when I moved to Chicago years ago for a job, a friend of mine had to explain the various teams to me. The memo went something like this:
The Bears are football.The Bulls are basketball.
The White Sox and the Cubs are baseball. And if you don’t root for the Cubs over the White Sox, you’re no friend of mine.
Well, I can honestly say that it may have taken me a few *cough*cough* years, but I was definitely rooting for the Cubs this past week.
Not that I have any more interest in sports than before. Don’t hate me when I admit that I’ve never been a baseball fan (even though I played softball for a few years as a tween). Watching the World Series this past week, I even complained to my husband. “Any sport where the players can wear necklaces, chew gum/tobacco, and adjust their sack, is not a real sport.” For me, baseball is hours of mind-numbing tedium broken by a few moments of on-the-edge-of-your-seat thrills.
Watching the World Series, those thrills were abundant.
While I’m still not a baseball fan, I at least have a better appreciation for the sport. The athleticism the players showed during those thrilling moments was abundant. I better understood how it’s a game of patience and strategy as much as it is skill and athleticism.
And more importantly: the underdog won. Watching the Cubbies win the World Series after over a century of trying (or, as a former Chicago-native boss would say: a couple-two-tree years) was the ultimate underdog victory. Even my kiddos were suddenly baseball and Cubs fans, rooting for the Cubs even as they barely understood the rules of baseball, and educating me on the goat-curse. Although I know the Cleveland fans are disappointed, and in my humble and uneducated estimation I thought they played superbly, there is something magical about rooting for the team which has the most to lose and the least chance of winning. The team with the cursed history rife with defeat. The team with the deck stacked decidedly against them, playing against the odds, and—in the last moment of the last game, with the skies bursting at the seams—beating them.
The World Series was a writer’s fictive dream. Storytelling gold. Backstory, conflict, tension, twists, dark moments, and finally, when hope seems lost, a happy ending! Whew! I’m spent! I need a cigarette!
I’ll probably never watch another baseball game. But I’m glad I was around to see and appreciate the impact of it all. It feels like a moment in history akin to the JFK assassination or 9/11 that we’ll talk about for years to come, prefacing it with “When the Cubs won the World Series, I was…”
So where were you when the Cubs won?