8 years ago Jenn and I bought our first house together. The day we closed on it there were two very important things I needed to do. The first was to propose to my best friend and pray she had lost her mind and would say yes. The second was I wanted to put up a flag pole on the porch so we could proudly display my, now our, affection of the Chicago Cubs. Ever since, we have used the flag as a way for others to locate the house as it hasn't come down since.
As the sun rises this morning, our neighbors will once again drive past on their way to work and see the flag(s). On the surface, they think Cubs fans live there. They aren't wrong but it goes much deeper. Those flags are a symbol of a household which has been taught the lessons of loyalty, patience and hope.
81 years ago, my great grandparents were blessed with the birth of my grandmother. From day one she was taught these lessens of life through being a Cubs fan. Later in life, she would teach her children (my mother's generation) who taught their children (my brother, sister, cousin and myself) who are now proudly teaching our children. Until this season, she was the only living family member who had seen the Cubs go to a World Series and that was when she was just 10 years old.
As a kid, we would dream like many other kids about our team winning it all. It wasn't always the easiest dream to keep alive when our team would lose 100+ games a year and be mathematically eliminated from the possiblity of reaching the postseason early in the season. What was easy as a kid who only wanted to win would have been to stomp our feet in a tantrum every year. It was also very easy to do what Grandma said to do which was to do the exact opposite of throwing a tantrum.
From the very beginning, Grandma taught us to never give up on our team. To always be loyal and to stand by those you care about. She taught us to be patient in believing that our day would come. She taught us to say, "Next year. We will get them next year." You couldn't do the last one without truly embracing the first two with an unwavering belief in hope.
Last night, America was treated to the finale of what will be forever remembered in baseball history as one of the most memorable World Series to have been played. Down 3-1 in a best of 7 series, the Cubs refused to give up. They refused to give up on themselves and their loyal fans. Most importantly they refused to give up on each other. They continued to believe and "Next year" became this year. Multiple generations of fans realized their childhood dream right next to the players who were celebrating on the field. The Cub also proved that Grandma wasn't crazy and the life lessens she passed on are truly worth living our lives by.