I have spent the past 12 hours, with a 3 hour nap in between, celebrating the end of a 108 year drought. Like millions of others, I watched to the very end, thinking how unbelievable it all is.
Game 7 of the 2016 World Series was one of the best games of baseball I’ve ever seen. Even if our beloved Cubs would have lost… that was a good fight!
Today, though, as I comb through every friends’ post on Facebook, I realize this win wasn’t just about our Cubbies.
This win was about family. It was about friends. It was about shared experiences, and stories we’ve told so many times, but now have a little shine added to them.
I love this team. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t think I could love players more than Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Greg Maddux, and Mark Grace, but… WOW! This team is packed with talent. More importantly, it’s packed with heart.
Returning to my original point, heart is what this win represents for so many of us. This wasn’t only about Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at Progressive Field in Cleveland. This was about 108 years of sticking with a team that we all sweetly called the “Lovable Losers”, alongside people we loved.
For me, it was sitting next to Grandpa for every game I could. My Grandma reminded me this morning that she couldn’t tear me away from a Cubs game with Grandpa, sitting there, yelling at the team.
For so many of you, your stories include grandparents, parents, family, that best friend you grew up with back home. I love reading them, because though they make me sad, they remind me of that essential connection we have with people we love. Our minds allow us to visit with them through memories or imagery of how they might be reacting wherever they are.
I wish so terribly that I had watched last night’s game… heck, the entire series… in my Grandparents’ family room, on that 70s couch, next to my chain-smoking Grandpa. He would have yelled when Hendricks was taken out, and cheered when Zobrist hit the ball that brought Almora home.
However, instead, my two girls charged into the house with me at 7:08, running for the TV, hoping not to miss a thing. They were beside me yelling, “What?!?!” when the TV finally turned on and we were already up 1-0 (thank you Fowler). They now have a memory of yelling at the ump who called a ball that was clearly a strike. My oldest is still talking about it, even though we won. They will remember these players, and these times fondly. “Oh, good, Schwarber’s up.” “Ok, Baez, focus.” “Bryant, hit it out of the park.” “Arietta, Lester, Chapman, Hendricks, strike them out… come on… 3 up, 3 down!”
The connection we have to the past is also a bridge to our future. I will preserve my grumpy old Grandpa’s love and dedication to the team, to the sport, he loved his entire life. My girls will grow up yelling at the TV, cheering when we win, and living in angst when we don’t.
So, Bryant, Rizzo, Ross, Fowler, Heyward, Baez, Zobrist, Schwarber, Arrietta, Lester, Chapman , Edwards, JR, Contreras, Russell, Montgomery, et all… and especially Joe Maddon…. Congratulations! You stepped up like no other Cubs’ team in my lifetime. You not only played with talent, you played with class. You never gave up. You deserve the praise.
We just hope you don’t mind sharing it with the millions of fans that have gone before us who stuck with this team as “foul weathered fans”. We hope you don’t mind that this is more than just a W in the column or a curse that is broken. Instead, it is a reminder of the connections we have with those we love.
May we not have to wait another 108 years!