The Day After

Like a visitor on an alien planet, I observed Chicagoland residents with keen interest today.

Who are these “Cubs fans”? What is the meaning of this white flag with a blue W? What does it mean, to reverse a curse?

The Chicago Cubs, of course, won the World Series last in a wild Game 7 that went 10 innings and included a rain delay. It was awesome! (I told you it would be.) I was awake at 11:45 when the last out was secured.

I thought I was weird. I’m a Twins fan, after all. And a woman. And who watches baseball nowadays with its relative lack of violence and obscure concepts like double switches and designated hitters?

But as I sat around a table this morning with eight other middle-aged women and a (lucky) man at a cafe known for its brunches, I asked who else stayed up till midnight last night. Every hand went up. Every. Single. One. And then we all toasted the Cubs with glasses of champagne. No kidding. It wasn’t sparkling apple juice, some pretender stuff. One of those middle-aged women brought a bottle of real champagne to our meeting. Because the Cubs winning a baseball game — The Baseball Game — was That Important. That noteworthy.

On the way there, a car ahead of me on the interstate had a license plate that read “CUBEES.” The plate hung on the bumper of a sporty model that probably isn’t normally driven this time of year. But it was driven today.

I stopped at a superstore on the way. Every other person there, bright and early, was wearing Cubbies blue T-shirt. Or sweatshirt. Or a Cubs hat.

In the afternoon, on my way home, I stopped for coffee with a friend who lives a normal, quiet suburban life. Playing on the TV in the restaurant? A recording of last night’s game. The friend? She (yes, SHE) stayed up until 3 a.m. after the game, standing in line and buying World Series merchandise at Dick’s.

What I thought would happen didn’t. There were no riots. No cars overturned and burned. No crazies causing headline-making mayhem. I didn’t even hear anyone trash-talking the poor, poor unfortunate Indians. No zombies. Instead, there was cheering and champagne. There were fireworks, yes (I heard them at midnight, even in my little suburban village, far from Wrigleyville). And there were tears. Oh, the dewy eyes of dreams come true.

What I didn’t expect was the disbelieving gratitude of baseball fans who had never seen their team become champions and who finally let go of the superstitions they held close to ward off disappointment. They finally witnessed the team win it all. For themselves, of course. But also for generations of others who weren’t so lucky.

The day wasn’t filled with belligerence or arrogance or vitriol. It was filled with joy. Pure, blissful joy.

And it was a delight to behold.

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2 responses to “The Day After

  1. It is so good to see you blogging again! I look forward to it! I am a mixed breed of baseball fan. I love baseball (especially the designated hitter) and am a Twins fan (although when the Twins played the Brewers, I sided with the Brewers these last few years). But I also had a special place in my heart for the Cubs. That was probably for years the only baseball (I could listen to the Twins) I could watch was WGN’s broadcasts. So I died when the Cubs found ways to lose (to quote, “snatched defeat from the jaws of victory”). I tried to watch the game on Wednesday but I gave up when the Cubs blew an easy double play because the ball hit a seam. Instead I tried to ignore the game and got up in the middle of the night to see the results. I watched the replay of the game last night because of its magnitude and subplots. I am so happy the curse is over. I actually prayed that the Cubs would win (although I also like the Indians). It just seemed that it was owed this downtroddened team (of millionaires) and the baseball gods finally said , “there is enough suffering, let them win”! Thanks for the blog!

    • Thanks for the awesome comment! And the memories. I laughed when you said you went to bed disgusted. But I’m glad you could watch it later! It was such a good game.

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