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Local Caps fans join the D.C. celebration

Local Caps fans were among the thousands in downtown D.C. this week to celebrate the Stanley Cup.  PHOTO BY MIKE WILLIAMSLocal Caps fans were among the thousands in downtown D.C. this week to celebrate the Stanley Cup. PHOTO BY MIKE WILLIAMS  WASHINGTON, D.C. — A sea of red-and-white jerseys filled the streets of downtown D.C., with thousands gathering to celebrate the Washington Capitals Stanley Cup Victory. Fans chanted “Let’s go Caps!” and “Champions!” while wearing hats, T-shirts, and towels emblazoned with the Capitals logo.

“Thank God for the Caps” read the cardboard sign made by Antonio Cabbagestalk, a born-and-raised native of Washington D.C., who said he has waited his entire life for a moment like this.

“I’m 51 years old, about to be 52 in August and I’ve been waiting for this all my life. I’ve been a Caps fan all my life,” Cabbagestalk said, and added that he had to get multiple napkins when the Caps won the championship games because of his tears of “joy.”

“Most definitely, most definitely, most definitely, this is the best dang thing to happen in D.C. in a long time, and we got more championships to come!” said Cabbagestalk.

Cabbagestalk also said the number of people in attendance made him felt great, and he is thrilled that they shared their time to support the District. “It feels good to know that out of everything that’s going on in D.C., we got people to come out here and actually support the sports fans,” he said. “I mean to come out here to the nation’s capital to support one of the best teams here; it feels great.”

Antonio Cabbagestalk, age 51, from Southeast D.C. expresses the feelings of many fans on the Washington Capitals winning the Stanley Cup. PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZ  Antonio Cabbagestalk, age 51, from Southeast D.C. expresses the feelings of many fans on the Washington Capitals winning the Stanley Cup. FILE PHOTO  Cabbagestalk wasn’t the only Capitals fan in attendance who has been patiently waiting for a parade to hit the city. “I’m a long-suffering-no-more D.C. sports fan,” said John Bonanno, 32, also born and raised in D.C. but currently residing in Annapolis. “This parade is everything. This is awesome. All my friends, all my family. I’ve been here for 38 years, and it’s been a long time since a team has won, I’m a diehard Caps fan,” said Bonanno.

Bonanno said he once witnessed a couple’s wedding ceremony at a Caps game on Valentine’s Day in 1997, and about five minutes later, two guys at the same game started fighting, which, he said, is exactly what the love of the sport is all about.“

“What’s better than hockey? Nothing. What’s better than D.C.? Nothing. Especially if you’re from here,” Bonanno said. “I was like, work today? No! I’m going to the parade with my kid, and we are going to have a great time and make memories.” Bonanno pointed to his two-year-old son who wore a Capitals jersey that matched his own.

Couples, families, friends, and fans were in attendance to share not only memories but to celebrate together as one. With nothing but elbow room, people stood on top of street posts and mailboxes to try to catch a glimpse of the players as they arrived. One by one, the NHL champions arrived on top of double-decker buses from Big Bus DC Tours, waving to fans and tossing out red beaded necklaces.

“The Caps won their first Stanley Cup, and it has been years [since the city has had a parade]. We have all been waiting for this day to come,” said Eduardo Portillo, 18, who traveled from Haymarket, Virginia with his group of friends to celebrate.

Alex Ovechkin holds up the Stanley Cup in triumph for Caps fans.  PHOTO BY MIKE WILLIAMSAlex Ovechkin holds up Stanley Cup ifor Caps fans. PHOTO BY MIKE WILLIAMS  “We’ve been upset the last couple of seasons where we haven’t made it; we lost in round two to the Pittsburgh Penguins [2016-2017 season], but we finally did it, and I’m just so happy to see all the fans come out today. It's a great day,” said Portillo.

Portillo said he started tearing up during game five of the finals and that this victory means everything to fans like him. “I couldn’t even sleep last night just because of how excited I was to come here today to see the boys just bring out the Stanley Cup and show it to the fans,” said Portillo.

When asked what he predicts for next year’s season, Portillo said: “We are going to win the Stanley Cup again. We’re just only going to get better."

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