It was a muggy mid June day. My 10 year old son and I pulled into the last parking spot on a crowded Chicago street. We jumped out of our mini van and ran a mile to reach our destination. In the distance was a stadium I had seen my entire life but never visited. A ballpark and antiquated seating. It’s a place on the bucket list of any true baseball fan, Wrigley Field!
I am not a Cubs fan. I have cheered for the Philadelphia Phillies my entire life…a fate not much better than sticking your fork in the electrical socket or putting your hand down the garbage disposal…but that is another story for another time.
Yet, for one late spring day, my son and I were rooting for the Cubs and I must admit…I liked it!
The Cubs hold the distinction of being the team with the longest “championship drought”. They have not won the World Series in 108 years. After their playoff loss last night it will be at least 109. They haven’t even been IN a World Series since 1945. Championships have evaded the Cubs like thunderstorms “just miss” the lunar surface. Yet, when I walked into Wrigley Field there was no trace of this painful past. The spirit of the ballpark was more alive than any baseball field I have visited.
Wrigley Field is also beautiful! It’s like being transported back in time and into the future all at once. The grass is a vivid green. It’s a shade different than the ivy on the outfield wall so they both stand out to your eye. The scoreboards manage to have both a modern and “throwback” feel. The city skyline beyond the park is the only thing reminding you that you aren’t on some gorgeous baseball planet.
My day as a Cubs fan makes me appreciate a couple of things about people who cheer for them everyday…
First of all, they are tenaciously positive. I don’t mean there aren’t a ton of people in a severe depression today. They don’t skip over the reality of their situation. They feel pain and loss like the rest of us but they keep on having hope. My guess is next spring, they will once again fill the stands expecting that.. maybe this is the year! I want to be tenaciously optimistic no matter what my circumstances may be.
Second, I believe Wrigley Field is a direct reflection of the fans who walk through it’s turnstiles. In other words, you don’t need a World Series ring to put forth your best effort. Sometimes the beauty isn’t found in whether the official score has a “W” or a “L” at the end of the line. The game in itself is worth giving it everything you have. I want to be the kind of person that doesn’t need to “win championships” to create beauty around me.
In a culture obsessed with “success”, I appreciate the Cubs fans in my life. I’ve won some games in my life and lost others. I’ve never had a “World Series” moment but there are people who cheer for me regardless. Those are the people I appreciate more than I can say.
For you Cubs fans feeling down today, I hope that some World Series in the near future you hear the words… “Cubs win!!!”, “Cubs win!!!”