I have good reason for not posting anything recently. The Chicago Cubs just completed an amazing playoff run and brought the World Series trophy back to the north side of Chicago after a 108-year drought. And I just had to watch every minute that I could… and I’m so glad I did.
I grew up in the northern suburbs of Chicago and was a Cubs fan from my earliest memories. Ryne Sandberg was my favorite player and when I wasn’t watching him, I was trying to emulate him on the field. It’s safe to say that baseball was a huge part of my life during my early childhood.
I’m not going to claim that I’m a diehard fan or tell you that I have season tickets and never miss a game. Quite the contrary, I’ve fallen away from the game as I’ve gotten older. But my allegiance to the Cubs has never swayed.
I do remember thinking and hoping that Theo Epstein would be able to work his magic in Chicago the same way he did in Boston, but it still seemed so improbable. The Cubs have always been the “lovable losers” and it seemed to so many people that they always would be.
But all of that frustration was wiped away by this season.
It was an absolutely heart-pounding, edge-of-your-seat postseason that culminated in one of the greatest endings I could ever imagine. I don’t think anyone could have dreamt up a crazier, more intense game 7 if they tried. It seriously looked like the Cubs were purposely letting the Indians back into the game on a couple of occasions.
Perfect Hollywood drama… except that it wasn’t scripted. It was pure and genuine competition and watching and hearing the players’ reactions as the playoffs progressed and seeing their joy and gratitude through their victory rally today reminded me much more of Little Leaguers winning it all with their friends than grown men who make 6, 7 or even 8 figures a year to play a game.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve felt a bit betrayed by professional sports. Yes, of course, the players would like to win a championship, but it frequently seems that the fans are more invested in the outcome than the players are.
This year’s Cubs team, however, seems to genuinely embrace the game and recognize the significance of what they were ultimately able to accomplish–not just for themselves, but for the city as well as fans and former players, many of whom lived their whole lives and never got to see a Cubs championship. I’m sure the fact that they are a very young team has something to do with it, but the team leadership and ultimately each individual’s character played a huge role too.
So I’d like to join the estimated 5 million people who lined the streets and packed Grant Park in Chicago today for the victory parade and rally–along with probably 10s of millions who would’ve liked to have been there– in congratulating and thanking this Cubs team and the whole organization for an amazing season.