I’m one of the first people to own up to not being a sports fan-person. My mom has tried to get me there — whether that’s baseball, football, whatever — but I’ve never really gotten it. I found watching the games incredibly boring. They felt like a drag, and I didn’t understand what was happening anyway. I’d always opt to spend time with other family friends who felt the same way as I did. But, this fall I moved to the cusp of Lakeview/Wrigleyville in Chicago, and as you may know, the Cubs haven’t won the World Series in a hot minute. Until last night.
A lot of my friends at school are huge Cubs fans. They grew up in Chicago, went to games all the time while growing up, and basically found their career aspirations because of the Cubs. It’s pretty cool, and I totally respect them for it (because we all have weird stories of how we got into radio, I think), but I still never really got it. Until this fall, and the Cubs had a chance that turned into reality, which turned into a win of the World Series. (Yes, I know I’m being redundant here but bear with me [pun intended]).
Watching all of these people be so excited about these games became addicting. I didn’t watch much of the actual playing, but what I saw outside of the cracks of the bat and grand slams was just as thrilling. I saw families come together celebrating, I listened to my coworkers discussing the game and what might happen in those to follow, felt heart warmed at the different social media posts from the mega-fans, and couldn’t be too annoyed with how loud the surrounding streets from our apartment were. And somehow, even though I’m not a huge sports person, (there I go proclaiming it again), just because I live a half-mile from Wrigley field, I felt like a part of something.
I’ve finally realized why people are so into their sports teams. It’s for moments like these, the few and far between (especially for the 108 years the Cubs have gone), that makes sitting on the freezing bleachers during spring training worth it. It’s a family affair, going to a baseball game and your parents are enjoying a cold beer, the kids have their cracker jacks, and when they hit a home run standing up and cheering together.
Even now, there’s such a sense of camaraderie in my class in this morning-after haze. Not all of us are Cubs fans, heck, not even all of us are sports fans. But we all work and live and learn in the city of Chicago, and it’s nearly impossible to not be excited for those boys in blue and red. We were all out celebrating to some extent (my roommate and I went down to Wrigley during the 7th inning, and split after about a minute of celebrating. Mostly for fear of being trapped in the chaos), but we’ve all rallied and made it to our 9am on Thursday morning.
But my favorite stories are those from the people who have been Cubs fans for 80+ years, and they got to watch their team finally win while sitting at home. The smile on their face and joy in their eyes is the best part — seeing other people’s dreams come true is absolutely magical. The look of pure happiness, exhilarating joy, and blissful contempt is a beautiful thing. And if you’ve never seen that before, get yourself to Chicago this weekend. It’s going to be a pretty awesome party. Fly your W proudly, tried-and-true Cubs fans. Fly it for your family that didn’t get to experience what you’re about to – I really won’t be complaining, even if I have to clean up some beer bottles in my yard on Sunday evening.