Thoughts as a championship banner is about to fly over Wrigley

Ever since game 7, I’ve thought about trying to write something to capture why a bunch of guys swatting at a ball meant was significant, but after working over a few different approaches in my head, I finally decided I don’t need to explain anything. The crowds outside of Wrigley during each World Series game, whether it was played there or not, knew. The celebrating strangers we walked by and high-fived that night knew. Everyone at the rally and watching at home knew. No one needs me to explain it to them.

I’ve watched Game 7 highlights a dozen times at least, and every time I’m amazed when Zobrist’s double goes through. The celebration happens on the field, and it’s not imagined, it’s not a video game commercial, it’s a thing that happened, and I know it because I remember and will always remember. Just after the game, my sister-in-law posted a video of my oldest brother crying at the end of the game, and I laughed and was happy no one in my family had thought to pull out a camera and point it at me as the game ended.

The video of my brother did not go viral, because why would it? It was one of a million such videos. There were eighty-year-olds, ninety-year-olds celebrating. There was the guy listening to the game in the radio next to his father’s grave. There was Bill Murray in the stadium, and John Cusack, and longtime fan Dorothy Farrell. Who could rise above all that?

But who needs to compete? The thing about this is, there are very few moments in life when you need absolutely nothing more than the moment itself. Debate the time, the money, the emotional investment given to a baseball team all you want. That ground ball rolled slowly to Kris Bryant, and he picked it up with a smile, and slipped as he threw it, but it went where it needed to go. And for once, it was absolutely perfect.

Weirdly perfect. Maybe undeservedly perfect. Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray—none of them lived to see this. They did a lot more for the Cubs than I ever will, so why should I be able to enjoy this when they never could? It’s a weird event because of it’s rarity, the years of bad luck and curses that made so many losses extra painful suddenly doing the reverse and making a victory way better. The good fortune grows directly from the bad, and the current of history is abruptly reversed.

None of us deserve it more than Ernie, Ron, Harry, and Jack, but like I said, it’s not a competition. We still deserve the moment, for the simple reason that we cared. So we’ll hoist pennants and wear patches and flags and do whatever we want to remember it. We earned the memory. No other explanation is needed.

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