Friday, May 30, 2008

It's Just a Game

Baseball is wonderful. Sure, a game can get a bit sleepy and can go on a little too long at times, but there's something great about a baseball game....and it may not even be the "game" itself.
I love the Cubs and have since I picked up my first WGN broadcast way back in the day. Cubs fans are usually just delusional enough to believe that every year is "our year". We always feel as if we are just a few outs from winning the World Series. You say optimistic, I say delusional. Why? Simply because we feel this excitement and joy in every game despite the fact that our beloved Cubs have not won a World Series in 99 1/2 years. In fact, even on a regular Wednesday night in the midst of this almost 100 year Championship drought, you'll find the Friendly Confines in Chicago jam packed with rabid fans.
This past Wednesday was one such night. A school night. A night when there's not many things to get very excited about. The Dodgers came dragging into town with their less than stellar year so far and the Cubs had taken the first two games of a three game series. This game turned out to be a pitchers' duel and went by rather quickly with very little action. The Cubs were down 1-0 in the 9th inning and just 3 outs away from a loss. This is usually the time when fans begin thinking about the commute home and the list of things they must do before going to bed. Some even begin to make their way to the gates to get a head start on their peers. But this time they stayed.
Not only did they stay, they cheered. They were on their feet in the 8th and 9th innings chanting the names of Cubs players and screaming at the tops of their lungs. All those people with different jobs, different political and religious beliefs, and different lives were unified even if for just a couple of hours. Unified over a game. It was amazing to watch, even if I had to watch from a remote living room location. The players noticed as well and responded by scoring once in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game and send it into extra innings. The crowd volume intensified and again the players responded with a run scoring walk-off single in the 10th inning.
The cameras showed the fans immediately following the game winning play. Many of them put their arms around the folks to their left and right and swayed back and forth while singing to "Go Cubs, Go" as it played over the loudspeakers. They shared smiles and bear hugs and most of them acted as if they had no other place to be for quite a while. They were consumed by the moment. A moment shared in common with thousands of other people.
Why is it that we seek out community as humans? What part of our DNA causes us to gravitate toward other humans and look for things we share in common? Why would a hermit like me want to join that crowd?

Maybe I'm just drunk on the current 4 game winning streak. Go Cubs, go.

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