The Chicago Cubs winning the World Series is the holy grail of sports writing.
Actual reporters want the moments impossible to explain, yet demand explanation. They want the responsibility of putting words to the moments people will never forget.
Selfishly, they want to attach tiny words to monumental moments with the insane hope their voice will be read forever.
Every ink-stained sports goon wants to write the narrative of the Cubs, especially those of us who grew up in Chicago, as it wept moment after gut-punching moment. We saw the broad shoulders of Chicago slump. We watched a fan base lean in with cautious optimism only to flop backward in agony over and over. We witnessed the painfully unthinkable, which led to incoherent reasons as to what or who was to blame.
Forget the idea of defeat making victory taste sweeter. This amount of defeat made victory a mirage, something attainable for seemingly everyone else, but this group of loyal fools. They’d roll their eyes, while the nation laughed at them, mocking the stereotypical 20-something who discovered the Cubs when they moved to Wrigleyville or at the jokes on late-night television associating their team with losing. And Jim Belushi. Lord knows everyone mocked Jim Belushi.
But inside those who grew up with the Cubs in their blood begged for one title. Just one.
And it wasn’t necessarily for themselves. It was for the young fan, so they grow up with a different outlook on sports. It was for their mother and father, who went to Wrigley Field for their first date. It was for their 90-year-old grandmother, whose mind was starting to go, but still smiled at the Cubs on T.V.
The clock ticks for everyone, but for some it’s ticking faster. Just one damn title before they leave this earth. The hearts of so many Cub fans stopped beating without the sweet taste of winning the last game of the baseball season. It was for them.
To describe the overcoming of that wretched pain is why every sports writer picks up a pen.
Then, the Cubs won the World Series. And there were no justifiable words to describe the meaning of it.
So tell us what it means, Cub fans.
Here’s what Cub fans of different ages said they thought winning a World Series would feel like before the playoffs began:
1. I don’t know if I can describe what it would feel like. It would be incredibly exciting to celebrate with my mom and brother, who have faced so much criticism over the years and stuck by their team in spite of it all.
2. In the true superstitious spirit of a Cubs fan I’ll probably be worried that something bad might happen elsewhere, since the thing you’ve waited for forever has finally come to be. I’ll think about my sister, Mary, who’ll be celebrating the victory from heaven now, hopefully hoisting a few with Ron Santo and Ernie Banks and so many other true blue fans who never got to see it happen while they were alive. Mostly though, I think I will be overwhelmingly happy to share the victory with my kids and feel content with the knowledge that good things really do happen to those who wait.
3. It’s hard to say, like 108 years of collective relief, joy, and excitement rolled into one magical moment. I’ve always said I’ll be in Chicago no matter what. It’s gonna be pandemonium. It’s gonna happen, I’m hoping sooner rather than later.
4. Sheer bliss – something I don’t know if there are words to describe. Getting to experience something like that with people who have loved and taught me to love the Cubs through the ups and downs would be unreal. More simply put – it would just feel right. It’s been a long enough time, and the team, the city, and most importantly the Cub fans, the real true blue fans, deserve it.
5. Honestly, I can’t comprehend what it would feel like if the Cubs won. None of my major teams have ever won a championship, so I have never felt that feeling with anyone, let alone the Chicago Cubs. It would probably be a similar feeling to winning the Powerball, but then again I’ve never won that either so who knows.
6. For me, being a Cubs fan has been difficult at times, but if they were to ever win the World Series, it would represent that patience pays off and that sticking by someone or something’s side really does pay off. I feel that, after all these years of losing, that I’ve learned in a way how to accept defeat and how to cherish the joys, however few there are, of winning or success.
7. I have no idea, but I do know I will shed at least one tear, the gravity of the situation will get me, and will be utterly speechless. I think I’ll have the open-mouth, slack-jawed-yokel type of look on my face.
8. Surreal? I honestly stopped thinking about it after getting swept in the NLDS in 2008 for the second straight year. I’m practically numb to the team’s success at this point. Nothing matters until they actually win the World Series, and that’s something I can’t even imagine outside of the inevitable good-natured rioting, if that’s even a thing, and subsequent week-long bender that will ensue.
9. I don’t think I can comprehend what it would feel like to win a World Series. Being a Cubs fan, you’re used to disappointment. It wouldn’t feel like it’s real life.
Here’s what the same fans said it felt like (numbers correspond to the previous answer):
1. I can hardly describe what it felt like to watch the 2016 Chicago Cubs win the World Series. Watching them win it all, in my parents basement, surrounded by the people I’ve spent my whole life watching the games with, my phone going crazy with text messages, is a feeling and a memory I will never forget.
The game, like the life of a Cubs fan, was a nonstop roller coaster ride. Something about yesterday just felt different; I woke up feeling like they were going to win it all. Then the two-run homer from the Indians and it felt like the wind had been knocked out of every Cubs fan in Chicago. The “They might do it” feeling quickly turned to the ‘Oh my God, it’s happening again” feeling. I thought the universe must be playing a cruel, cruel joke on Cubs fans everywhere when, at the end of the ninth inning with the score tied in game 7 of the World Series, there was a rain delay. Luckily however, this allowed my heart some time to rest and return to a normal rhythm.
