Each October we think about it.
We watch two teams take baseball’s biggest stage, play in games that are widely watched, deeply dissected, and often revered. We see the fans of two teams, powerfully invested in the outcome of just a handful of games. We see the highest highs in the faces of the fans and the victors to whom they’ve become so attached. We see the despondence on the other side, the burden of knowing how close they’d come, and how difficult it will be to return.
We think about someday, when one of those teams will be the Chicago Cubs. When those fans are us.
What will it be like? Will we ever know?
From where I sit, the grand experiences of your life have a tendency to at once be unlike anything you could have described, and also somehow exactly like what you expected. For an extreme example, we have been adjusting to life with a third kid for the past six weeks, an experience that is both something I could not possibly have been prepared for, and also something that aligns with the rough sketch of how I thought it would be. You know, in an abstract sense, what is to come, but you can’t really know until you’re there.
With apologies to The Littlest Girl for the comparison, I feel similarly today, as I grasp for the words to describe how I’m feeling about the start of the first Cubs World Series in my lifetime. That the Cubs’ last World Series was 71 years ago is undoubtedly significant color for this moment, but, for my personal experience, it really wouldn’t have been too different if the Cubs had been there in 1969 or even 1984, when I was just a toddler. This is the first time I will, with my own hopeful eyes, see the Cubs standing next to that World Series logo, playing for a chance to lift that World Series trophy.
The words have become more elusive as this thing has gone on. The flowery things I write are generally new each time, but they come from a foundation of prior knowledge and past experience. Here, I have none.
I know only that I have seen World Series played before. I have seen the players. I have seen the fans. I have felt some measure of reflected emotion. And I have been a part of important, intense Cubs games before. I have a nebulous idea of what I’ll be feeling.
I also know that I can’t really know what it will be to see the Cubs take the field, to make an out, to score a run, and, hopefully, to win a game. Or four. Can I even imagine, though? Can you?
I have waited for this day. This moment. This fleeting, temporary moment. I will do my best to experience the whole of it, whatever it may feel like.
And I know, no matter what happens in the coming week, everything will change. We will know.