This Cubs fan’s faith restored with World Series win

col-tbuzz-2I was beginning to wonder whether I would ever get the chance to write this column. After all, my grandfather died at the age of 90, lived through two World Wars, two Roosevelt and Bush Administrations, two flybys from Halley’s Comet, and zero Chicago Cubs championships. After 108 years of futility, the math and universe appeared stacked against a World Series win.

Then came Wednesday night/Thursday morning’s Game 7 thriller, when pigs finally flew and there was one heck of a snowball fight in Hades. It was the highlight of my life as a sports fan, not only for me, but also for the generations of Cubs fans who suffered through three curses and a chronic case of general suckiness. I’ve experienced the suffering myself in the Wrigley Field bleachers, but also been inspired the eternal optimism of Cub Nation.

I wasn’t alive when the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern in Chicago cast a spell on the team (although I have spent plenty of time and money at the bar) after his promotional pet goat was forbidden from the Friendly Confines in 1945, the last time the Cubs played in the World Series. I was a kid in 1969 when a black cat ran across the first-place Cubs’ dugout, causing the biggest choke in baseball history in the dog days of 1969. We put a man on the moon but couldn’t hold a nine-game lead.

One of the reasons the Cubs have such national appeal despite their Lovable Losers label is WGN-TV, which built a big audience by broadcasting baseball games in an era of limited cable channel options. I was drawn in by the colorful commentary of Harry Caray and straight man Steve Stone, the joy of watching day baseball on the back porch, and the history and atmosphere of Wrigley Field. I made my first pilgrimage inside the ivy-covered walls in 1994, and I was a Bleacher Bum for life.

As a young Cub reporter (pun intended) I got to walk on the field, visit the clubhouse and sit in the press box, but none of it compared to a day in the right-field bleachers (because, you know, left field sucks). My future wife, Stephanie, whom I converted early in our relationship, joined me and the other bums in good-natured heckling of the opposing right fielder, throwing back home run balls hit by the other team, and enjoying the misery-loves-company camaraderie of eternal optimists.

We were there in 1994, just days before the players went on strike and turned an entire generation of fans away from baseball. We were there in 1998 for the incredible home-run crushing contest between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, which turned out to be a steroid-induced hoax. We were on our back porch in 2003, after tucking our new-born daughter into her crib wearing her official Cubs onesy, when Steve Bartman stuck his hands in front of a foul ball and touched off a firestorm in the stands and a meltdown on the diamond. Through it all, we kept coming back for more each season with even higher hopes.

We were on the porch against Wednesday night, after tucking our now-teenage daughter into bed, and watched the unthinkable happen. My new approach of expecting to win instead of being afraid of losing never waivered, even when the Indians took a 3-1 series lead. The young group of Cubs never stopped believing either, even after blowing a three-run lead late. A merciful rain shower allowed them to regroup, and they came out swinging in the 10th inning to touch off a well-deserved celebration.

I might not live to see world peace, the colonization of Mars, or even the outcome of this insane election season. But I did live long enough to see the Cubs reverse the curse, and that’s good enough for me. After all, it might be 2124 before it happens again. But it speaks to the beauty of sports in our society when fans across the country can unify over seeing a far-fetched dream come true. In a cynical age and a cruel world, it restores my belief that anything really is possible.

Comments

comments

Pelicans suffer first sweep in a full series in two years

Pelicans suffer first sweep in a full series in two yearsThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans were swept for the first time [more]

Chants hope depth helps ease transition to Sun Belt

Chants hope depth helps ease transition to Sun BeltThe Coastal Carolina football program will open its first season [more]

Knaffle claims match play opener to reach field of 32

Knaffle claims match play opener to reach field of 32Smith Knaffle of Murrells Inlet continued her impressive play in [more]

Riptides Racing sends five swimmers to state meet

Riptides Racing sends five swimmers to state meetThe SC State Long Course Championship was held July 20-23, [more]

Pelicans' two-season series sweepless streak in danger

Pelicans' two-season series sweepless streak in dangerDespite a strong spot start from Kyle Miller Tuesday, the [more]

