I was coming of age and ready to make the pilgrimage to complete the sacred rites of being a diehard Cubs fan.
With about three dollars in change stuffed in my pocket, I walked over to the Clark Street bus stop, paid my 45 cents to the driver (when you could still do that!) and proceeded south to the Addison Street stop.
I got off the bus and there it was…Wrigley Field…the Cubbies temple shrine…bigger than life! I went over to the ticket window, paid my $1.50 for a grandstand seat, went through the turnstiles and beheld the “Friendly Confines” in all its vine-covered glory!
I was actually going to see my heroes…Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ron Santo!
It would be a double-header and their ace, Fergie Jenkins, would be pitching one of the games. It was an unforgettable experience. Not only did they win both games but I got some autographs afterward.
The Cubs were firmly in first place and all was right with the world.
Of course, you baseball fans all know what happened that fall…yup, “the amazing Mets.”
Nevertheless, 1969 marked the beginning of my long and happy delusion as a devoted Cubs fan—always high hopes in April, only to have them dashed by mid summer. A few times they broke out and actually made it into the playoffs, including last year. But again…hopes dashed.
I got married in 1980 and Maureen and I raised three boys. We would occasionally take them to a game (when we were still living in the city) in order to pass this sad family legacy on to the next generation.
Having lived their formative years in Chicago, our sons have been Cubs fans ever since, even though they live in other more successful baseball markets now. We’ve spent many years commiserating together over our perennial disappointment. As comedian and Cubs fan Bill Murray said recently, it builds character.
But then this year happened!
The Cubs are actually in the World Series. What?!?! Is the world coming to an end? After 71 years of rebuilding, the Cubbies are finally returning to the fall classic!
Keep in mind, the last time the Cubs were in the World Series was at the end of World War II; the last time they actually won it (1908) they were playing against Ty Cobb! Back then, Baseball cards weren’t found in children’s bubble gum packages but in tobacco products!
108 years is a long time.
Which brings me to this weekend. Two of our sons are flying in from the west coast just to “be there” around Wrigley while history is being made, win or lose. When this gets posted, Maureen and I will be in Chicago to see them (but we’re not going down to be part of all the craziness!)
What does all this have to do with anything on this blog? Probably not much, except to say that God tells us He will never give up on us either, no matter how many times we may fail Him.
For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Heb.13:5b NKJV)
So…go Cubs go! 🙂