Believe it or not, in just a few long--seemingly forever--hours, the Chicago Cubs will be playing in the World Series. This whole season has been absolutely magical: from a huge offseason filled with great new talent and the retention of all our favorite guys; to a stacked first half where we seemed to win just about every game; to the All Star Game where it was crazy fun but admittedly probably too many Cubs; to a proving, telling, and equally successful second half; to the test of the oh-so-resilient Giants; to the thrill, scare, and 'Holy crap we're actually doing this' of the Dodgers; to tonight: Game One of the 2016 World Series versus the Cleveland Indians.
A lot of people for a long, long, even longer than these next few hours time did not believe that we would ever be here. How many curses, alleged cures to said curses, and heartbreaks have we had to not only go through, but even worse, constantly hear about leading up to tonight? As Mr. Harry Caray would probably say, "Holy cows a lot!" The Chicago Cubs' drought has for some time been an easy joke and a trying frustration. From the outside, it has been easy to say, "The Chicago Cubs will never win. The Chicago Cubs suck. The Chicago Cubs are an impossible team." Understandable observations, no doubt.
However, from the inside, belief and possibility have always been what makes us love our Cubbies. Every cold, Opening Day brings with it a new season, obviously, but it also brings with it an air of curiosity. Outsiders joke, "Will this finally be the year that the Chicago Cubs bring their XXX year World Series drought to an end?" and local news stations dig up the tired old storylines of which superstitious benchmark this year is supposed to be. Blagh, blagh, blagh. They are boring and unoriginal. From the inside, the truly exciting and original curiosity asks, "What will this year be like?" Yes, in terms of "Will the Cubs be good this year?" and "Will the Cubs be good enough" this year, whatever that means. But more importantly, the inside question "What will this year be like" is a simple and timeless one.
Truthfully, for the Chicago Cubs, it's always been good enough, because good enough means a lot of for us Cubs fans. The Chicago Cubs' new seasons bring with them not only the curious air of the baseball season, they bring with them the warm air of the summer season--the summer season that we wait a LONG time for in this frigid, fertile part of the world. When we go to Little League practice, we're wearing something or another Cubs--I always called dibs on being Kerry Wood in home run derby. When we ride in the car with Mom or Dad, the Cubs are on the radio--Ron Santo was me and my dad's third best friend. When we have to talk to our friends' grown up elders, we immediately talk about the Cubs--I'll never forget talking to my friend Carson's grandma for a good half hour about the potential of Glendon Rusch in our rotation (Carson's grandma would have been a great manager in the 2000s). The Chicago Cubs are always there and we're always just happy to have them.
All of this excitement and enthusiasm for summer and the Chicago Cubs was and is simply and genuinely enough for us. It always was, always has been, and always will be simply enough. This is because the Chicago Cubs are a simple and genuine pleasure, a simple and genuine pleasure that transcends time, doubt, and impossibility in a way that only youthfulness can. This passion for the Cubs is a sort of positive, perpetual youthfulness we're all just happy to have.
Considering how this youthful pleasure both keeps Cubs fans going and brings us together, it is thus only fitting that this World Series team is filled with young, fun, relatable, exciting, enthusiastic, and genuinely fun-to-watch talent. All of these young guys are heroes and friends for Cubs fans all across the age spectrum, a spectrum that turns out to really not be wide at all. When we watch and listen to the Cubs, thoughts and worries of the past and future are gone, because the Cubs are right now. The Cubs just make us happy, plain and simple. Their success or lack thereof certainly always seems to add to the now, but in reality, it's a temporal byproduct unrelated to the present.
Does this mean we should be blissfuly ignorant of the past and future? Does this mean we should not be excited by potentially winning or disappointed by potentially losing? Does this mean we should all cling to trying to be forever young as opposed to enjoying youthful feelings? Does this mean we are in any way different than any other baseball fans and their relationships to their teams and the game itself? The answer to all of these questions is "no," a very strong and also important to note "no."
This all just means that it's especially important right now to keep enjoying the now. As we head into the World Series with a chance to win it all and make this now a forever, we must simply maintain our youthful enthusiasm for the Cubbies. Have a hot dog, get excited, hug and high-five our friends. The Cubs will still be here when this is done, either way. We'll still be here when this is done, either way. Tomorrow will still come. Yesterday will still be gone. Today is only now, though, so let's just enjoy our Chicago Cubs right now and realize how extremely lucky we are to be where we currently are. We've all believed in our Cubs at one point or another. We've all doubted them at one point or another. But we've never been as blessed, lucky, and fulfilled by the hope and journey of a truly special summer as we are now.
The Chicago Cubs are genuinely enough for us, no matter what. For the awesome moment this World Series is going to be; for as much as we've dreamed about this incredible ending; for as much as we've believed this day would one day come; and for all the history right now carries with it and will forever create; for now and like always, we're just happy to be here.