Another Worthwhile Experience
I was sitting in my AP Government class, my computer muted with the Ireland-Wales World Cup qualifier match and Game Four of the Red Sox and Astros playing simultaneously as I drowned out the umpteenth debate on healthcare in that class. As Jimmy McClean scored the goal sending Ireland to the qualifying playoffs and Chris Sale shut down the ‘Stros in the 7th inning, I positioned myself for the sprint to the student center, which has a large flat-screen TV with cable, to watch the Cubs game.
The timing of sporting events is usually a blessing on the West Coast. College football starts at 9; the NFL, at 10. Most primetime events start at around 5 p.m. However, due to the four playoff baseball games to be played, the Cubs game would start at 1:08, right as my lunch period would begin.
When the bell rang marking the beginning of lunch, I ran to grab lunch and hustled to the student center only to find that a kid in my senior class who’s a Red Sox fan had beat me to the remote. God help his soul.
Disappointed that I had failed to secure a prime viewing location of the game, I decided to pursue the next best option, the projector of the school newspaper room. I logged in to MLB.tv using my dad’s password and used the airplay to watch the first two innings of the game as friends, mostly Dodger fans talking about how “this is our year,” trickled in, commenting on how overrated Schwarber is.
Of course, midway through the bottom of the 2nd inning, the bell rang, and I had calculus. As I took a quiz on derivatives, the only thing I could think about was my missing the Cubs playing a home playoff game. As my teacher lectured about the chain rule, the only thing I could think about was the game, hoping and praying that the period would not end with my seeing the score to be 13-0 in favor of the Nationals. When the period did end, it was the middle of the 5th inning; the score was still 0-0. As I drove home, I turned on ESPN radio on my phone, but the Bluetooth would not work in my car, so I had to listen to the static-filled commentary of ESPN’s B-radio guy and Jessica Mendoza—quite a combination. After the Nationals scored, I remained positive, saying to myself that “Schwarber will hit one into Lake Michigan to redeem himself. It will all be o.k.”
I came home and ran to my couch. After Almora singled home Zobrist, my brother refused to move from his spot on the couch, convinced that he alone the power to decide whether or not the Cubs were to score. As Carl Edwards pitched in the 8th, I annotated the Greek tragedy Medea for my English class in front of the TV, praying to almighty Zeus that this game would not turn into a tragedy in itself. When Rizzo hit the bloop single, the calm and nervous demeanor I had carried throughout the day disappeared. I yelled and screamed in joy, running around my house fist-pumping. Of course, the point of the game where I was most nervous was Daniel Murphy’s plate appearance against Wade Davis in the top of the 9th. Murphy looks like a hurler in County Wexford, not a baseball player in Washington D.C. I waited for his inevitable homerun, with his annoying follow-through. Thankfully, Wade Davis pitched an excellent ninth inning, and the Cubs now have a chance to clinch their third straight trip to the NLCS.
If there is anything upon which I can reflect today, it is that, despite the mind-numbing stress and torture playoff baseball gives me, I am living in a golden era of Chicago Cubs baseball. This team, while overlooked because of the successes of the Dodgers, Indians, and Astros, has a resilience like any other, and I cannot wait for the Cubs to enter my daily routine as they seek to bring me and all fans of this great team joy and happiness.