Holy cow, the Chicago Cubs are the champions of the national league. Yes, the goat has been slain. The last great sports story has come to a conclusion. The Cubs are going to face the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. The curse has been broken. Cub fans all over the world are rejoicing. One of my friends told me that when she woke up on Sunday morning, she wondered if she had been dreaming. No, Cub fans, it’s not a dream. You can stop pinching yourselves. For the first time in 71 years, the Cubs are going to participate in the World Series. Comedy writers will have to come up with new material. Cardinal and White Sox fans are grudgingly admitting that this new version of the Cubs is pretty darn good. With just four more wins the Cubs will be champions of the baseball world.
Friday, I went grocery shopping and I saw a package of nonpareils, my fathers favorite candy. My dad, who passed away in 1998, was a wonderful man and a big Cub fan who, along with my grandfather, was instrumental in my love of the Cubs. I’m not usually superstitious, but this year is an exception. Before going to the store, my wife found a small feather behind my ear. This was unusual because we have pillows without feathers. My wife said that was an indication that someone had visited me. The nonpareils were the clue that it was my dad.
This was on my mind as we headed off to Wrigleyville Saturday afternoon to watch the Cubs take on the Dodgers. I began to think about all of the people I knew that were big Cub fans but no longer with us. My dad, my co-worker and friend Uncle Rich, my college friend Jack, and others too numerous to mention.
Unfortunately these people never got to witness a Cub championship. I was hoping that our team could beat the great Clayton Kershaw and move on to the World Series. We arrived at 2:30 in the afternoon for the 7:08 game and promptly discovered we were a little too late. Every table and barstool in Wrigleyville was occupied and long lines were forming outside the most famous places. We thought we had found a table in the basement of one of the establishments but they were full also. My wife went to work and found a table in the window where five people were sitting. She asked if they were going to the game and if so, could we take over their table when they left. They were very gracious and consented. Just a short time later, they invited us to sit with them, and we had a delightful time making new friends who happen to be Cub fans. One of the couples asked us our opinion on whether they should give their World Series tickets to their Fathers, or sell them to pay for their daughters first year of college. As game time neared, old friends started to arrive to take the seats of our new friends who were leaving for the game.
I have never given more high fives, kissed and hugged more strangers, or shared more joy than I did that day. The Cubs jumped off to an early three run lead and never looked back. The excitement grew with each pitch. As the game neared the end everyone was singing “Go Cubs Go”. When the game ended, we spilled into the street with what seemed like millions of happy, loving, excited Cub fans. After soaking up the atmosphere for awhile, we started to walk home. Fireworks, honking horns, flag waving, and car surfers accompanied us, one indivisible Cub nation. Common folk and movie stars, including Bill Murray, shared the sentiment that “ we ain’t afraid of no goats”.
So Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Harry Caray, Charly, Tom, Dawn, and millions of other Cub fans past and present, this Cub team did it. They’re playing the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, and our team is no longer the lovable losers. Thank you Mr. Ricketts, Theo Epstein, Joe Madden, and all of the great players. You’ve made our century.
Douglas Everett said “ There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other”. Talk to you next week. Peace, love, and happiness.