When I prophesized a Cubs World Series win in an April edition of The Colgate Maroon-News, I did not know it would feel like this. As I watched the even-more-dreamy Kris Bryant scoop the ground out, I cried. I cried not in the single tear, sports montage kind of way, but hysteric salty droplets that fell like pop flys.
For the series against the Indians, I was in a Cubs bubble (a cubble, if you will). I understand that baseball doesn’t matter, but, for those ten days, myself and Cubs fans everywhere got to pretend that it did. And that’s never happened before. Prior to this and last season, I went to so many losing Cubs games that the activity was, at times, a burden. We literally couldn’t give tickets away because the Cubs were likely to accrue more errors than runs. Before there was “Go Cubs Go,” the groans of loyal Cubs fans reverberated around Wrigley, pausing only to sing and dance the YMCA (an activity I do not condone).
I have a hard time articulating my fandom for the Cubs. I didn’t grow up in Chicago, and honestly, I only understood the rules of baseball a few years ago. Even now, half of what I say about sports I’m repeating verbatim from my dad, which doesn’t fail to impress many. This summer, I was waiting for a workout class and eavesdropping on two dudes lamenting the Chicago Bulls’ trade of Derrick Rose, to which I interjected: “It’s all the head office!” At first they were aghast that such an astute observation could come from a girl dressed in so much lycra, but they quickly approved of my assessment, and we proceeded to talk sports until I used up all my sound bites.
I found baseball different. When my family copped some season tickets in 2010, I immediately learned how to keep score so I could be more like the character Sloane in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” While my initial reasons were quite stupid (I would need more than the skill of score-keeping and a fringe jacket to achieve such cool girl status), it helped me master the rules of a sport that had previously seemed senseless and boring. I joined the pathetic class of individuals who maintain that baseball is not boring, outdated or “too long.” Rationally, I understand that it is all of those things. But I won’t give up the fact that these qualities are not wholly bad. Spending long hours at Wrigley Field has encouraged a closeness to the family and friends with whom I’ve watched games. Sometimes baseball is so boring that you’re forced to actually talk to the people around you, especially when the cell reception falters and your phone battery dwindles.
But for the past two weeks, baseball hasn’t been boring. It’s been a necessary respite for the sturm und drang that has swallowed the news cycle whole. The Cleveland Indians were great, the Cubs were better and fans from both cities shared the new experience of being good. Talking to a friend before game seven, I mentioned I was more afraid of what would happen if the Cubs won than if this wasn’t the year. Losing was easy, losing was known. Winning the whole thing was unprecedented, and it seemed pretty likely I would collapse into a pile of dust. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case. Tears fell, but the world kept spinning, and I learned that really, really good things can happen that sweeten a world that has turned saltier than ballpark peanuts.