How the Chicago Cubs Saved America (If Just For A Night)
I’ve been feeling pretty discouraged lately. If you’re on social media, and not living under a rock, you’re aware that America’s been going through some tough stuff. The normal political discord of an election year has disintegrated into outright hatred and ugliness. It just keeps getting worse and worse. No matter who you support, can we all agree this election season has been the fucking worst? For me, the only respite has been Saturday Night Live’s take on the debates, and I’d like to take a moment to publicly thank Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon for figuratively wiping away my tears of dread the past few weeks. Laughter really is the best medicine.
This past year has been nothing short of exhausting. I’m ready for 2017 to be here, even if it means the end of my 20s. I’m turning 30 in March and to say I’m experiencing an existential crisis would be an understatement. I’ve had an interesting perspective this year. I’m a Massachusetts girl, born and raised in the bluest of blue states, and I now live in Georgia where some days I feel like an alien on a new planet. I went to college at what the Princeton Review consistently voted the “#1 Dodgeball Target”. We didn’t have a football team, but we sure as hell had a world class Quidditch program. My progressive college had all-inclusive bathrooms and dormitories before it was cool. Living down south the past few years has been a shock to my liberal system.
I’ve met people from all walks of life. Getting to know folks from different states has opened my eyes to how culturally distinct we all are. We’re very different and we sure as hell don’t understand each other. I strongly believe that’s where our current problems stem from. Deep down I know most Americans are good people in search of happiness. I could write a book on how we got to this deeply divided crux in history, but I’ve been told people don’t read anymore and no one likes a know it all.
Anyways, I’m a generally happy-go-lucky person, but I’m concerned we’re at the point of no return. Our differences feel so insurmountable, that maybe we’re just better off going our separate ways. It’s sad really. I’ve been completely disheartened all year you guys, and I really want you to feel bad for me! (That was a joke for all of you who’ve lost your sense of humor this election season). I feel like I’m going through a breakup and I’m yelling “I just want us to be happy!!! We can work this out!!!” Maybe I’m naive, or maybe I’m a dreamer who’s just now waking up to reality.
And then the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.
On Wednesday, a night of history and emotions, my faith in the American people was temporarily restored. Like many of you, I was on Twitter and Facebook reading all the tweets, jokes, and lighthearted messages. For this brief moment in time, we called a cease-fire on each other and focused on embracing a city that’s endured 108 years of losing. Do you understand how long that is!?
How wonderful it was to see liberals, conservatives, city folks, country people, white, black, and everyone in between get all sentimental watching Bill Murray cry for his beloved Cubbies. For a moment we collectively let out an “awwwwwww” as videos of grandmas and grandpas finally seeing their team win were posted to the internet. I saw friends from across the country send words of congratulations. I saw grown men and women cry, and hug, and express joy so innocent it’s as if they were 10 year old kids again. America said, “We’re happy for you Chicago, well done.” And then, to add a cherry on top, we all congratulated Cleveland on a hard fought series! The tweets I saw didn’t bash the players on the losing end. Instead, we tipped our caps and thanked them for the most entertaining seven games in World Series history.
For the first time in a long time, America felt like America again. We were all watching our country’s pastime, feeling nostalgic, excited, and hopeful. Can you imagine if we could feel this way every day?
I know next week we’ll return to our anger and resentment. We’ll continue to share factually inaccurate memes and read only attention-grabbing headlines instead of the entire story. I’m sure we’ll fall back into the dangers of group-think and go about living in our isolated bubbles where we only converse with those who think and look exactly like us. But try to remember the night the Cubbies became Champions. It brought out the best in us. The Cubs victory reminded us that we are indeed capable of being genuinely happy for others, compassionate to those who lost, and that every American who stayed up to watch that epic Game 7 was incredibly exhausted the next day.
So thank you, Chicago Cubs, for being the hero we needed.