An Evgeny Kuznetsov autographed puck. A Dave Martinez autographed baseball. A Markieff Morris...
Verizon Center Usher Gets T.J. Oshie’s Jersey
If you have ever entered the seating of the Verizon Center through the Section 428/429 entrance, you may have come across a friendly man named Charles. Charles is an usher at the Verizon Center and his usual post is waiting in that aisle for Caps fans sitting in either section to come through and ask for directions to their seats should they need them. While the conversation between him and fans is generally far from the location of their seat, it’s usually a very friendly conversation as if he was your best friend. He remembers the names and faces of all those entering his section and if you should be a new one, he makes sure to learn them.
Not only is he enthusiastic about the Capitals fans, but he is enthusiastic about the game itself. You can be sure that when the Caps score a goal that you will see Charles running up the steps with both arms extended ready to give out high fives. He has more confidence in this hockey team than most fans would after years of early exits, but his positivity makes you forget about that and enjoy the incredible success that this team is having.
All that said, Charles never asked for any praise or recognition that he most definitely deserves, but that all changed during the last game of the season. Every year at the end of the final Capitals home game, the players participate in the “Jerseys of our Backs” night where lucky fans file onto the ice opposite of the team with envelopes in hand, bearing a number of the player with whom they will receive their game worn jersey. The participants in this event are generally nominated and a few weeks prior. Charles name was entered and found himself down on the ice with an envelope in his hand with the number of a Capitals player with whom he would meet.
Before Joe Beninati had the chance to ask for his name, the fans who remained in Sections 428 and 429 erupted into a loud applause. When asked by Beninati whether he wanted to play the Maple Leafs or the Bruins, he responded, “I didn’t care, we were going to beat either of them anyway.” He then opened up his envelope and found number “77.”
With his arms open and a smile on his face, he greeted T.J. Oshie at center ice.
Charles, you put a smile on the face of countless Caps fans, and you deserved this.