It started 50 years ago, and began at the corner of Addison and Sheffield. I saw the giant stadium and was in awe. My father would walk up to the ticket window and lay down a few dollars and say “What do you have for me?” The guy would slide 2 box seat tickets back for less than $5 each. My father held my hand and walked me up those hallowed concrete steps. At the top I saw it for the first time. Wrigley Field. The thousands of seats, the pristine grass, the Ivy and the city buildings just beyond the bleachers. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I loved it. At the age of 11, I started going down on the train with my cousin Bill. We would arrive at 10am when the ballpark opened and sit in the same 2 seats. The 2 closest in the grandstands.
We played cards and ate tuna sandwiches that our mothers made while we waited. Over the years we saw Burt Hooton’s no hitter, Zambrano’s no hitter in Milwaukee and the Bartman game. I was there for the first official night game.
I saw Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron. 20 years ago I was lucky enough to buy season tickets.
I started taking my daughters at 2 years old. I got to hold their hands the first time they climbed the steps. My oldest had her first hot dog there which she ate sideways from the middle out towards the ends. They dressed up in Cubbie gear every year.
And then 2016 happened. Like winning the lottery, it’s something you dream about but never ever really expect to happen. First the Giants and then the Dodgers. Would they collapse? Could they do it? Finally like any great movie script, Game 7. Something every kid pretends to be in. What a game 7. The joy and agony and back again. Then the rain came down. Was this just another cursed moment in Cubs history or was it Mother Nature telling everyone to breathe deep and enjoy what was about to happen. And then it happened.
CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! 108 years gone in the time it takes to throw to first base. The black cat disappeared, the goat was dead and Bartman was forgiven. They say it’s the journey that counts and not the destination. This time it was both.
Thank you Chicago Cubs.