Get ready for all the Clarks and Addisons, the Anthonys, Jakes, and Schwarbers. (Yes, they will actually name them Schwarber.) The Cubs are 2016 World Series champions. Being partially a Chicago native, it feels bizarre to say those words…
For a long time, I have held to two predictions for what would happen when this moment would finally come. One was that half the city would burn down. This has yet to be proven true or false, and the half that burns has yet to be determined. (I feel somewhat confident in this one knowing that either joyous Cubs fans may accidentally give the Mrs. O’Leary treatment to the North Side during the course of their raucous celebrating, or angry South Siders may decide to take up pitchforks and torches in protest of continued mediocrity and an embarrassing new stadium sponsorship.) My second prediction was that a Cubs World Series victory would elicit the greatest bandwagon movement American professional sports has ever seen. I’ve been right on that one for at least the past month. One for two isn’t bad. While I normally oppose sham fandom of any kind, I’m singing a different tune for the first – and only – time.
When you lose 108 years in a row and become the inspiration for the moniker, “lovable losers,” history is not your friend. When you finally change that history, however, your achievement becomes more than merely a victory. It becomes a symbol of hope, a final reward for uncertain, yet trusting patience. Adopted from Field of Dreams, “it reminds us of all that once was good and could be good again.” Amidst its reputation for violence and corruption and an election cycle that has bared the worst and ugliest truths of what a society can be, Chicago needed that reminder. The Cubs’ victory will do little, if anything, to help fix the budget for Chicago’s public schools, curb the violence that plagues the city’s South Side neighborhoods, or weed out the corruption that operates freely among Illinois’ various levels of government. But it will remind all Chicagoans, Cubs fans and Sox fans alike, that a little hope goes a long way.
So it’s ok for you to break out the Kerry Wood jerseys and the Sammy Sosa shirts, because this moment is less about baseball than it is about celebrating what it means to believe. After 108 long years, an imperfect franchise celebrated a perfect season. After more than a century of keeping the North Side waiting, the curse must’ve forgotten that hope springs eternal.