It all started on a Sunday morning. My wife, Abby, and I had just returned from Baltimore, where I drove a Ferrari for five laps around the Preakness parking lot, thanks to a holiday present from my mom. On the way back, we stopped in Silver Spring, Maryland to get some lunch and buy a few items. On a whim, we went to Dave and Busters to play about $30 worth of arcade and video games. What else could we do that day?
We’d been checking Stubhub for tickets to Game 2 of the Capitals-Penguins playoff series, hoping to grab some tickets at or below face value. Because we lived only a 10-minute bike ride from Capital One Arena, we could buy tickets last minute and get to the game before the puck dropped.
In the car on the way home, we pulled the trigger at 2:26 p.m. The puck drop was scheduled for a few minutes after 3 p.m. We ran upstairs to our apartment, dropped our bags, donned our Capitals gear, and hopped on two Capital Bikeshare bicycles down Georgia Avenue and onto 7th Street. We jogged from the dock to the stadium and found our seats in the 400-level where the Capitals would attack for two of the three periods.
Shortly after sitting down, we jumped right back up as Alex Ovechkin rocketed a snapshot to the upper-right corner of the net to take the lead only a minute and a half into the game. Later in the period, Vrana increased the lead to two goals and Abby and I had already lost our voices from screaming so loudly. In the second period, Connolly put the Caps up 3-0, and I was about two beers in. I didn’t drink much, so that was more than enough for me.
In the third period, with the Caps up 3-1, the mood was incredible, and it only got better when a cameraman came up to our section.
“I’ve never seen a cameraman up here in our section, and I’ve had season tickets in this section for four years,” said the guy sitting next to me.
I was never one to shy away from a camera, so I did what I did best. Put on a show. While others were looking at the camera and constantly checking to see if they were on the big screen, I obeyed the one rule of being on camera: don’t look away. I pointed at the camera with one finger and twirled a red rally towel in my right. I started to move my body back and forth, but never looking away from the camera. A few second later, the cameraman took the camera off his shoulder and walked back down into the concourse.
When I sat down, my wife was laughing.
“You were just on the jumbotron,” she said. “It was amazing.”
“Yeah, man, I saw you up there!” the guy next to me yelled as he put up his hand for a high-five. Good, I thought. Pretty cool that I got on camera in front of 18,000 fans. I wonder if I know anybody at the game who might have seen me?
As we walked out of the arena, a woman pointed to me. “You weren’t just on the big screen, right?”
“Yes, he was,” my wife responded with a smile.
“Well that was so cool,” the woman said. “Great job.”
I was just happy the Capitals won the game and tied the series at one game a piece. When we got home, I plugged my phone in to recharge the battery and turned it on silent while I had dinner with Abby. Around 9 p.m., several hours after the game was over, I received an email from a friend with the subject line: “IS THIS YOU!?!?!”
In the email was a link to the official Capitals Twitter feed and this is what I saw:
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 29, 2018
No freaking way.
I was made into a GIF on the official Capitals Twitter feed. Then I checked my phone. It had blown up. Facebook messages. Tweets. Retweets. Direct messages. More emails. Friends, family, and coworkers were all inquiring about what happened and how it happened.
It was simple, I told them. I saw a camera and did what I did best: put on a show.
And I thought that’s all it would be…
…until it kept going.
Abby forwarded me an email from a coworker’s kickball league.
“Scroll to the bottom,” she wrote. And there it was…
I, personally, will not see you all tomorrow. BUT you have Jaymee and Chelsea to help you out with whatever you need! Good luck tomorrow everyone and GO CAPS!
And I thought that was it…until it kept going.
Four days later, my cousin Rachel tagged me on a tweet from the MGM National Harbor.
— MGM National Harbor (@MGMNatlHarbor) June 4, 2018
So in response, I tweeted at MGM:
I used that hashtag because my wife had come up with the phrase. This GIF truly was the GIF that keeps on giving.
And then another Facebook post:
Again, tonight, I was tagged in another Facebook post in response to Keith Olbermann’s tweet that the Capitals beat an expansion team.
I didn’t know how far it would go, although I figure it can’t be much further than this considering the Capitals won the Stanley Cup and the season is over.
But, who knows, considering it is The GIF That Keeps on Gif(v)ing.