May 02, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hundreds of Americans rallied outside the White House early Monday morning, the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed sparking a raucous impromptu rally in the nation's capital — one that had its share of hockey fans in attendance.
Game 2 of the Washington Capitals' series against the Tampa Bay Lightning was played several blocks from the White House, a 3-2 overtime loss for the home team. By the time President Obama made the announcement, the local bars were still packed with hockey fans, many of whom trekked to the rally -- Obama signs sharing space in the crowd with Ovechkin jerseys.
As news broke about bin Laden, the streets of D.C. were filled with revelers. College students, military, firemen, tourists … they all converged on the White House, sang "God Bless America" and "Na Na Na Goodbye" and joined in a moment of American history. (As did that dude who climbed the street lamp while people in the crowd chanted "Yes you can!")
Steve Whyno of the Washington Times caught up with a few more Capitals fans at the White House:
Matt Diseati was at the Caps' game but called himself "the most happy person on earth" to hear the news of bin Laden's death. It wasn't hard to forget about the Caps falling behind 2-0 in the series.
"Of course you forget about it," he said outside the White House. "America won today. The Caps lost, but America won."
Kevin Mahorney of Falls Church wasn't at the Caps game but was wearing a throwback white jersey and walked around on crutches. His mood swing Sunday night was similar to many in the area. "My heart was broken two hours ago, and now I hobbled my ass on crutches all the way from Falls Church to the White House," he said.
Asked if he cared about the Caps erasing this deficit, Diseati said: "I mean, maybe a little bit but not really, 'cause America won."
For the press covering Game 2, it was a surreal moment: After coach Bruce Boudreau's press conference, the TV inside the press room was turned to CNN. The only announcement at the time was of a major national security announcement from the president. Being in the heart of D.C., hearing those words … well, any number of Jack Bauer nightmare scenarios ran through my head.
When the bin Laden news broke ... well, like everyone else, we were enjoying the Twitter comedy and heartfelt messages on social media until we could hit the streets ourselves to witness history.
It's 1:43 a.m. as I write this on a side street a few blocks away from the White House. There's still cheering, hollering and car horns. On my way to the car, I turned to a Caps fan in the crowd, pointed at his sweater and asked him if he thought his night would end like this.
"Sorta makes you forget about an overtime loss, doesn't it?" was his reply.
UPDATE: The most surreal bit of hockey-related art from Sunday night, via The Atlantic:
That would be my Dad, he was watching the Caps game at a bar downtown and got called back to work
And to think, Obama still hasn't been to a game ...