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

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World Cup

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World CupAmerican soccer fans don't have a rooting interest in this [more]

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silver

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silverThe frontrunners in this year's My Horry News All-County Girls [more]

Pelicans help propel South to victory in All-Star Game

Pelicans help propel South to victory in All-Star GameA pair of Myrtle Beach Pelicans played key roles in [more]

NMB's Ballard, MB's Coble reconnect at North-South

NMB's Ballard, MB's Coble reconnect at North-SouthA pair of former teammates and rivals joined forces for [more]

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finale

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finaleThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans dropped their final game of the [more]

CCU's Biermann, Lancaster make All-American squad

CCU's Biermann, Lancaster make All-American squadCoastal Carolina shortstop Seth Lancaster and designated hitter Zach Biermann [more]

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny The Myrtle Beach Mutiny needed a wake-up call late Saturday [more]

Pelicans split twinbill with Mudcats, play finale today

Pelicans split twinbill with Mudcats, play finale todayAfter the Myrtle Beach Pelicans fell 2-1 to the Carolina [more]

Pelicans lose fifth straight, play doubleheader today

Pelicans lose fifth straight, play doubleheader todayVictor Diaz's seven strong innings for the Carolina Mudcats were [more]

All-County Boys Tennis: Johnson, MB duo top list

All-County Boys Tennis: Johnson, MB duo top listThe future looks bright for the sport of high school [more]

Hess carves his way to Team USA surfing nod

Hess carves his way to Team USA surfing nodCarter Hess carved his way to a spot on the [more]

Pelicans' bullpen spoils Thompson's perfect start

Pelicans' bullpen spoils Thompson's perfect startAfter Keegan Thompson was removed following seven perfect innings for [more]

Piggot feasts, scores four goals to lead Mutiny win

Piggot feasts, scores four goals to lead Mutiny winThe Myrtle Beach Mutiny rolled to a 6-0 victory over [more]

CCU trio makes all-region; Lancaster an All-American

CCU trio makes all-region; Lancaster an All-AmericanCoastal Carolina shortstop Seth Lancaster was named to the Perfect [more]

Braves' icons Avery, Jones to appear at Pelicans game

Braves' icons Avery, Jones to appear at Pelicans gameThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans will welcome former MLB All-Stars and [more]

Coastal guard Labinowicz announces plan to transfer

Coastal guard Labinowicz announces plan to transferCoastal Carolina University men's basketball player Artur Labinowicz plans to [more]

Report: Myrtle Beach Bowl 'near lock' for 2020 kickoff

Report: Myrtle Beach Bowl 'near lock' for 2020 kickoffIn yet another development in the Grand Strand's booming sports [more]

Adaptive surfers depart for US Surfing Championship

Adaptive surfers depart for US Surfing ChampionshipLocal surfers, volunteers, and family members gathered at the Charleston [more]

All-County Boys Golf: MB's Jarman trades bat for club

All-County Boys Golf: MB's Jarman trades bat for clubIf things had worked out differently, Myrtle Beach High senior [more]

Gamecocks' season ends one win shy of Omaha

Gamecocks' season ends one win shy of OmahaThe University of South Carolina baseball team saw its season [more]

Pelicans' Ademan, Pereda, Peyton make all-star team

Pelicans' Ademan, Pereda, Peyton make all-star teamMyrtle Beach catcher Jhonny Pereda, right-hander Tyler Peyton and infielder [more]

Johnson wins at St. Jude, recaptures No. 1 ranking

Johnson wins at St. Jude, recaptures No. 1 rankingFormer Coastal Carolina two-time All-American and Myrtle Beach resident Dustin [more]

Gamecocks slam their way into final game with Hogs

Gamecocks slam their way into final game with HogsThe South Carolina baseball team scored five runs in the [more]

Pelicans win ninth straight, make late run at first place

Pelicans win ninth straight, make late run at first placeThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans racked up their ninth straight win [more]

All-County Girls Soccer: Gordon nets record, POY

All-County Girls Soccer: Gordon nets record, POYBlair Mueller remembers her first day on the job as [more]

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World Cup

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World CupAmerican soccer fans don't have a rooting interest in this [more]

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silver

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silverThe frontrunners in this year's My Horry News All-County Girls [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach