Chicago Cub’s win is a moment many will never forget

Staff Writer
Nevada Journal

To the editor:

My grandpa would be 101 years old if he were still alive today. He died 27 years ago, but was the person that introduced me to the Cubs. Pretty much all of my memories of him are focused around the Cubs. We watched them at his house on WGN, listening to Harry and watching the greats of the late 80s, like Sandburg, Grace and my favorite, Andre Dawson. We ate cheese curls (anyone else remember those), ice cream with malt sprinkled on top and drank root beer.

We went to my first game together with my parents in ‘89. The Cubs beat the Phillies. Dawson hit a home run. I’ll never forget it. Grandpa died on Christmas Day that year. We moved and I made new friends and the Cubs were the bond that brought many of us together. I bumped into one of those childhood friends, Jeff, the day of game 7 at the grocery store. We played Little League together. Our team name was the Cubs. We were both nervous wrecks that couldn’t quite fathom the gravity of what we were about to watch. Were we really here? We know what happens if we lose. Are we ready for what happens if we win? We both were careful with our words. No one wants to be the jinx.

I watched the game at home. I’d thought about going to Wrigley or Cleveland just to be a part of the moment, but while witnessing a moment of history with strangers sounds nice, watching it on TV with my wife and kids, like my dad and grandpa did, was really the only choice. The game was amazing and we really shouldn’t be surprised by how it went. Why wouldn’t they blow a 5-1 lead? You can tell a lifelong fan from a casual fan by how they reacted to a ball bouncing off our catcher’s face and the Indians scoring two runs on a passed ball or when they tied it with a home run in the eighth. Casual fans scream in terror and swear at the TV. Lifelong diehards slump into their chair silently and start to wait until next year. That’s the team we grew up with after all.

As we went to extras, my son started to cry because he’s tired and was afraid he might fall asleep and miss the end. We reassured him, but knowing he hadn’t made it past 9 p.m. for games onr-six, I was worried for him as well. And then the rain delay. I’m a pilot and I look at the radar and I see NO RAIN. Why? How? Is this how it ends? It turns out that delay was the game changer. The players talked about their meeting in the clubhouse and how it was the difference in the game. OK, I’ll let it slide. Then the 10th inning. I don’t remember much other than jumping up and down at Zobrist and Montero’s hits and then not being able to sit still while constantly mumbling how many outs we needed in the bottom half. The end was everything I thought it would be. I screamed like a girl and jumped up and down in my pajamas with my wife and oldest child. Thanks to my wife it is forever immortalized on Facebook.

I’ve thought about my Dad more these past few weeks than normal. Like most of us who have waited so long for this, we have people we wish we could share it with that aren’t here. He died three years ago and while I don’t think he was a lifelong fan, when both his dad and son became hooked he did too. We watched every game we could, which before cable wasn’t a lot, but the radio had every game. The biggest selling point for getting cable was having every Cubs game available to watch. He also worked hard so we could make a yearly trek to Chicago to watch a game, and having him and my mom with us at my son’s first game was a special moment that I hope to carry on someday when I’m an old grandpa. Nearly every trip I’ve made to Wrigley has been with my Dad. The last time I was there was a Cubs/Cards game with him. It was one of the best and most exciting games I’ve been to and the Cubs won on a walk off by Soriano. I’ll never forget it. I held it together through the whole series and into the celebration until I handed the phone to my son so he could call Grandma and tell her they won (she already knew). It’s a call my Dad should have heard and maybe he did, but not being able to share such a big moment with the people that you shared so many hours, losses, innings, however you measure it, is by far the hardest part of winning.

In the end the game ended late. I had to get up for work in the morning and the kids had to go to school. Life moved on, though we did it with a huge grin on our face that won’t go away anytime soon. I’ll never forget it. And I can’t wait till next year.

Luke Spence