Through the Eyes of a Child
Christmas is always a favorite holiday around my household. As the father of three girls, I am always excited to be able to see the joy in my daughter’s eyes when we are putting up the tree and decorating the house. The joy and excitement is also evident when we are able to choose the perfect gift. The price of the gift is usually of no consequence, it’s the ability to pair the perfect gift with each of their personalities.
This year, I am in an unusual situation as the Cubs gave me the perfect gift. While I always like my ties, underwear, and “World’s Greatest Dad” mugs, the Cubs gave me a gift I hadn’t even thought to ask for before, a World Championship.
From the very beginning of the journey in spring training, through the ups and downs of the regular season, to the excitement of the postseason, it always felt like the potential was there for something special this year. Unfortunately we all know the complete randomness of the playoffs, small sample size and whatnot. So the chances of winning the whole thing was never higher than 40% or so. Granted this was about 40% higher than most of the recent years.
The playoff story, culminating with the first World Series title in 108 years has been described in nearly every way possible, so I wouldn’t be able to do it any greater justice than those before me have already done. What I can add is that the feeling that the win gave me was similar to the pure joy I hope my children have and certainly the joy I can remember from my childhood.
Growing up, Santa brought us all the best gifts. Every year there was something unexpected and joyful that turned up. One time it was a full-size pinball machine, then a pool table, and often the latest fad of the season. I can still remember one of my favorite gifts was the little magnetic football game where the players ended up going in circles.
As I grew older and started my own family, I tried to pass on that same joy to my kids (though I often had to pass on the gift ideas to my wife as I wasn’t up-to-date on the latest trends in dolls). As my kids got older, we began sponsoring families for Christmas and that always brings us great joy as well as we get to see young children experience the same unrestrained happiness from years ago.
Which brings me back to the main point of this article, this year I received a gift like no other, albeit it a few weeks early. Game seven of the World Series was so emotional and back-and-forth it was like I knew what the gift was, but I wasn’t sure if I really was going to receive it. Someone was judging me on the naughty or nice scale and at times it wasn’t looking so good.
Eventually the scales swung toward nice for me as the Cubs gave me the most wonderful present I could ever imagine. After the game ended and I finished yelling and celebrating, I started to reflect on how much this win meant to me as a Cubs fan, but more importantly, to the millions of other Cub fans, living and dead.
My first thoughts were of my grandma and uncle, both gone before getting to see a World Series title. Then I thought of Ronnie, Ernie, and Harry. Finally my thoughts turned to all the amazing Cub fans that I know and follow on the web and through Twitter.
In my wildest dreams of winning the World Series, I always thought my first reaction would be to want to rub it in the faces of all Cardinal fans (I live in the St. Louis area) for their pretentiousness of so many years of success and our lack thereof. But that feeling didn’t happen, Cardinal fans didn’t even cross my mind.
Instead, I talked to my mom and my brother. I “liked” everything I read on Twitter. Bob Newhart made me smile throughout the postseason as he kept flying his ‘W’ flag at random places, I made sure to check out his World Series post. While this is intended to be an upbeat story, I will say that I think that Bill Murray received a bit too much coverage in my personal opinion.
Now here we are, nearly two months have passed since we could start using the World Champions tag. I have received my share of shirts, hats, glasses, and books celebrating the Cubs and I still have an ear-to-ear grin just as I did every time that Santa came when I was growing up.
I’m really excited that I got to celebrate this moment with my family and that tens thousands of people who weren’t sure if they were ever going to have the chance to see a Cubs World Series victory in their lifetime, now have experienced that precious feeling.
The Cubs look like they have the chance to be yearly contenders, at least for the near future. While nothing can replace the feeling of this first championship, I can tell you that I whispered in Santa’s ear that while I don’t want to be seen as greedy, I sure would appreciate the opportunity to see how back-to-back World Series titles would feel.
After all, I’m not doing it for myself. By now there has to be a couple thousand Cub fans that have been born since November 2nd that have lived their entire lives without witnessing a World Series title. Can’t we think about the children?