It’s still sinking in, the fact that at long last (108 years!), the Cubs have finally won the World Series. I enjoy being an ardent fan of certain sports teams. I’ve cheered when my favorite teams have won championships, but I cried when the Cubs finally won it all.
And why not? Last Wednesday was the time for tears: tears of happiness, tears of release and relief, and tears of disbelief that morphed into tears of sheer joy.
I fell in love with the Cubs only after moving to the Chicago area to begin seminary. There was something about the beauty of Wrigley Field, being at a game not governed by a time clock, and the fact that (at the time) the Cubs only played home games during the day, that captivated me. By my late 20s, I was hooked. I was a Cubs fan and a fan of Wrigley Field for life.
Wrigley Field, in spite of decades of Cub futility, has always been a kind of sanctuary for me. It’s a place I go to get away from the pressures of life while watching a game that thoroughly engages me but doesn’t demand my constant attention. For me, there is a kind of spirituality to Wrigley Field (after all, the ballpark was built on the grounds that were previously home to a Lutheran seminary. Plus, Wrigley Field was the first major league ballpark to use a pipe organ, the prominent instrument in many a church sanctuary in the 1900s.)
And the Cubs. Well, the Cubs. I have always felt that being a Cub fan could teach you a lot about certain Christian virtues: like long-suffering; patience; faith; unconditional love (how else could one remain a Cub fan thru so many decades of frustration and unmet expectations?); and yes, hope.
“Wait ‘til next year!” has always been as much a Cubs’ fan mantra as “Go Cubs, Go!” Somehow you knew, you just knew, that hope against hope, one day the Cubs will win the World Series. When? Maybe not in my lifetime (as so many Cub fans have experienced), but “some day”, as Eddie Vedder sang, “we’ll go all the way.”
Well, some day came last Wednesday. And even some die hard White Sox fans have told me, it was a beautiful thing. For baseball – for our city – for Cub fans around the world. And maybe for anyone who’s ever played catch with a friend, toed the rubber as they’ve tried to throw a curve, or munched on a hot dog on a warm summer night at their kid’s Little League game. On Wednesday, November 2, 2016, the Cubs won the last game of the season. And somehow, we all won too.