The Chicago Cubs are World Series champions, and the event brought out every emotion in me as years of frustration disappeared in an instant.
All I could think about was relatives and friends that didn’t live long enough to see this, especially my great uncle Jim Bob who gave me the nickname “Harry” at an extremely young age. The Cubs had just won the World Series, and in between the hugs and high fives, tears were rolling down my face.
All those years ending with disappointment washed away in the matter of moments. It was exhilarating. It is why we watch sports, and why we care so much.
Today, I can barely function as a result of the win. It hasn’t sunk in yet, and probably won’t for quite a while. So that is what I’m vibing on today: the Cubs, the magic of sports, and how downright amazing it can be. I will return to the Southeastern Conference next week.
The Chicago Cubs, even before my alma mater Auburn, was the first sports team I ever fell for. Almost every afternoon, I would take my spot in the “little room” of my grandmother’s house to catch Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace, Andre Dawson, and the rest of my beloved team on WGN. They won some, they lost some. It wasn’t until later that I figured out why Harry Caray seemed a little off when calling the games.
The San Francisco Giants broke my heart in 1989. I was inconsolable, laying in that same room at my grandmother’s, as Will Clark and the bad guys celebrated winning the National League pennant. My father finally came and got me, carrying me across the street to our home. He had bought tickets for Game 6, but the series was over in five.
The 1990s were full of teams that were mostly out of the race early, but I kept watching. Just maybe they would break out, or recapture the magic. Managers came and went: Jim Lefebvre to Tom Trebelhorn to Jim Riggleman. Nothing worked, and it seemed that Steve Goodman’s line, “the doormat of the National League,” from his song “A Dying Cubs’ Fan Last Request” was always going to be appropriate.
2003 happened, and … well, I’m not even sure I can talk about it still. I was living in New York City, watching the game at a bar four blocks from my apartment, and as soon as the final out was recorded by the Marlins, a friend called and said he was picking me up to drive me home. He stayed at my place that night worried about my mental health. I never told him how much that meant to me.
Sweeps in 2007 and 2008 were followed by some dismal seasons. Then Theo Epstein was hired, making the same shrewd moves that had turned Boston into world champions.
It all came to a pinnacle last night.
The Cubs obviously could not make it easy. A blown lead and a rain delay had everyone in the city thinking “not again.”
Then it happened. It seriously happened. Holy *&^!, it really happened! The Cubs, the CHICAGO CUBS, had won the last game of the season.
I had been a nervous wreck all day, floating in and out of reality as I pondered what was going to happen in both victory and defeat. Seeing W flags on every office and apartment building in downtown Chicago made me choke up. My emotions were fragile, to say the least.
It happened, though, and I was alive to see it. I wanted to hug everyone that I love: my mom, my dad, my brother, my sister, almost everyone else in my family. The person I really wanted to hug was Jim Bob, who unfortunately passed away in 2003. I know he’s somewhere with the real Harry drinking a beer and celebrating this championship that no one thought would ever come.
The Cubs are World Series champions. It Happened!