Sunday, November 6, 2016

let it reign: cubs win the world series

Late Saturday afternoon sunny near 80 tons of little bugs flying around and the only ones I can name are the big ones, the flies, the wasps, the ladybugs, and I’m thinking if it weren’t for Steve Goodman’s “Go Cubs Go” …

… what would I be singing?

With this song I am embraced.

I wore my Cubs cap and Cubs sweatshirt to the farmers market in hopes of reining in passing Cub fans and there were a few and it was great to smile and talk and say Hey, can’t wait ’til next year!

And out there in the field with the flies and the deer is the cork that like buckshot cracked the night air and not unusual to hear the pop of firearms here in Pelkie but I can guarantee you this was the first time anyone ever heard a cork shooting out of a champagne bottle in the middle of the night here in Pelkie because the Cubs had just won the World Series.

I said: Because the Cubs had just won the World Series.

The Best World Series Ever. History, drama, intensity, mistakes and misplays and great plays and grand slams and youngsters and grandpas and more and more for the record books and damn, I mean damn, nobody ever gave up. Nobody. Though somewhere there in the bottom of the eighth I was just about ready …

All day I’d been thinking of how in the bleachers we used to change that one lyric in the song we sang during the seventh inning stretch:
… if they don’t win it’s the same …
I sang it that way so often it’s hard to sing it any other way and only with conscious effort do I sing:
… if they don’t win it’s a shame …
And when Chapman gives up that homer in the bottom of the eighth and the game is tied in my mind’s eye I zoom out until the moment is seen like through the bottom of an old glass Coke bottle, taking its place in Cubs history and I am looking back and there it is: another on the roster of Great Hopes Dashed.

Should I keep listening? Turn it off? Do this again? Or just believe: This time can be different. With four outs to go, this here now can be different. Seriously? Expect a different outcome after 108 years of the same?

Do we ever learn and what do we learn?

Of course a lot of talk and thoughts about my dad. That’s what he gets for being dead—we get to remember and talk about him as much as we like. My sisters and I claim he started it all, all this, any of this, this Cubness. He as a kid with his damn radio out there in western Illinois picking up WGN in the 1920s, 1930s. The last World Series for the Cubs, in 1945, he was in the army, in the Philippines. In 1908, the last World Series the Cubs won, he was not yet born. But between those two he did see, or could listen to, anyway, four World Series with the Cubs and only now does it register that between 1929 and 1938 the Cubs were in four World Series and my dad was 10, 13, 16, 19, and in those four World Series the Cubs won a total of three games. I don’t remember he ever much talked about that.

Oh my god! Just what we need! A rain delay and it’s something like four hours in, nine innings played, game tied, last game of this World Series no matter what happens and I’m exhausted. Elliott’s outside. Josie’s asleep. I let the radio play and play resumes. And not until later do we learn how crucial that rain delay was, how mythical, how very much like … divine intervention.
Clawing their way back, the momentum was with Cleveland. Then, a 17-minute rain delay. The Chicago players huddled, came together, put aside the past and remembered exactly what they, as a team, were capable of and what they were here for and how they would let no one person carry it all. Together, they would do it all.

Or something like that.

So tenth inning and no, nobody is giving up, and with the covers pulled way up over my head I finally hear it: Cubs win the World Series.

To Whom It May Concern:
Thank you.
To the Chicago Cubs of 2016:
Thank you.

Steve Goodman was 36 when he died in 1984. As I remember it, his more famous song about the Cubs at that time was “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request.” “Go Cubs Go” may be a catchier tune and a lot more fun to sing, but let’s not forget this other song nor all those years we gaily spent on the futility that sure, broke us down, but that also, somehow, sustained us, maybe even built us up, brought us here. It really was great fun.

And so to Steve Goodman:
Thank you.

And thanks to Jennifer for forwarding all the
go cubs go tweets and stuff!