David Duber wasn’t supposed to be in Pittsburgh on Monday evening, sitting on the glass, watching the Capitals put on perhaps their best playoff performance in a generation. He wasn’t supposed to be turning into an (extremely minor) icon.
But life has its own ideas. Duber was shown on national television Saturday afternoon, just after Nicklas Backstrom scored the tying third-period goal, which breathed life into a Caps’ season that seemed set to expire. He was wearing a “Fire Dan Snyder” T-shirt, which was funny. He had chosen that shirt out of fear that his T.J. Oshie sweater was no longer working, and so we all laughed at the funny shirt and it’s moment in the sun. But then the Caps took off, scoring two more times and playing their best hockey of this second round and cruising into Game 6 with apparent momentum.
So the next day the Wizards were facing the Celtics, and Duber — a Wiz season ticket holder — figured he would wear the shirt again. It caused another stir, and the Wizards won, and Duber was becoming (mildly) famous on the Internet.
He had no plans to go to Pittsburgh this week, but his boss sort of saw that this was becoming an (extremely minor) thing, and so he gave Duber permission to bug out early Monday. Pittsburgh isn’t a terribly long drive, and StubHub is a modern miracle, and so there was Duber, inside PPG Paints Arena, watching the Caps explode. While wearing his famous shirt. Which read “Fire Dan Snyder.” Which was kind of funny.
None of this was supposed to happen, but now it’s happening, and so you’re dang right Duber will be back inside Verizon Center on Wednesday night, wearing his famous shirt.
“All this town needed was a spark, and I think we got it,” he said, referring to Backstrom’s goal, but in my head I was thinking of his shirt. “It’s not me. I’m just a fan. But whatever it takes.”
Duber, of course, was born in late February 1992. That makes him the perfect exemplar of D.C.’s so-called Loss Generation, the poor souls born after the Redskins’ last Super Bowl who have known mostly pain. (They’re also likely the No. 1 demographic for this blog, although I really wish they would hit refresh a bit more often.) They’ve been waiting for one extended postseason run their whole lives; now, they might be staring at two. Not to get ahead of ourselves. But we’re all thinking it. Which is why — with many thanks to his boss — Duber figured he couldn’t turn down this chance.
“It was hard to pass up,” he said. “An opportunity to see this team force a Game 7, hopefully turn this series around and advance to a conference finals for the first time since 1998, something this town hasn’t seen in a long time. … My boss saw that it was making as much noise as it was, and he said it was a once in a lifetime to go … I came for a short time, saw a W, and now I’m gonna get the hell out of this town.”
Duber — who plans to fly home early Tuesday morning to be at work on time — was recognized by fans in the arena. He was recognized by fans during his pregame meal at Primanti Bros. And you can bet your bottom he will be recognized by fans Wednesday at Verizon Center. “It’s been a hell of a ride,” he said.
He likes the mood in town right now, “just a lot of people getting on the bandwagon and having faith for the first time in a long time. But he isn’t making any predictions about Wednesday night, other than that he will be in the building, in that shirt.
“You know what I want and you know what I’m praying for, but I’m not cursing anyone,” he said. “I promised we’d be back to Washington on Wednesday to see a Game 7, and we did that. Let’s leave it to the guys on the ice. … I’m not settling, because I still want my championship, but it’s been a hell of a four days. And I’m just hoping it continues.”