We root for laundry. We’re suckers for brand loyalty, desperately seeking the distraction of that which we cannot control–but sports are just the essentially just the same things happening over and over, again and again, right? Just the silly satisfaction of supremacy and needless disappointment of loss dancing awkwardly together in different costumes depending on the season.
I can’t explain what it is to emotionally thrive or suffer because of the uncontrollable actions of those who wear a particular color pattern to someone who’s disinterested–I’ve tried and failed. I’ve realized there are things I don’t care for–and will never fully empathize with those who care for them. I’ve learned it is unfair to judge the interests of others. But there are moments when the act of investing all of one’s emotions into the act of strangers playing a children’s game transcends distraction and entertainment and tomfoolery. And, these moments–to those who care–are fleeting, and unforgettable and misunderstood like life itself.
Somehow, I found myself within the confines of Wrigley Field on Saturday, October 22nd–surreal, considering I woke up that morning unsure where I’d even watch the game, let alone that I’d be lucky enough to possess a lottery ticket of epic proportions. However, I can, in one word, describe how it felt to be present during the sports equivalent of the moon landing.
In spite of a breezy, dominant performance by Kyle Hendricks and the Chicago Cubs, and the overwhelmingly positive vibes that ebbed and flowed throughout the concourse for three plus hours, as Keke Hernandez came to the plate to begin the Dodger half of the 9th, I suddenly felt as though I was on an elevator that had dropped 50 stories without warning.
I looked to the left at my friend–who, like myself, hours earlier had ridiculously, and impulsively committed to the risk of entering the bleachers knowing we may be leaving them not only financially, but emotionally broken–all four of our eyes already wet and reddening–and said, “whoa. Whooooaaah, dude.”
If, instead at that moment I’d reached the top of Mount Everest, or was myself stepping on the surface of the moon, I can’t conceive a greater level of awe.
It’s been ten days since the Cubs clinched their first National League title since 1945–three years before my dad was born–and we now live in a world where the Chicago Cubs are the champions of baseball. There are few people–even few sports fans–who can comprehend the meaning of that fact.
Fact: The Chicago Cubs won the Fucking World Goddamn Series.
For 37 years and 343 days, the only planet on which I’ve lived has been square. Today it is round, and for the rest of my days, it will always be round.
There are no words, typed or written or spoken.
There is nothing but transcendence and joy and love.
There is nothing but a phone call to my dad. Nothing but the same bleachers where I’d sat at 15 years of age–a bag of McDonald’s cheeseburgers tucked under my seat. A 120 minute bus ride to watch a mediocre baseball team wearing the appropriate laundry, representing my chosen brand, in the city where I happen to live on a small patch of grass on a square planet.
The Sammy Sosa cork game.
Doug Dascenzo chasing a a fly ball.
Jose Guzman’s 8.2 innings of no-hit ball.
But here I am. Telling the kids in front of me, “Don’t count outs, you know better,” from the same outfield at the same address where we became the worst versions of Cubs fans, mercilessly booing LaTroy Hawkins–who happened to be a human being–as the Cubs were eliminated from contention.
This can’t be the same place.
And I am so lucky to be here–not just at Wrigley Field the night the Cubs broke the glass ceiling– but to have suffered long enough on this square planet to appreciate witnessing the Cubs win, perhaps, the greatest World Series ever played.
To have dropped to my knees–sobbing in public–without a moment of embarrassment.
To have embraced some of my favorite people while we cried tears of joy.
They’ve never made it easy, but they’ve always made it fun.