Clichés are often seen in sports. Most of the time, a cliché is born in sports. Sports are known for producing miracles as well. Sports are the one thing in this cruel world that brings people together. 108 years is a heck of a cliché. “The Lovable Losers” is a heck of cliché, but don’t tell the Chicago Cubs about clichés.
Sports is the one thing in this turbulent time that rallies people around something, no matter who you are or where you come from.
Tonight (or, technically, last night), Thursday, November 2, 2016, something happened that many people thought would never happen in their lifetimes, an event happened that spanned lifetimes, generations and even the better part of century. This event spanned two World Wars, the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, the birth of modern technology, and other cataclysmic events.
For the first time in 108 years, the Chicago Cubs are World Series Champions.
It’s every American kid’s dream scenario growing up. It’s Game Seven of the World Series, two outs, final inning. A ground ball is hit to you, you count the seconds before the runner gets to first, one second, the kid playing for the beloved hometown team, the crowd stands on the edge of their collective seats, you field the ball, two seconds. You transfer the ball to your throwing hand, three seconds, the runner’s halfway there. You fire the ball to your first baseman like a rock out of a catapult, four seconds. You hear the crack of the ball hitting dry leather, five seconds. Despite the crowd, and you hear the ump shout the greatest three-letter word. “Out!” The game’s over., you’re jumping in a dog-pile in the middle of the infield, you just won the World Series.
Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Baez along with the rest of the Chicago Cubs got to live that fantasy of every American kid at Progressive Field in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday night.
But probably the most heartwarming story was of the oldest player in the history of baseball’s Fall Classic. David Ross, the 39-year-old elder statesman catcher for the Chicago Cubs, is retiring from baseball a World Series champion.
Despite a thrilling Game Seven and a valiant comeback effort, the Chicago Cubs arrived to their date with destiny.
I, myself, am a Chicago White Sox fan, a staunch rival of the Chicago Cubs, but I remember that fateful October night in 2005. I was nine years old when the Sox won it all. I stayed up late, I went looking for locker room championship hats all night with my dad. I didn’t go into school the next day, I remember actually watching the scenario that unfolded in my head countless times over happen in real life.
Now, it’s the North Side’s turn.
I know there’s a 9-year-old kid somewhere in Illinois, whether it’s on the North Side or the suburbs, from Aurora to Wrigleyville, who’s feeling the exact same way that I felt this time 11 years ago. The very same feeling of joy, elation, and true happiness, where any and all problems melt away for that little while, where you feel on top of the world.
Critics say baseball is a dying sport, giving in to the titans of College Football, the NBA, and the NFL. After witnessing what I have over the past few weeks, nothing could be further from the truth. Hopefully, these Cubs inspire the next generation of ballplayers, who decide to pick up the bat, ball and glove, and maybe, just maybe one of those ballplayers will get to experience just what their beloved Cubbies did tonight.
Until then, say it loud, say it proud, and (much to the chagrin of most White Sox fans) say it often.
The Chicago Cubs are the 2016 World Series Champions.