O'Dell leads way for 7 CAC swimmers to state podium

O'Dell leads way for 7 CAC swimmers to state podiumSouth Carolina Swimming welcomed swimmers from 27 Swim Clubs to [more]

Pelicans' ace Rucker takes second straight CL award

Pelicans' ace Rucker takes second straight CL awardThanks to a scoreless innings streak that has now stretched [more]

Knaffle advances to match play at USGA Girls Junior

Knaffle advances to match play at USGA Girls JuniorTwo-time defending state medalist Smith Knaffle of Murrells Inlet did [more]

CCU embraces role of new kids on the Sun Belt block

CCU embraces role of new kids on the Sun Belt blockCoastal Carolina played the part of new kid on the [more]

Mudcats make it rain runs in weather-shortened win

Mudcats make it rain runs in weather-shortened winCoastal Carolina played the part of new kid on the [more]

NMB's Gore makes college call to play at Georgia State

NMB's Gore makes college call to play at Georgia StateThe 2017 high school football season is less than one [more]

Pelicans falter in 13-inning marathon to Wood Ducks

Pelicans falter in 13-inning marathon to Wood DucksThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans came up short Sunday in a [more]

Mutiny's magical year ends with first-round playoff loss

Mutiny's magical year ends with first-round playoff lossThe Myrtle Beach Mutiny picked a bad time to snap [more]

Johnson fires 64 to sneak back in hunt for claret jug

Johnson fires 64 to sneak back in hunt for claret jugFormer Coastal Carolina University All-American and Myrtle Beach resident Dustin [more]

Rucker runs shutout streak to 20 innings for Pelicans

Rucker runs shutout streak to 20 innings for PelicansMike Rucker extended his scoreless streak to 20 innings with [more]

CCU's Chadwell to fill in for Moglia at Sun Belt preview

CCU's Chadwell to fill in for Moglia at Sun Belt previewThe Sun Belt Conference and Coastal Carolina announced today that [more]

Rabon is Coastal's lone rep on 2017 All-Sun Belt squad

Rabon is Coastal's lone rep on 2017 All-Sun Belt squadCoastal Carolina had only one player named to the 2017 [more]

Pelicans fall; host fireworks, wrestling legends Saturday

Pelicans fall; host fireworks, wrestling legends SaturdayP.J. Higgins provided all of the offense for Myrtle Beach [more]

CCU taps Oklahoma coach to lead men's golf program

CCU taps Oklahoma coach to lead men's golf programJim Garren, who helped Oklahoma to three straight NCAA Championship [more]

Effross tosses gem to give Pelicans doubleheader split

Effross tosses gem to give Pelicans doubleheader splitMyrtle Beach fell 5-3 in game one of Thursday's doubleheader, [more]

App State picked first; CCU last in Sun Belt football poll

App State picked first; CCU last in Sun Belt football pollThe Appalachian State Mountaineers are the favorites to win the [more]

'The Blind Side' story takes turn as Panthers cut Oher

'The Blind Side' story takes turn as Panthers cut OherThe Carolina Panthers released offensive tackle Michael Oher, the subject [more]

Former CCU player Jordan returns as assistant coach

Former CCU player Jordan returns as assistant coachCoastal Carolina head women’s basketball coach Jaida Williams announced Wednesday [more]

Panthers rehire Hurney to fill general manager post

Panthers rehire Hurney to fill general manager postThe Carolina Panthers turned to a familiar face to fill [more]

Hodges' grand slam lifts Pelicans to rare series win

Hodges' grand slam lifts Pelicans to rare series winJesse Hodges' grand slam in the sixth inning of Tuesday's [more]

Pelicans suffer first sweep in a full series in two years

Pelicans suffer first sweep in a full series in two yearsThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans were swept for the first time [more]

Chants hope depth helps ease transition to Sun Belt

Chants hope depth helps ease transition to Sun BeltThe Coastal Carolina football program will open its first season [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2017 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach