This is therapy. This is my own personal therapy. The Chicago Cubs won the World Series; They are World Series champions. I’m going to level with you. As I’m writing this, I’m crying. I don’t think I’ve stopped crying since the third out. The moment the game ended I gave out an involuntary scream, sat there for a few seconds, and then just started laughing. And kept laughing. And as I laughed I found that I had tears rolling down my face in a way I don’t believe has ever happened before. And then I transitioned from laughing to crying. And back to laughing again. And then a little bit of hybrid action. I don’t know what to do with myself. Chicago is no stranger to championship teams. The Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup 3 out of the last 6 years. The Bulls were a dynasty in the 90s. The 1985 Bears are one of the greatest football teams of all time. Hell, I even watched the entire White Sox postseason when they ended a 87 year drought with a World Series win in 2005. But it never felt anything like this, anything resembling this, anything remotely similar to this. And I don’t know what to do with myself.
You know, I never really was a Cubs fan at first. No, I was a Sammy Sosa fan; My favorite baseball player of all time. The Summer of 1998 and the Home Run Chase was what really lit the passion for baseball inside of me even if it has faded over the years. I never watched nor cared when Sosa didn’t play, didn’t homer, didn’t something. I was a Sosa fan, not a Cubs fan. But as the years went on I found myself watching more games, Sosa-free games at that. And when he was traded I kept watching. I grew into a Cubs fan. So I watched in 2003. I watched when they gave up a 3-1 series lead to a team that wanted it more. Devastating…that’s probably the proper word to use. Ceding late inning leads in consecutive nights, getting bailed out by a home run by their pitcher in Game 7 only to bail themselves back in with poor play down the stretch. They could’ve gone to the World Series a decade and change ago and they just….didn’t. It was probably the most scarred I’ve ever been as a sports fan, much less a Cubs fan. It showed me the dangers of caring too much, of becoming too invested in your favorite team. Only one team can win the championship each year and if you live and die by each season well, you’re only hurting yourself.
Fast Forward to tonight. November 2, 2016. Game 7 of the World Series. The Cubs had come back from down 3-1 to tie the series against Cleveland (a little poetic). There was no next game and it was the living embodiment of my favorite phrase in sports: Win or Go Home. I don’t think I’ve ever understood the words “emotional rollercoaster” until tonight. Game 7 of the 2016 World Series is the best baseball game I’ve ever seen, and not just because the Cubs won. The Cubs had a 3-run leading going into the bottom of the 8th inning with a pitcher who’s pretty much The Human Torch incarnate on their mound. And Cleveland just would not motherfucking die. By the top of the 9th it was tied up. By the top of the 10th I was wishing for the sweet release of Rain Delay just to spare me anymore peaks and valleys tonight. But then the Cubs scored two in the 10th. Fuck, they might win this thing. Bottom of the 10th, two outs. This might not be a drill. This revolution might actually be televised. Then Rajai Davis (who had homered to tie it in the 8th) pulled out daggers from unknown places, singled home another run, and then preceded to stab and twist…again. One run lead. Fuck, they’re going to tie it up again. This is game is never going to end. This is purgatory. This is what purgatory is like right? It must be. And then just like that, ground ball to third, throw to first…
The Chicago Cubs win the World Series; They are World Series champions. I’m still crying by the way. I still haven’t stopped. I’ve never felt this way before in my life. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d feel this way about a….sports team? A baseball team? A Chicago Cubs team? But here I am. An emotional wreck. In the corner of the screen showed the Cubs logo with the words “2016 World Series Champions” next to it. And every time I looked at it I laughed. And then I cried. Then I laughed again. Then a little more hybrid action. I couldn’t read those words without feeling things I’ve never felt before. 2016 World Series Champions Chicago Cubs.
In honesty, I’ve drifted away from baseball in past couple of years. The pace of play, the ultra-sensitive players, a seeming “The Nail That Sticks Out, Get’s Hammered Down” protocol for any show emotion that invite the idea that baseball might actually be…fun? But it took tonight, this moment, to remind me why I fell in love with baseball in the first place, in the summer of 1998. That the grace of god allowed me to watch this team of chosen ones; hell, a team that may have been born for this, and watch them wash away 108 years of missed opportunity and black magic voodoo with the tears of me and 2.7 million other people. They did it. There is no more wait til next year. Next Year is Here. The Cubs won the World Series; They are World Series champions…I’m crying again.