See this card? I’ve been carrying this card in my wallet for as long as I can remember. At least since high school, which puts it back into the 70s. It really didn’t mean anything, it didn’t get members anything, but it’s been in my wallet for going on 40 years.
Back then, the Cubs really sucked. But there were those of us who believed. We believed in 1969. We believed in 1984, we believed in 1989, and we really believed in 2003. But the Cubs couldn’t make it happen. They couldn’t play the kind of baseball that would get them to the World Series let alone have them win it.
Then last year things changed. Even the fair weather fans began to believe again and we saw reasons to have hope, actual hope, that the Cubs could be for real.
I don’t need to recap what’s happened since then. Unkess you’ve been living under the biggest rock on the planet, you know that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time in 108 years tonight.
I really can’t fathom that I am saying the words the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. But I am, and it wasn’t easy. They fought throughout the season and even though they won 103 regular-season games and had the best record in baseball, the playoffs were no cakewalk. The World Series itself went to seven games with massive amounts of drama late in the final contest. I’ll leave all the stats and sports stuff to people who get paid to write about that, I’m writing about something different.
I’m writing about believing.
I’ve written about believing before. Ever since this four-year-old went to his first of hundreds of Cubs games at Wrigley Field, I believed. I believed that my heroes would never let me down, yet they did time after time. I believed that every year was the year, and until this year I was wrong. But I HAD to believe. I was never going to be a pro ballplayer, and thanks to my father and grandfather I learned to love the game. Like the card says, I am a Die-Hard Cubs fan.
All day today, people have been saying that tonight’s World Series game seven could be the most important single game in baseball history. Of course, the Cubs hadn’t won the fall classic in 108 years, but the Indians hadn’t won in 68 years. And the Cubs, who were way behind in the series, managed to make it a seven-game affair, finally achieving the impossible and winning the 2016 World Series.
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve thought a lot about the World Series, and have thought a lot about it tonight as I sit alone in a hotel room in Nashville, where I am on a business trip. What I’ve come to realize is that what I feel for my cubs is more than simply believing. It’s a form of love for the team, the institution of the Chicago Cubs, and of course, Wrigley Field. Not the kind of love I have for my kids, but I kind of love that is made out of belief, respect, and an unbelievable amount of optimism. The kind of love that has me crying like a baby as I write this blog post because something I never thought would happen finally has.No, I didn’t make it to any of the postseason games this year no, I won’t be telling my grandchildren that I saw the Cubs win the World Series in 2016, and most likely I won’t be in Chicago for whatever celebration the city throws for the Cubs.
But that doesn’t change how I feel about them, I believed in, I loved the Cubs, my entire life. And I will continue to love the Cubs until the day I die. Wrigley Field will always be my favorite place on earth, and that’s where I want my ashes placed after I’m gone.
Now that the Cubs have “broken the curse”, if there ever was such a thing, and won the World Series, many people will stop paying attention to them. They’ll want to be seen at the home games because they will be the cool place to be, but they won’t know the names of most of the players on the field. They’ll buy the shirts and claim they were at games that they didn’t even watch on TV. And eventually Cub Fever will subside a bit. But the believers will still believe. We will know the names of the players, and will probably know their batting average and ERA. We’ll sit in the stands on opening day in our winter coats and in July frying in the sun. We’ll believe in the Cubs, the institution that is the Cubs and the individuals that make up the team.
And we will know that if you wait long enough, wish hard enough, and believe enough, that dreams really can come true.