Fly the W
A look at the Cubs 2016 World Series Parade
In case you hadn’t heard, the 7th largest gathering in human history took place Friday. It wasn’t for a political revolution, or to announce a new spiritual leader, or even for the rapture. It was to celebrate a baseball game that had already ended over 24 hours earlier in another city hundreds of miles away.
But this was no ordinary game. This was no ordinary celebration. This was the Cubs. The same Cubs that had become synonymous with pigs flying, hell freezing over, and even a woman becoming president. The same Cubs that were more known for black cats, goat curses, and fans reaching for a foul ball, than for winning baseball. The same Cubs that were more known for being chokers than for being clutch. But these are not those Cubs any more. See, the 7th largest gathering in human history did not occur to merely celebrate a game. It occurred to celebrate an exorcism. Demons be gone. Curses be gone. The Cubs have won the World Series!
The 7th largest gathering in human history occurred to celebrate the moment the Toad turns into a Prince, the moment the Beast turns into Boss, the moment Elsa unfreezes Anna (yeah, that’s right – I’m comparing the Cubs winning it all to the end of Frozen – you got a problem with that?!). The 7th largest gathering in human history occurred to celebrate hope. It was the day everything was possible again in Chicago. It was a “mass of happy humanity.”
And the biggest smiles were from those who were sharing that joy with those that came before us. This one was for Harry, for Jack, for Ernie, for Ronnie, and all the rest. For all the grandpas, grandmas, husbands, wives and even children that had left the physical world before the Wicked Witch began to melt, before Luke blew up the Death Star, before Marty found out that Doc Brown was wearing a bullet proof vest, before Jon Snow was brought back from the dead. This was for them. This was the day that “one before I die” became “won before I died!”
On Friday November 4, 2016 the City of Chicago and 5 million of its closest friends celebrated the dawn of a new day. I previously wrote about what the Cubs being in the World Series meant to me. If you read that piece you know that for me it is a collection of memories and moments with my family. It represents the dream of a 6 year old child that one day wanted to play 2nd base for the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. It is spending time with my beloved grandmother watching the Cubs on WGN after school. I had the joyful privilege of witnessing the Cubs win first hand at Game 6 and 7 of the World Series in person. It was a roller coaster of emotion that I cannot put into words. It was joy, pure joy.
Game 6 was a celebration from jump street. From the moment Bryant homered in the first to the last out, the game was never really in doubt. We were going to a Game 7! Game 7 was incredibly tense, but when Fowler hit the homer in the first the Cubs fans felt it was our destiny to break the curse. Anthony Rizzo was caught telling David Ross he was a glass house of emotion with a 3 run lead in the 8th. That glass house broke soon after as the Indians tied it up on an epic home run from Davis off the usually unhittable Chapman. In that moment, I believed the curse was real. In that moment, Progressive Field erupted – the stadium shook, and I thought we were going to lose.
I was at Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, when we were just 5 outs away from the World Series. I vividly remember the moment it all collapsed (not Bartman’s fault! I’m looking at you Alex Gonzalez!) and what it felt like. Well, with 4 outs to go in the World Series and the Cubs up by 2 in the 8th, I felt it all over again. When that ball hit Davis’ bat, the crack was deafening. The ball seemed to hang in the air forever…but we knew…we knew it was the moment the Cubs would be the Cubs again. It would be the moment the Evil Empire crushed the Rebels. It would be the moment the Cinderella’s carriage turned into a pumpkin again. (Can you tell I have an older sister and nieces that love Disney a little too much?). We had seen this story before.
But then the rains came. The heavens opened and for 17 minutes all the tears from the Cub fans in heaven poured down on Progressive Field. For 17 minutes you got the feeling that they were all banging on the Supreme Being’s door asking for one small favor. They were collectively saying… “not again. not this time. not tonight.” Somewhere under the stadium Jason Heyward was saying the same thing to his fellow teammates. And when the skies cleared and baseball resumed, the world would change forever. The Cubs would take a 2 run lead in the top of the 10th and Cub nation was happy again. Like it was opening day again and we had already forgotten about the prior year’s failure. But with 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th, Davis struck again to cut the lead to 1.
An Indian fan said it best. “Yeah you guys are 1 out away from winning the World Series, but you’re also one swing away from losing…again.” Well, thankfully that didn’t happen as a little dribbler to third sealed the deal and the Cubs had finally won the World Series. I celebrated the win behind the Cubs dugout with my brothers and sister. That’s what made it special for me. Around the world families hugged, people cried, cheered, and remembered their loved ones. This was for them. This was for everyone who had said “next year” for 108 years. This was for Eddie Vedder who sang “someday we will go all the way.” That someday was today.
Shout out to the Cleveland Indians and their fans. They were overwhelmingly good hosts, class acts, and their ballpark was beautiful. They were just as deserving as the Cub fans, and their team was just as deserving as well. It’s a shame someone had to lose.
I want to end with something I posted not long after the Cubs win: Imagine this…right now there are children out there who only know the Cubs as World Series Champions. They know nothing of failure, goats, black cats, foul balls, or curses. They only know of winning and flying the W. What spoiled little sh!?s! :)
For one joyous last time this season, strike up Go Cubs Go and Fly the W!