When Cleveland Indians outfielder Rajai Davis hit a two-run homerun to tie Game 7 of the World Series in the bottom of the eighth inning, I puked.
Yes, the game was such an emotional investment I was literally sick to my stomach. If you were a Cubs fan you would understand why.
Cubs fans never actually believe anything good happens. It had been over a century since the Cubs won a World Series. That sentence should be a typo, but it isn’t. If you only know what it’s like to lose you can never imagine winning. As a fanbase and city, we only comprehended losing. This homerun just seemed to be another cruel chapter of the everlasting curse. Thankfully, it turned out to be just a page.
While that inning proved merciful insofar as the fact that the Cubs didn’t surrender a lead to the Indians, divine intervention approached with a rain delay preceding extra innings. I’m about as unreligious as it gets, but even I must acknowledge that for as cursed a history the Cubs own, some inexplicable magic finally shifted to the Cubs’ favor.
Despite scoring two runs and nearly blowing that lead too, for the first time since sliced bread the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. (Literally, sliced bread did not exist in 1908 when the Cubs last won).
Chicago is a fantastic city, but it’s far from a perfect one. The championship provided a respite where we could forget about the fact that Chicago remains the murder capital of America and that corrupt politicians have done their very best to run the city and state into the ground. Not to undermine those two depressing circumstances that define the city as much as its skyline, but they were irrelevant, if just for a moment.
Under such settings it’s rare to celebrate, but that’s exactly what the Cubs allowed us to do. We could enjoy something as trivial as our baseball team, who, to oversimplify the sport, throw a ball, hit it and run around. It seems ridiculous to do that amidst all the horrific elements of our city, but it afforded us the ability to be positive about something. We could recognize a tangible, incredible moment in our city’s history.
People across the city, state and most of the Midwest joined together for a baseball team. It is impossible to find anything people in that expansive an area care about, let alone agree on. Regardless of race, gender, religion, political affiliation and countless other traits, everyone enjoyed the Cubs. Even cross-town rival Chicago White Sox fans cheered for the Cubs.
That camaraderie of Cubs fans was global, too. I saw people in the halls after the Cubs victory who I hadn’t spoken to all year and could say “Go Cubs!” The Cubs gave us an opportunity to connect that not much else can.
While the true beauty of that is ineffable, the city was blessed with a few lasting reminders of that uniting moment. White Sox fan Chance The Rapper produced a song in honor of the Cubs and over 5 million people gathered at the Cubs championship parade when the population of the city is less than 3 million. If we united as much as we did for our beloved Cubs to combat the issues the city faces, we would make Chicago the home of more than the best team in baseball.
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) November 3, 2016
Numerous young athletes powered the Cubs to their championship, which leads many to believe that a successful future lies ahead. Nothing will ever compare to this championship. We probably won’t be forced to wait 108 years for another World Series win. Sports are unpredictable. That’s why they’re so beautiful and impactful.
Hopefully Chicago won’t have to wait long to celebrate again, but this celebration hasn’t ended and it never should. Chicago continues to celebrate their championship and much more than baseball.