2. As cliche as it sounds, it’s hard to put into words. Until the final out I was afraid it wouldn’t happen and was already thinking about “next year” yet again. Now that its official it feels great to hang the “W” without thinking we’re jinxing it for tomorrow … at least for now. So happy to have shared it with my family. Bottom line it feels great. Something you always dreamed about that actually happens. Fills you with hope and most of all gratitude. I don’t need a dynasty and wont be selfish. … Seeing one World Series victory is good for me.
3. Just asked my mom. “Beyond elation,” in her words. She’s 61 years-old and walked down to the field with me after the game. “My poor 28 year-old son is sound asleep and I’m out celebrating history.” I was with her, but that was her beautiful reality tonight.
I slept about 19 minutes last night and ran around the field a few times this morning. It was me and the security guard wondering what’s wrong with me before 80,000 who showed up tonight.
4. In the end, bottom of the 10th, my whole family was together watching something we’ve all waited our lives to see. We were hoping and praying that all the years had finally paid off. There is no place in the world I would have rather been than in that basement with my family.
As happy as I am, finally getting to see my mom and (brother) watch a Cubs World Series victory is a memory I will cherish forever. I literally got to watch dreams come true tonight. There is something to be said about being a Cubs fan … I don’t know that words can describe it, but if you were in the basement tonight you would understand.
5. It still hasn’t completely sunk in but seeing my mom and (brother) experience it puts all of this in perspective.
6. For me, it was beautiful. I’ve dreamed of it. I’ve envisioned it. I’ve long thought, “What would I do if the Cubs actually ever won it all?”
The answer? Lots of screams and yells — my voice is hoarse — smiles for me and my family — we watched most every playoff game together — and falling to my knees, as the emotion took over and tears started to fall.
I always watched championship teams do their celebration and always wanted to feel that joy, from a fans’ perspective. For 30 years, I waited … my wait ended November 2.
This past March, a great friend of mine and true Cubs fan asked me how far I thought the Cubs would go this year. I said, “I think they’re going to win the World Series.” Was I on drugs? Who says that out loud? The baseball Gods had to be laughing at me.
And now, on November 3rd now (3:30 am), here we are. Here I am. The fan of a World Series champion.
It means the world to me. It feels better than I thought. It is vindication. It is proof that it’s OK to stick by a loser — if you think that loser has special potential. It’s OK to lose. Losing makes you appreciate winning. When you’re down, you never think you’re going to be up again (stole that line from the movie “Blow”).
The Cubs have been down for 108 years. Me? 30 … or 25 if you will (my first Cubs game, I was five).
Now I’m up. Now the Cubs are up. It feels right. It feels fair. It feels like I’m getting a piece of the baseball pie. My family too, of course. It feels good. It feels really good. I’ll enjoy it and cherish it for all time. It’s a joy. Being a Cubs fan is a joy. The joy of sports. The joy of being a Cubs fan.
7. The Cubs winning the (World Series) after 108 years is unique, no comparison to any sports experience, like the Hawks for example.
There’s the hooting, hollering and initial excitement of the win, there are the croaks in the throat for both the fact that they won and those who are not with us anymore. Damn I wish my mom was here to see this. And more than anything relief. I felt relief that the Cubs are not the lovable losers anymore. No more waiting for next year, no stupid goat.
My kids are growing up in a Cubs World Series world. That’s weird. They won’t know anything different than the Cubs as winners, and I’m OK with that.
8. It’s necessary to lay some objective context: That Game 7 is one of the best baseball games and professional-championship sporting events in respective histories. The swing from cruising to a 5-1 lead in the 5th to being tied at 6-6 in the 10th was nothing short of agonizing. Just a recklessly designed roller coaster of emotions from hell. And the fact the Cubs battled back from a 3-1 series deficit just to get to that point only compounded the night’s intensity, which I find remarkable. As if this franchise and fan base needed to endure any more nauseating distress. Over 17,000 games between world championships, and yet somehow the baseball gods felt that wasn’t enough for the Cubs. Of course there had to be more drama. So Cubs.
With that said, the final out was initially like getting kicked in the groin. The first few seconds were numb. Did that seriously just happen? I sat at my barstool, in silence, staring at the replay while everyone around me erupted. Internally, a range of emotions competed for my physical reaction. I couldn’t even think. Then it hit me, and by “it” I mean a beer shower. My friend threw two pitchers of Miller Lite in the air and one ended up directly on my head. And that’s when it really it me. The Cubs were World Series champions and that meant party time. Almost 48 hours later and the entire city is still going strong. I can’t imagine it slows down any time soon. World Series championships feel amazing.
9. I don’t think I can describe it. It’s the first time any of my teams have won a championship. It felt surreal. It was almost like I wasn’t sure it was actually real life. I had to re-watch the final out a few times before I realized what was happening. And then it was joy. Pure joy.
A Cub fan texted me after the Chicago Cubs won the final baseball game of the season he couldn’t stop smiling, but the only thing that mattered was being able to text, “We did it, mom.”
Go crazy, you loyal fools. Welcome to baseball paradise. Don’t ever wake up from this dream.