Dear Cubbies Fans,
So that was pretty exciting, huh?! Congratulations on seeing a century of loyalty and enthusiasm finally pay off. This was a really fun team to watch, and you all should be very proud of them, your season and your fans!
Before last year, I was a Kansas City girl who was just a toddler the last time the Royals took the World Series championship in 1985. The unthinkable happened in 2014 when we seemingly fluked our way through the playoffs and into the Fall Classic. We found ourselves inexplicably evenly matched with the Giants and our young team fought hard through game 7.
Do you remember how you felt last night in the bottom of the 5th when Hendricks was pulled out in favor of Lester and things got a little scary? Or worse, when Lester was pulled in favor of Chapman and the game tied and things got a lot scary? That gut-wrenching feeling of having victory so very close only to have it snatched away… that’s how Royals fans felt when we lost game 7 in 2014.
I’m so glad that feeling was fleeting for you. By forcing extra innings (and apparently having a “come to Jesus” moment of pulling themselves back together during the rain delay), your boys got the job done! The thrill of that moment simply can’t be matched.
The Royals came back in 2015 to settle unfinished business and hammered the final nail into the Mets’ coffin in game 5 of the series. Your own Ben Zobrist was our own Ben Zobrist then; it’s like the guy is good luck or something. Now I know 30 years is a far cry from 108, but the overwhelming elation we felt was like yours. So having been there fairly recently, I have a little advice for you…
• Accept that bleary eyes and pinch marks are part of your existence for the next week or so. Whether from physical and mental exhaustion or sheer bliss, you’ll probably have shed some tears and lost some sleep. That beautiful, delusional state will make you wonder if this is real life. It is!
• Realize that the crash is inevitable and it will burn a little. Adequate rest is essential to the next 24-48 hours of celebration. Power naps will help tame the cranky little bear inside of you. And for Pete’s sake, eat a Snickers or something.
• Learn to be okay with wearing the same thing as everyone else. You’re all rocking virtually identical WS gear right now, own it. Odds are you’ll be standing in line at the supermarket behind someone sporting the exact same shirt at least a dozen times over the next year.
• Finally, enjoy every single moment of this. Take pictures of parades and parties, but get out from behind the screen or viewfinder and capture mental images too. The sense of community and pride amongst your fellow fans is intoxicating; drink it in.
The Cubs might roar next season for back-to-back appearances (maybe even against the Royals), or they might decide to hibernate a little sometime next summer and blame it on a shortened off-season. You never know when you’ll see your boys in the World Series again, so savor it!
Congrats, Cubbies! Thanks for letting us celebrate history with you. Oh, and somebody hug Bob Newhart for me if you see him around town!
There are moments in life that tend to sear into your memory; it is in these moments that you realize the power of the human mind…and the power of fear to control it.
My grandparents recall the horrors of Pearl Harbor and WWII. My parents’ generation asks, “Do you remember where you were when JFK was assassinated?” My peer group relives that fateful September Tuesday in 2001.
Do you clearly remember the happiest times of your life, recalling them with vivid detail? Perhaps many people say yes, but I can’t. Maybe I’m broken or something. I just assume that happy-time recollection is largely traced to photographic evidential reminders. Unpleasant memories are conjured in the same way, of course, but (based on my own experience) I contend they are imprinted more deeply in one’s mind to begin with.
I think that we are programmed to go on high alert when we are fearful or in danger, so we draw in those sensations like a sponge and remember the details more vividly. It seems almost counter-intuitive, though; few people care to recall the bad things in life. And yet, the things that are supposed to be happy memories all seem a blur to me. Maybe that just means I have had more pleasant experiences than traumatic ones? Or I’m innately melancholy.
Anyway, my case study of one (me) also indicates that physical relation to the situation matters not with regards to an event’s impact. The only thing that truly matters is how your brain makes the connection. Take, for instance, the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School. I was a sophomore in high school, and I distinctly remember the day. Like every other, I flipped on the television to a cable news channel to see what was happening in the world. I didn’t expect to see live video of students fleeing their public school, victims trying to halt their blood loss. I didn’t know any of those crying teens some 650 miles away, but everything about Columbine reminded me of my own suburban world. Everything about Columbine shook me to the core.
It’s not altogether surprising, then, that last week’s Aurora movie theater shooting scared me. Superhero movies are right up my alley, as are midnight showings. I can so easily imagine that it could have been any one of my friends, or even me, in a madman’s crosshairs. To say that my heart goes out to the victims and their families feels cliché. What I can say is that I am going to be more intentional in my awareness of life’s happy moments. I want to vividly remember the good things rather than the unpleasant. I choose to let joy control my mind rather than fear.