For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a baseball fan. Scratch that – a Cubs fan. In my mind, they were one and the same. Some years were more fun than others but my loyalty has never wavered. It was a badge of honor to love a team no matter what. I think I was an adult before I realized that a) other teams sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame and b) they don’t sing “root, root, root for the Cubbies.”
Growing up, I was lucky enough to drive into the city with my Dad and watch the Cubs play at Wrigley Field many times. My best friend growing up & I had nicknames and inside jokes about the players we liked best. My parents took me out of school to watch the Cubs vs the Giants in the 1989 NLCS. When we moved to the Chicagoland area, I took my kids on a stadium tour… in the pouring rain… and we loved every minute of it.
The past few years it’s been increasingly fun to be a Cubs fan. Not just because they were winning but because these boys were having so much fun doing it. Watching games made me laugh and smile. And then the 2016 post-season happened. What a roller coaster! As a baseball fan I’ve always watched the post-season – and I picked the team who reminded me most of my Cubs and that’s who I cheered for. But this year MY team was in it. And since I live in Chicagoland, I got to drive down the street and see businesses flying the W and stores changing their marquees to cheer for the Cubs and everywhere you looked people were wearing their Cubs gear. Sure some of them were jumping on the bandwagon but it was still fun. It was the coolest experience to be part of a community cheering for our team.
And to take the World Series all the way to EXTRA INNINGS in Game 7…. I literally couldn’t sit down for the last 90 minutes of the game. There was a tiny voice inside of me saying “it would be just like the Cubs to let it slip out of their grasp… to have the win and lose it…” but a bigger voice was saying “this is so exciting… this is baseball at its best… these boys never quit…” And then I watched Kris Bryant field a ball with a huge grin on his face and toss it to Anthony Rizzo who never took his eye off that ball (and slipped it into his pocket right after) and then I was screaming and cheering and laughing and fireworks were going off in my neighborhood and I was texting my brother (who was at the game!!) and my dad.
My Cubs won the World Series. My kids won’t grow up in the time-honored tradition of loving the Cubs even when they suck. In their world, the Cubs are awesome – the ballplayers you want to be for Halloween and when you play whiffle ball in the backyard. These Cubs just made history and I got to watch it and it was awesome.