Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Joy In Mudville

"Do they still play the blues in Chicago?" That was the musical question asked by Steve Goodman back in 1983, when the team from the north side was in the midst of another season of mediocrity, finishing the year with seventy-one victories in one hundred sixty-two games. It was the next year, 1984, that Cub fans sat up and took notice. They got twenty-five more wins and took first place in the National League East. Steve Good man passed away just days before his beloved Cubbies clinched the division.
From there, it was a short five game series loss to the San Diego Padres before returning to the lower echelon of the NL East the next year. That one season was enough to make me believe the words of Mister Goodman:
"You know the law of averages says
Anything will happen that can"
That's what it says
"But the last time the Cubs won a National League pennant
Was the year we dropped the bomb on Japan"

I bought my first Cubs jersey, and placed a renewed emphasis on the story of my grandfather's obsession with the team that would eventually break apart his tenuous marriage to my grandfather, sending my father packing west to Colorado where would eventually marry my mother and raise up a whole new crop of unwitting Cubs fans. All because of that last trip to the World Series. The Cubs certainly helped pave an interesting curve in my family's path. 
Now, seventy-one years after that fact, the Chicago Cubs return to the World Series for the first time since anyone can accurately recall. This is an opportunity to tear down another ivy-covered wall that has kept them from winning it all since 1908. More than one hundred years. No one I know can remember that one, but now is the time to create new memories.
As I sat on the couch, talking on the phone to my older brother who carries the torch just a little higher than I do, we relished the moment and spoke of the past. We both took great solace and pride that our wives would happily encourage us to take off to see a World Series game without formfitting our marriages. These women understood, or at least they pretended to, which worked for us both in a pinch. It took me a while to move past the award ceremony and the post-game celebrations an interviews. In those moments, I sensed an extra weight on the couch with me: my father on one side and my grandfather on the other. A third generation was witnessing the impossible. There was joy in Mudville. 

No comments: