Just in case you thought 2016 couldn't get any more bizarre: you now live in a world where the Chicago Cubs are World Series Champions. The Chicago Cubs!
It’s been 108 years since this has happened. A man named Theodore Roosevelt was the president back then. Year after year after year, the ultimate demise of the Cubs seemed inevitable, but still fans trudged in and out of Wrigley Field.
As long as most of us have been alive, losing has been a part of the identity of the Cubs fandom, but no more.
Look at this video of the moment from right outside Wrigley Field:
This is the moment outside Wrigley Field when the Chicago Cubs won the #WorldSeries pic.twitter.com/QBZmKPoOiA— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 3, 2016
Do you feel that?
That’s the entire sports landscape shifting. That’s the impact of pure emotion felt across an entire city and beyond, and you don't have to be a Cubs fan to be swept up in it. I grew up outside Chicago, surrounded by friends and family members who bleed Cubbie-blue. Full disclosure, I’m a White Sox fan, but seeing this look on my best friend’s face wipes away any kind of feelings about a rivalry:
Look at this photo of my best friend when It Finally Happened. HE'S SO HAPPY!!! pic.twitter.com/FSvCwoZdGw— Jason Scott (@JasonScott_AB) November 3, 2016
Rivalries seem kind of silly when you look at that kind of joy on someone's face. And for many, the joy wasn't in watching the Cubs' victory so much as being able to celebrate the joy of a friend or family member.
Went down to Wrigley to chalk a friend's late mom's name on wall. Hard not to be moved by the sight of so many similar tributes. #FlyTheW pic.twitter.com/dVjT1JbyLU— Dan Epstein (@BigHairPlasGras) November 2, 2016
Cubs fans turned out in droves to add their mark and share their joy at the Wrigley Field wall. Many of them are inscribing the names of loved ones who are no longer with us. Even Cleveland fans have to feel happy for these people.
There’s something particularly nostalgic about an event like this. As the present-day Cubs were winning the game on the field, fans watching were remembering Cubs greats, both on the field and off. Ron Santo. Ernie Banks. Harry Caray. But watching the Cubs win last night likely called up even dearer memories of a beloved parent or grandparent, too. Sports in general and baseball in particular have a unique ability to trigger a collective memory, where all of a sudden we all can recall an old Cubs fan who’d be thrilled to see them finally do it.
It’s an event like this that reveals the real beauty of sports. It’s why we’re fans in the first place.
Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs, their fans, and the entire support group of behind-the-scenes people that helped them #FlyTheW.