If you’ve ever read any of my books, you know that they’re set in Chicago. That’s because I grew up in Chicago and although I’ve lived in the suburbs for almost as long as I lived in the city, I still consider myself a Chicagoan. Growing up, I was a Cubs fan, I went to games with my friends back when you could show up on game day and buy bleacher seats. (Back then the bleachers were never pre-sold and there was no such thing as a night game—Yeah, I’m old.)
I have great memories of taking the Addison bus down to Wrigley with my girlfriends when we about 12. Imagine a group of girls all sitting with the bleacher bums. We were unsupervised and surrounded by people who were mostly drunk. But we never felt unsafe. Everyone was there to watch the game, listen to Harry Carey belt out “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the seventh inning stretch, and have a good time.
I’m no longer much of a baseball fan. Even back then, I didn’t really enjoy watching a game on TV, but I would because I loved the Cubs. Those were the days of Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Jodie Davis, Shaun Dunston, Rick Sutcliffe. I still remember their names because they were such a huge part of my childhood. Going to a game was a normal thing to do, and looking back on my childhood, I didn’t have a lot of normalcy. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but I do now. I loved having underdogs to cheer for. There was always next year—time for something good to happen.
Because of these good memories, I include things like this in my books. Watching the Cubbies and being teased about being a Cubs fan is something that northsiders can all relate to.
So even though I haven’t been to a game in more years than I care to think about, I paid attention to the Cubs this year. Early on, I heard the rumblings about how this year was different. And it was. Even without watching the games, I became familiar with the names, Rizzo, Arrieta, and Zobrist. When they made it to the playoffs and the World Series, I watched my Twitter stream during every game because everyone had immediate updates. Everyone was invested.
Chicago gets a lot of things wrong. It’s far from a perfect city, but there’s something about the energy of the city when everyone comes together to celebrate a win. And this win was nothing short of spectacular.
This win was for every person who believed in next year, who had faith in the Cubbies, who continued to sing during the 7th inning even after Harry died.
I know a lot of people don’t get it. My own kids don’t get it. They’re not baseball fans, never have been. I’ve tried to put into words what this win means, and the words all fail. Because the Cubs finally winning the World Series is about feeling and emotion. There are no words to explain that feeling, but we can all hear the scream of “Cubs Win!” And for those who don’t get how that feels, I’m sorry.Tweet