan, they always let me know if they love the Caps too,” Mr. Wilson said. “I’ll have at least three or four Caps fans per class, sometimes more.”
Alex Ovechkin and Ted Leonsis have done wonders growing hockey in this area, but it’s teachers like Mr. Wilson whose personal connections with kids are what makes this area a hockey hotbed.
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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