This Magic Moment

I still can’t believe it actually happened. This is something I, and a lot of other Cubs fans, never thought we’d get to see. It’s not a dream; it’s dream come true.

Now I haven’t been a fan as long as some of my family members have. This win brought tears to my aunt and uncle’s eye. My family isn’t a big time sports family. We don’t make a big deal of having football on at Thanksgiving and we don’t talk about who we think is going to the Super Bowl. My mom is a White Sox fan (I’ve forgiven her) but the rest of my family – the baseball lovers – are Cubs fans. I grew up listening to Harry Caray on the radio calling the games. If it was baseball season and I went to my aunt and uncle’s house, odds were there was Harry’s voice playing on AM radio, giving the play by play. As a kid, I remember sitting in the upper deck at one Cubs game and Wrigley field wasn’t very full that day. I remember being pretty cold. I couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 at the time, and I had no appreciation for baseball whatsoever.

I played softball for a year in junior high school, but I’ve never really been the super athletic type, so one year was all I played. It was enough to really get me to love the game and to be able to appreciate it from a spectator’s perspective. Honestly, it wasn’t until the White Sox won the World Series back in ’05 that I really came to a decision about which Chicago baseball team was the one for me. While I was kind of indifferent to the win in ’05, it got me to realize that at some point every Chicagoan has to make a choice on which side of the city they’re going to root for. We’re all for Chicago so that’s a cop out answer, in my humble opinion.

The second realization I made was that White Sox games were boring as hell. The announcers bored me almost to the point of thinking watching paint dry would be more entertaining. It just didn’t appeal to me whatsoever. But the Cubs? Now they’re fun to watch. I didn’t start watching or paying attention regularly until ’06, but I’ve been a fan ever since. When the Cubs won the National League Central Division back in ’08 I went to the rally with my aunt, who is a long-time Cubs fan. It was a great day and a fantastic rally. There were high hopes for that team to get further the following season, but things fell apart. Players moved on to different teams, as did the management. It just wasn’t the right blend of guys to go all the way.

I’ll admit, life got a little busy and I stopped paying such close attention for a while. Then this season started and I was hearing all these great things about the team this year. There was a lot of favor on them going into the regular season this year. A few mid-season additions to the team really brought things together. They finished the season 17 games ahead of everyone else. That is just amazing.

Most of the friends I used to hang out with were Sox fans. They talked a lot of shit about the Cubs, still boasting about the World Series win in ’05. We won’t talk about what the Sox did this year because it’s not even worth mentioning. As my own mother said, “They suck.” I think that about sums it up. But I refused to be a bandwagon jumper and switch sides because that’s not what Cubs fans do. Cubs fans, the real ones, stick around whether the team is winning or losing. We never give up the hope that there’s always next year. We remember the Billy Goat Curse, which is now officially broken. We remember – and joke about – Steve Bartman. Legends like Jim Brickhouse, Harry Carary, Ron Santo, Bill Williams, Ryne Sandburg and Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks are names that are burned into our memories.

Now we accept a new roster.

Javier Baez, Ben Zobrist, Dexter Fowler, Jason Heyward, Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jon Lester, Willson Contreras, Miguel Montero, Kyle Schwarber, Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Aroldis Chapman, Addison Russel, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora, John Lackey and David Ross are now names that no Cubs fan will ever forget.

I am blown away by how this win has brought together so many people. The city today was just… I have no words to describe it and I wasn’t even there. I made the decision not to go downtown, knowing what a madhouse it was going to be. I chose to watch the parade and the rally in Grant Park from the comfort of my own home and it was glorious. To see the love these players have for each other and to know they are always going to be bonded together as the ones who broke this curse even had me a little choked up. I’m proud of the people who were in Wrigleyville on Wednesday night, waiting outside of the Wrigley Field for the marquee to light up.

I’m proud that they didn’t damage store fronts. There were no riots, overturned cars and no violence. Only 14 people were arrested for disorderly conduct and 35 people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, most of them alcohol related. Chicago gets a bad rap because of the gun violence that primarily plagues the south side of the city. No one was shot. No one was killed. People were high fiving the police down there. Spirits were high. It was a night of celebration and it stayed that way. That is what I like to see happening.

Chicago is a great city built on tradition and we do have our own culture here. I love to see the city represented in such a positive way. It’s not all gangsters and gun violence. Although if I catch you putting ketchup on a hot dog, I have no choice but to ridicule you until the end of time. It’s deeply ingrained in me. Oh, and should you ever visit, don’t think you can fold a slice of deep dish and eat it like a slice in New York. Chicago pizza isn’t for the faint of heart. You will need a knife and fork for it, and even the great Jon Stewart can suck it for his mockery of it.

There’s a possibility this might be my last baseball season in Chicago, so to go out on a World Series win means a lot to me. Everything I’ve been doing lately, I’ve done with the mindset that it might be the last time I get to see it. I’ve enjoyed seeing the fall colors in the woods and I’m even looking forward to a little bit of snow this winter because I sure won’t be getting it out west. Nothing’s for sure decided yet, but there’s talks to be had to figure things out. One things’s for sure, wherever I go and whatever I do, my heart will always belong to Chicago and will always bleed Cubbie Blue.

Right now, I’m mostly happy that I don’t have to hear shit from White Sox fans for a while. My mother borrowed one of my Cubs shirts today when we went out to lunch. I promised not to tell any of her friends who are Sox fans. For years I’ve had “Go Cubs Go” on my phone, and for a long time there were a lot of people in my life who laughed about it.

The Cubs will never win the World Series.

You’re wasting your time.

Sox will always be better than the Cubs.

They’re entitled to their wrong opinions. When I see salty Sox fans on Facebook who are still talking shit I just shake my head. I take comfort in knowing that next year is finally here. On our way out of the restaurant where we had lunch today I told my mom I feel bad for Sox fans. When she asked why I told her because I never see any joy in their games. They never look like they’re having fun. How can you at Progressive Rate Field. They went from The Cell (U.S. Cellular Field) to The Sellout. No one’s writing songs about them. Even after they won the World Series no one wrote a song. There are two that I know of. I sang “Go Cubs Go” with the other fans watching the rally in the restaurant with us. The other was written by Eddie Vedder.

The song was written the night before fantasy camp started, and was requested by Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks. Being a lifelong Cubs fan, Eddie was more than happy to oblige. The rest is history, and the song is a beautiful tribute. Not just to the players who have come and gone, but to the fans who have stuck it out through decades of close calls and sometimes, terrible seasons of drought. It’s not easy being a Cubs fan sometimes, but it certain has its shining moments.

Today was the crown jewel.