Part of being a lifelong Cubs fan is that you never bother to plan what will happen when the Cubs win the World Series, because you’re too busy worrying about other, more likely possibilities. Like what to do if you’re in a plane crash, or your house burns down, or, I don’t know, a sea of angry merpeople storms Loyola Beach.
Last night I was pretty sure the world would end in the ninth inning with the score tied, two men out, and Aroldis Chapman facing down Jason Kipnis. But when Kipnis came up to bat against Chapman, there was only one man gone, so I started to think maybe the world wouldn’t end after all.
As it turns out, I was not the only person with this thought:
2016 World Series.
Cubs vs Indians
And then the world will end with the score tied in game seven in extra innings #apocalypse
— GIO (@RaysFanGio) November 4, 2014
Now it’s the morning after. I don’t think the world has ended, or maybe the afterlife is a lot like the regular world, except that it’s November 3, and the window is open, the sun is out, and I can hear and smell someone cutting grass outside. I am sitting at my desk drinking coffee and eating a scone I stress-baked during the tenth-inning rain delay. (My stress-baking tally for this World Series: one tray of nachos, one lemon-drizzle cake, two brioche loaves, four chocolate brioches, and eight chocolate-chip scones, plus one batch of brioche dough that ended up in the trash.)
Now, I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. I’ve been scrolling through Facebook and Twitter. I rewatched the final out and the start of the celebration with different soundtracks, which Deadspin had thoughtfully cataloged. (The best one, aside from my beloved Pat Hughes on WSCR-670, is from ESPN Deportes, especially the part where the announcer yells, futbol style, “Chicago Cubs! Chicago Cubs! Rrrrah rrrrah rrrrah!”) I watched Bill Murray cry, and then get sprayed with champagne by Theo Epstein. I looked through the Chicagoland Scanner Twitter feed (@CFGScanner), which had been in rare form last night:
CPD – Clark & Addison – EMS needed for the guy who climbed up a pole and then fell down 00:45 #ChicagoScanner
— Chicagoland Scanner (@CFGScanner) November 3, 2016
That reminded me how living in Wrigleyville during my late 20s had made me start to hate Cubs fans, and why I hadn’t gone down there last night, even though the silence in Rogers Park had been eerie and unsettling. That, in turn, reminded me to check the back porch to see if the guy I’d seen last night passed out and drunkenly snoring was still there. He wasn’t.
My friend Annie in Cleveland and I have checked in on each other, she to see if I was safe, I to see how she was managing her disappointment. We had texted and tweeted frantically during the ninth and tenth innings. Even though we were rooting for opposite teams, we felt that no one else completely understood what we were going through.
I still don’t feel ready to face the existential questions. Like, what will it mean to be a Cubs fan now that I have actually seen them win a World Series? What will happen to our long heritage of self-deprecating humor and superstition? Will anyone ever be able to listen to Steve Goodman’s “A Dying Cub Fan’s Last Request” ever again, or will we be stuck with its inferior and peppy alter ego “Go, Cubs, Go”? Will the Cubs become assholes, like the Boston Red Sox? Will Cub fans become entitled and obnoxious instead of drunk and obnoxious? Will my misty reminiscences of 1984, 1989, and 2003 somehow become irrelevant because a younger generation will never remember the Cubs sucking? (Oh my God, am I old now?) How can I justify rooting for Aroldis Chapman, domestic violence perpetrator? (Was it a sign from somewhere that he choked in the eighth and allowed the Indians to tie?)
My colleague Mike Miner has warned us all that after a great victory comes depression. But as a Cardinals fan, he has never known a drought like the one that has just ended for the Cubs. And after a game like that one! My college boyfriend messaged me last night that, aside from the births of his children, he had never felt so happy. I tried to think of a comparison, but since I don’t have children, the only thing I could think of was something far less obvious. I was 23 and visiting Paris for the first time, and my friend took me to an underground bar where they played great old music from the 50s and 60s, and all the French kids were dressed up and knew how to dance properly, and we Americans sat at our table and applauded because we knew we could never dance that well, and everything in the world was exactly as it should be.