After 108 years, the Chicago Cubs have done it. The World Series Championship is theirs.
After a thrilling winner-take-all game, though, I’m not thinking about the Cubs. I’m not thinking about the Cubs’ Matt Szczur, who, though not on the active roster, I was silently rooting for as I’d watched him play football at my alma mater during our overlapping college years.
I’m not thinking about Rev. Burke Masters, team chaplain for the Chicago Cubs, who has helped feed the spiritual needs of that team and who, undoubtedly, is closely celebrating with the players.
I’m not thinking about Chicago as a city, those around the country who wanted to see the “curse” broken and the Cubs finally win, or even those fans in my own generation who have supported the team for a few decades.
Today, I’m thinking about people like Donna Vickroy, a lifelong Cubs fan whose love of the team shaped her hobbies, passions, and whole life. In a recent Chicago Tribune column, Vickroy poignantly reflected on the meaning of Cubs fandom. Whether she meant it or not, she describes very spiritual undertones.
“Everyone needs a cause. Everyone needs something to pull for. Everyone needs something to believe in,” Donna writes. “Being a Cubs fan has been part of my identity. It got me through lonely days as a kid. It gave me something to share and jeer about with college roommates. It made for many a contentious day when I worked in an office filled with White Sox Fans.”
Donna goes on to describe an opportunity she received earlier this season to deliver the ball and rosin bag to the pitcher’s mound before the start of a game.
“It was my 5 minutes of fame, you could say. Afterward, I cried for 10.”
I’d love to know what went through her mind in those moments. Did walking onto that field, in many ways a sacred space for Cubs fans, snap her back into the first time she ever entered Wrigley Field with her father and brothers, an experience she described as breathtaking?
I wonder how many others there are who have loved watching the Cubs – win or lose – for as long as, or longer than, Donna. Fans who began watching the Cubs with their parents, or even grandparents, and continued to do so with their own children and grandchildren. Fans who remained just as awestruck entering Wrigley today as they did 60, 70, or 80 years ago. Fans who wish their friends and relatives, with whom they’d watched games for a lifetime, were by their side to witness last night’s win. I’d want to hear them describe their feelings – likely complex and rooted in relationships, history, and belief – on not just the championship but on their identity as Cubs fans.
It is a special day for those fans. Surely it is an emotional day, a culmination not just in the form of the World Series victory but perhaps more accurately a chapter in their ride with the team. Aside from seeing the new trophy in Wrigley Field, I don’t imagine much will change for those fans. They’ve been full of love for the team all along. Today, that is who I’m thinking about.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 3, 2016
— Anfrony (@Jeenyusaurus) November 3, 2016