Most evenings do not find me communing with the collective spirit of sport frenzied enthusiasm. In fact, most evenings that involve me and sports in the same room usually involve my unbridled invective against the barbarity of this sport or the stupidity of that one. It's not even that I hate sports. I simply hate watching other people play them. I'd so much rather play the sport myself, or do anything actively, rather than watch others play sports. However, this evening was different.
Now, maybe it's my deep American roots, but I've always had a fondness for a good ballgame. (Not that I watch baseball often, but I tolerate the odd game here and there because I like the game.) As a child I remember cheering on my Dad while he played in corporate ballgames. I remember playing t-ball and Dad teaching us to bat. My brother and I loved it when he would do the "real pitcher's wind up". No doubt he went easy on us but we felt like pros when we would hit these real pitches. As slightly older children we taught our dog to outfield for us so that we could take turns batting and pitching without having to run and get the ball ourselves.
So, this evening found me captivated by the world series game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. Mom, who has always been a die-hard Cubbies fan was too nervous to even sit in the room. She feared that if she watched the Cubs would lose. So she hovered in the adjacent doorway, fretting and finding busy work to keep her hands occupied between running in to see a play and running out of the room so as not to jinx her beloved Cubbies.
And there is something special about Cubbies fans. They've been fans, dedicated fans, for the last 108 years without any world series wins to their credit, not since their last win in 1908. To be fair, the Indians hadn't won a world series since 1948. So, the stands were full of tense faces, hands over mouths and distractedly holding nervously onto baseball hats as fans of both teams watched 10 close innings. And what a game it was.
The enthusiasm was high throughout the game. It was exciting because it was such a close game. With the batters who nobody expected anything of sometimes bringing it home. So, when the Indians hit a ball at the bottom of the tenth the atmosphere was tense up until the moment that the Cubs' first baseman caught the ball and made the final out, winning the world series and delighting Cubbies fans everywhere. A historic moment, 108 years of bad luck, curse, dryspell or whatever you would like to call it, was finally broken. Just think about that for a minute. People worn born Cubbies fans, lived their whole lives and died without seeing the Cubs win a world series. Almost two generations of people passed while waiting for tonight. It has been pointed out that the last time the Cubs won the world series, Al Capone, Mark Twain, and Thomas Eddison were alive. Tonight linked us back to a time a full century ago. And I was caught up in the magic of the excitement, camaraderie and importance of this moment. I watched history being made. What a great feeling, knowing both teams played so well, were so close and wanted it so badly. What a great game! What a moment to remember.