My brother in-law Brian has been a Cubs fan for as long as he can remember.
“When I was in seventh and eighth grade, my buddies and I used to take a bus and then transfer to the L to get to games. We were really into it,” he said.
He, my sister Jenny and their daughter Erin live in Wrigley Field’s shadow; they can walk to games and host post-game celebrations in the backyard afterward.
Saturday night, Brian and his friend John Ernst, who’d been on a waiting list for 19 years prior to getting season tickets three years ago, sat in the bleachers and watched their beloved team make history.
Their first reaction, having sat in that same section for game six of the NLCS 13 years ago (and for countless games since), was relief.
“It felt like a huge relief because the gorilla is off our back. We can put all those old dead stories to rest,” he said.
Their second reaction, like the rest of the Cub faithful, was euphoria.
“We stayed in our seats a long time after the game,” he said. “Everybody did. They brought the stands out for the pennant ceremony and no one left the stadium. Not a soul.”
They stayed put, all 41,000 of them, singing a rousing rendition of Steve Goodman’s “Go Cubs Go!” and basking in the well-deserved glow. Meanwhile, all around the stadium, the streets of Chicago erupted in collective joy.
From a bar on Ashland and Grace, our daughter Katherine texted photos of the celebration, inspiring typical responses on the family group text.
“I’m so jealous you’re in Chicago right now,” Charlie wrote.
“Be safe!” texted her dad.
Following the stadium festivities, Brian and John walked home, had a shot of Bud in honor of Harry Carey, and enjoyed a post-game bonfire and cigar.
“You know, it never really bothered me when the Cubs lost,” Brian said. “Except after the 2003 play-off game. I was pretty dejected then. But, in general, I try not to let it bother me when my teams lose. I think it’s a privilege to go to professional sports, and it’s not one everyone gets to enjoy. I try to remember that.”
With four more wins standing between Chicago and a World Series title, Brian, like every other sensible Cub’s fan in the world, is taking nothing for granted. He and John have tickets for two of the World Series games, courtesy of their nights and weekends game package. Until then, they’ll enjoy flying the W for their beloved team.
“You know I walked past the stadium Sunday and some people were still there celebrating,” he said.
Take a look at this amazing clip of the National League Championship Series last out…
and the post-game celebration…
and Katherine’s video of the celebration outside the stadium…