- The Washington Times - Monday, June 11, 2018

Paula Jacobson teared up once more as she approached the Stanley Cup on Sunday at Capital One Arena.

A fan since 1982, she had witnessed firsthand nearly all the close calls, the narrow defeats, and the seemingly futile push toward the title in years past — and her tears flowed freely when the Washington Capitals won the championship on Thursday.

Season-ticket holders of at least 25 years were invited to view the trophy Sunday. Dressed as if attending a game, Jacobson and her husband, Greg, made their way downtown with friends Gail and Gene Rubinson for an up-close glimpse of history. It was fleeting, about 30 seconds, with a single photo taken by a Washington Capitals staffer. But it was everything they hoped for.

“I was feeling the excitement, but I was feeling very emotional because it’s been so long coming,” Jacobson said. “It was just very exciting and very hard to believe after waiting, and waiting, and waiting.”

Thirty-six years ago, Jacobson and her husband ponied up for season tickets during the “Save the Caps” campaign, when then-owner Abe Pollin threatened to move or fold the young franchise unless significant changes, mostly economical, were made at the now-defunct Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland.

A lot has changed since then — and not just the shift of venue to the Capital One Arena in Chinatown. On Thursday, the Capitals won their first Stanley Cup Final with a 4-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Jacobsons and Rubinsons, who have had their tickets for 40 years, watched Game 5 from Union Jack’s British Pub in Gaithersburg, Maryland, surrounded by Capitals supporters. As time wound down, Paula Jacobson remembers jumping, screaming and crying. She wasn’t the only one.

“It actually brought tears to our eyes,” Gail Rubinson said, “because we’ve been waiting so long.”

The Jacobsons and Rubinsons said they’ll probably miss Tuesday’s downtown parade, but Sunday’s close encounter with the coveted Cup was something they’ll never forget.

“It was almost a heart-stopping experience,” Gail Rubinson said. “I got to touch it and see the names on it.”

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