It’s been awhile, Cubs nation. How are you? I’m fine, thanks for asking. You’re so sweet!
I first want to apologize for my lack of attention paid to the Cubs as a whole thus far. While I’ve watched or listened to nearly every game (humble brag alert!), I haven’t thought about things I normally think about throughout the season.
“Why do we suck?”
“Why does Castro chew gum like that?”
“What made Rizzo cut his hair?”
You know, the important stuff. That’s not to say that anyone has really suffered from my absence – I’m not that important. But I do feel like I owe an explanation. It really comes down to three words: The Chicago Blackhawks.
I’ll admit it, I caught the fever. And the only cure … was more hockey.
As a result of this fever, baseball took a back seat. I wasn’t in Chicago the last time the Cup was here, and I wasn’t going to miss out on the celebrations when it happened again. I was raised in a hockey household. My dad followed the Hawks when he was a kid, and when they weren’t on TV, we followed the Dallas Stars. Then the Hawks returned to television. And it’s been awesome (that’s another humblebrag. See how I distanced myself from the bandwagoners? Man, I’m smooth.).
Through this experience of having another Chicago team win a championship, it’s got me thinking. What’s going to happen if the Cubs ever get there?
Let me set the scene for you.
I watched Game 6 at Murphy’s Bleachers in Wrigleyville. The place was packed. There was a buzz that I had never felt before. I personally was nervous and excited all in one. You know that feeling before a high school dance where you’re not sure if you should pin the corsage on the girl as her dad looks on? You don’t want him to think that you’re copping a feel, but you have to get that damn flower on her. And at the same time you can’t wait to get pictures over with so you can party? That’s what it was like. Excitement. Nervousness.
But 76 seconds away from the Hawks losing 2-1 the nervousness was taking over and excitement was turning to depression. Everyone in the bar looked as if someone had kicked their collective puppy. Then it happened: 2 goals within 17 seconds and Chicago won the Stanley Cup for the 2nd time in 4 years. The place went nuts.
A 300 pound man dressed in a Toews jersey, grabbed me, and picked me up as we both yelled as loud as we could. Beer was being thrown everywhere. There were people running around the packed bar hugging everyone they could find. The party spilled into the streets as we ran down Sheffield hugging strangers in beer-soaked Hawks sweaters.
We made our way to Clark Street where the party was already underway. People everywhere. In the street, on buildings, absolutely everywhere (police were also everywhere). Constant hugging and high-fives with more complete strangers. Absolute bananas [Brett: Yes, bananas]. But it was almost controlled. It wasn’t a malicious celebration. It was pure joy and exhilaration. Our team had won. Our team was the best. And this was the release of all the emotions.
This all happened in Wrigleyville, almost 6 miles from the United Center where the Hawks home ice sits. This was also a celebration for a hockey team – and arguably Chicago’s 4th most popular team. Also the Hawks won in 2010, which is fairly recent. What is going to happen to this city and Wrigleyville if/when the Cubs, who haven’t won in over 100 years, ever get to this point?
I don’t know what the answer is, but I know that I want to be there. And I’ll be taking a ton of vacation days.
Having a team you love win it all is one the greatest feelings. No matter the sport, it’s always amazing. This feeling, this high of winning will get me through this year as I watch the Cubs. What’s that mean? It means that I know patience and being a Cubs fan is synonymous while being overdone and over-said. At the same time I’m hoping it will pay-off while I’m still breathing.
I know some older Cubs fans will say that they’ve waited long enough. Hell, I know you have. I’ve said before, my grand-grandpa lived until he was in his mid nineties and never saw his favorite team win. But maybe, just maybe if it happens in our lifetime it’ll be that much sweeter. You’ll be the fan that has stood by through thick and thin. You may not always agree with the organization and the moves they make or the product they put on the field, but your fan loyalty pays off when the team produces. Ask Red Sox fans. The high you’ll get from winning will be unlike anything you’ll ever experience in your whole life. It’ll bring tears to your eyes.
So anyway, this is my excuse – take it or leave it. I’m back on board. I’m locked and loaded for the MLB season. We have some solid pieces that have trade value. Our prospects are producing so far. And Rizzo cut his hair. Everything in my eyes is on the up and up, even if this season is a bust.
I can’t wait for what happens next.