In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series for the first time in 108 years. Read that again. One Hundred and Eight Years.
Being from Chicago, I’ve found myself in past years, along with many others, falling into a similar slump as the Cubs notoriously have. Thoughts of “Will this ever happen?” and “Are we cursed forever?” crept into my mind post-season after post-season and it seemed that every time we would get a glimpse of hope, it would get squashed ten times over.
But not this season.
Something was different from day one this season. With every Kris Bryant home run and every Baez/Rizzo double play, we got one step closer to completing the century-old dream. And we knew it.
Fast forward to October, every baseball fanatics favorite month. A month that Cubs fans aren’t too familiar with associating with happy feelings. Last year, we made it to the NLCS…and lost. We were so close, but it got away. But this year it all felt different, it felt better, and we felt confident.
When the moment finally came that we clinched the NLCS and made it to the World Series, I didn’t react like I thought I would. I didn’t scream and jump up and down. I didn’t cry. I sat there and stared at the television screen. I watched Dexter Fowler and Willson Contreras jumping into a group of the other players and Kris Bryant hoist his teammates above his head. It was in that moment that I realized the Chicago Cubs, my Chicago Cubs, were going to win the World Series.
My next emotion was being overcome with sadness. I went from an ultimate high to rock bottom. I realized that the moment that I’ve been waiting for, that my dad, grandpas, aunts, uncles, cousins and so many other people have been waiting for was coming, and I was going to be 2,036 miles away from the corner of Clark and Addison. I was able to watch every post-season game with other Cubs fans. Even when we played the Dodgers, we would find Chicago bars in LA to watch the game at; to celebrate every win and mourn every loss with fans who had the same goal in mind: Fly the W. But it wasn’t the same.
My dad and I immediately called each other and began looking up flights and game tickets, calling everyone we knew. Nothing was coming together. Flight times didn’t work, game tickets were starting at $3,000 for Standing Room Only. It wasn’t going to happen. We were going to have to watch from what might as well have been the other side of the universe. And we were devastated.
Then we realized something, as much as we wanted to be in the Friendly Confines that weekend, it didn’t matter where we watched it. It was still happening. He and my mom were going to be in LA for the first few games and we would be able to watch them together. “Cubs in 4!” we thought. We’d be able to watch the Cubs win the World Series together. In LA. But together.
When we lost the first game, I don’t really think anyone flinched. We made every excuse. It was an away game. It was the first game. We didn’t have enough of a break between the NLCS and now. We’ll be fine.
We came back and crushed the second game and a fire was ignited. Every Cubs fan knew it was happening. Our confidence was peaking and we were getting ready to witness history. And then games 3 and 4 happened. It was like watching a horror film, but it was real life. There was no waking up from that bad dream, there was a Cleveland 3-1 lead and we were horrified.
If you are a Cubs fan and you say that you didn’t freak out that night, you are a liar. Prayers were said and stats were pulled…how many times have we won 3 games in a row? How many teams have come back from being down 3-1 in any series, let alone the World Series? We woke up Sunday morning with a “must-win attitude” and we ran with it. Watching that game was the most dramatic hours of my twenty-three years. Every error felt like a dagger and every great hit and out that we got was like winning the lottery. That roller coaster feeling was back. But we won game 5. Two more to go.
Game 6 came and I was sick as a dog, but there was a 0% chance that I was going to miss that game. Another must-win for the Boys in Blue and I am on the edge of my seat. We crushed the first inning and from that point on, my worries eased and I knew that this series was going to Game Seven. My parents changed their flights and stayed in LA and we made plans to watch the moment we’ve all been waiting for together.
When I woke up on Wednesday morning, there was something in the LA air. It traveled those same 2,036 miles that I did. I could feel it. We all could feel it. History was going to be made. I peeled myself out of bed and we met at a bar down the street. The six of us crammed in a small booth in a bar in Brentwood in front of three TVs all showing the pre-game warm ups. We got ready for what would easily be one of the best nights of our lives.
“Game Seven” are arguably the two greatest words to any sports fan. But add in the fact that it’s the World Series and it’s the Chicago Cubs, the feelings were amplified tenfold. Every out against us or bad play resulted in the entire strip of bars booing and swearing. Every run resulted in an uproar of screams and cheering. I realized in that bar that even though I thought I should have been in Chicago watching this, LA was going to be a great alternative.
The game went on for 4 hours and 28 minutes, including a rain delay. We had a three-run lead going into the eighth inning and the Indians tied it. No one scored in the ninth and we went into extra innings. At this point, no one was okay. In the crowded bar, people were pacing, cursing, praying and sweating. We wanted this so badly and in the next 15 minutes, it could be taken away from us for the 109th time in a row.
The tenth inning began and the Cubs scored two runs. Now all we had to do was get three outs and we would be the World Series Champions. Three. Outs. That’s it. It was the longest minutes of my life. Davis scored one run for the Indians with that we only had a one-run lead. With two outs, Martinez hit the ball straight to third and before he could even throw it, Bryant’s face lit up. A gentle toss to first and a catch from Rizzo sealed the deal. The Chicago Cubs won the first World Series since 1908 and broke every curse the city was under.
That moment was the definition of sheer bliss. I jumped on the booth and screamed. Everyone was hugging, cheering, crying…sobbing. After what seemed like ten straight hours of this, I stopped to look around. To remember this moment. To see the people I was with, where I was. And look up at that screen and see my Lovable Losers spraying champagne all over each other and holding the title of World Series Champions.
To end this documentation of the last weeks of my life, I just want to say thank you, Chicago. For raising me. For making me believe in superstitions, but even more in my team. For letting me leave, but still be completely tied to you. For giving me something so earth-shattering, that it made men, women and children around the world scream louder and cry harder than they ever have. For letting me listen to every doubter for years ask me how I could be a Cubs fan and respond with confidence that one day we would be the World Series Champions…and for making that happen. Thank you.