This year’s World Series will certainly go down in history as one of the greatest. Two historic franchises trying to win one for the first time in eons. The Cubs finally got the goat off their back. They are now World Champions. Chicago-land went apoplectic.
If you know me well, you know that I’m not much of a Cubs fan (to say the least). But that’s another post for another time. I thoroughly enjoyed every game of this World Series. Game seven was probably one of the greatest, if not the greatest baseball game I have ever seen. But just because I don’t like the Cubs doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the baseball.
In fact, this World Series was great for reasons that far transcend just baseball. Baseball has always brought people and families together. But the Cubs fan base has a long and sordid history. It has decades of futility. There is that incredibly iconic stadium. The Cubbies have supporters throughout much of the midwest, and beyond. All of this adds up to one of the things I most enjoyed about watching everything that led up to the Series, and the Series itself.
Did you notice that so many Cubs fans were wishing they could be watching games with people who no longer live here on earth?
- The grandfather who listened to games on the radio
- The dad who rode the L in to Wrigley with the son or daughter
- The mom who loved tuning into those day games WGN before there was either cable at home or lights at Wrigley
This feeling was so prevalent that people began to use chalk to write the names of deceased loved ones on an outside Wrigley Field wall. “This one’s for you dad.” Names of grandfathers, uncles, brothers, and mothers were written there. They were such touching messages that heaven and earth almost came together in a chalk mark on a seemingly sacred brick.
People say sports don’t matter. But tell that to the Cubs fans who, upon that last out, looked up to the sky with tears streaming down their faces. Tell that to my daughter who learned how to score a baseball game sitting at my side at Miller Park. Tell that to my son whose glove wore out from all those times we played catch in the front yard on 53rd Street.
Tell him that those rides to and from Little League games and practices was time wasted. Tell him that the lessons he learned about winning and losing, team work and goal-setting, discipline and hard work mean nothing.
Tell that to my family. Remind them of the times we laughed, cried, cheered, and even sat quietly together at Milwaukee Brewers baseball games. I dare you to tell them it meant nothing.
You can’t do it. You can’t do it because sports, and especially “thinking” sports like baseball, draw families together. It is a form of love shown and shared. Baseball, in many ways, is a metaphor for life. It’s filled with disappointments and bursts of joy. The lows are very low. And the highs are very high. It’s a reminder that doing well even three out of ten times is to be “successful.” And it’s an epic lesson in patience.
When families share all of these things together there is a bond. It’s a bond that sometimes even transcends this life to those who have already gone on to the next.
And that’s a very good thing. That’s why, even though it was much to my chagrin, the Cubbies winning a world series was so much greater than just a game. It brought together hopes, dreams, wishes, memories, and, finally, a World Championship.
Now maybe someday, sooner than later, it will be the Milwaukee Brewers’ turn. And I hope I get to share that same joy with my children (and grandchildren?) before I pitch a game in that great baseball field in the sky.
What impact has baseball had on your life?