Last night proved that the best things in life are worth waiting for. Even for 108 years.
The Chicago Cubs won their World Series in the final game 7 of a jaw-dropping, nail-biting roller coaster of a series, rallying after a 3-1 game deficit, and capped off with what has to go down as one of the most exciting game 7s in, well, history. There was a hopeful 6-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth, which very quickly turned upside down when Cleveland scored a two-run homer and an additional run to tie the game. Then, the rain started and of all things, a rain delay after the ninth inning, sending the players to the locker room to regroup and my husband to a near frenzy. :) After 17 minutes of tarps on the field, Zobrist knocked in what would be the winning run in the tenth, and at exactly 11:47 pm, Rizzo would flawlessly catch a throw from Bryant to snag the last out and earn the title of champion after 108 years of curses and heartbreaks and grueling waiting by so many loyal fans. If they were going to take the cake, they were going to do in a way that would have us talking for years, or even a lifetime. From Grandpa Rossy's homerun in his final game before retirement, Kyle Schwarber coming back and showing up big after literally not playing all season long, an infield made up pretty much entirely of rookies, and being one of the only teams in World Series history to win three in a row and take the title in game 7, it just seemed a little too good to be true. Or maybe nothing short of destiny.
Beau has been a Cubbie his whole life. He grew up watching games on WGN when he was a kid, will tell anyone that Ron Santo is one of the greatest men to walk the earth (with pages of notes and statistics to prove it), and becomes a kid when he has the opportunity to spend an afternoon in the front row of the bleachers (shirtless) at Wrigley Field. He's been telling me for five years that the Cubs were rebuilding and that they were going to start rewriting their narrative soon enough, but he's been cautiously hopeful all season, leery to voice too much enthusiasm, although he says all that goat superstitious stuff is bogus. And last night, I had a front row seat to watching his sports dream come true. He laughed, he paced, he watched in total disbelief, and then he celebrated, with texts and tears and repeated "Did that really just happen?" moments that we won't forget anytime soon. I have loved this post-season so much, loved sitting on the couch with him discussing our deep love for Rizzo and Bryant and Javy and Joe and Grandpa Rossy, loved occupying the kids and giving them quarters if they went to bed easy, and loved staying up late, getting up early, and reconnecting over October baseball. It truly is America's greatest pastime.
I don't claim to be a diehard sports fan, but I am a lover of stories, a fool for nostalgia, and a hopeless romantic. And as the Chicago Tribune put it this morning, "The last great American sports story now has an ending, the happiest one ever, pleasing baseball romantics and fulfilling the lives of so many Cubs fans." I bought into the Cubs hype when I first walked on to the Friendly Confines in 2005, sat beneath that old scoreboard, toasted Old Styles with strangers turned friends, and sang loud and off key to the 7th inning stretch with Ron and Pat. Baseball represents so much of what is good about this land we live in, and the Cubs will be the sweetest reminder of that for years to come. The curse is dead, most of those talented, young (and good looking) boys will be back next year, and now we can finally start going to bed at a decent time. It feels good to be on top!