“It happened.” –Anthony Rizzo
The world series was an incredible ride but I think my favorite moment of the Cubs post-season was that Friday night when the Cubs won the pennant. The Cubs going to the World Series was going to happen. In defiance of curse lore and legend, “Far as the curse is found” the Cubs had gleefully crushed it’s bleating head. That was a beautiful night. When the camera panned the crowd you could see on so many faces a joyful gaze looking past the field, minds flooded with memories of Grandpa Otis or Mama or Great Uncle Joe or Cousin Judy. Suddenly, for the first time in a long time they remembered the ones who cheered and root root rooted undeterred, leading the little ones to do likewise. She would never have believed it. Hope he’s lookin’ down. Sure wish she were here. All of us, it seems, were loved by someone who loved the Cubs. I got a little choked up thinking of my Grandpa Fred who despite a south-sider status was paid in Cubs tickets for being a crossing guard at his school. I figured this is how my mom ended up a Cubby fan. Actually, she says, it was “my memory of my mom taking me to games and teaching me to keep score. She hated expressways. She would take LaGrange all the way to O’Hare. Not sure sure how she psyched herself up to drive all the way to Wrigley. I swear her teaching me the scorecard gave me my love for math. Four bases equals one point!” Together, we, the living, revel in the imagined thrill of the Cubby generations gone before us. And then my hubby reached over and gave me a big smooch (baseball is so romantic) and reminded me that our first date was at Wrigley.
This is an answer to a current events prayer we never thought to pray. America needed this right now. Chicago absolutely needed this right now. In the achey belly of this country we needed to see hopes realized, faith come to fruition, wildest dreams come true–not alone, together. It’s a comfort to know that whatever candidate moves into the White House in January that the “2016” flag will be flying in the still-chilly wind coming off the lake when Wrigley Field opens again in April. We needed wholesome, untainted victory to happen to a team of gentlemen we think of as hardworking underdogs, good guys who just love to play ball. We needed long-suffering believers to come out on top.
In this week before a presidential election with campaigns dark and grizzly, this makes us feel a little better about being Americans. We really needed some good baseball. We needed its current innocence (for the moment anyway–ignore that nagging thought about what performance-enhancing-drug tests might show later), its brotherhood and its history that remind us that whoever wins the national election is not really the face of America. Baseball fans are America. The vendors at the game, the ticket-takers, the light and sound crew, the diligent souls who launder the uniforms and clean the locker rooms–this is America. And this is a game that has helped write our story.