Last week, I received a trade package from the great Dimebox Nick. As usually seems to be the case with these trades, I think I have a great package for somebody, and then I'm dwarfed by their package for me. All the cards you see today come from my fellow Cubs fan Nick.
As you may have heard Anthony Rizzo tell David Ross last night, I am an emotional wreck. Okay, maybe "wreck" is too strong a word. But I am feeling somehow different than I expected to feel. After I was whooping and hollering all during the game last night, I was surprisingly quiet when it was all over. My wife even asked, "Aren't you happy?" And yes, I was happy. Extraordinarily happy, in fact. I still am. There's a slight buzz of euphoria in my brain still. I feel light. I would even say that I feel happier today than last night. But my response to my wife was, "I don't know what to do with this feeling right now." Perhaps I had exhausted myself emotionally. It was a long, long game, after all. Maybe it was the rain delay that put the kibosh on all the excitement. Maybe it took a while for it all to sink in. Or it could possibly that I have not learned to deal with winning where the Cubs are concerned. Whatever the reason, it felt weird.
Today, though, I've come to a realization. I don't feel a part of it. Not completely. Sure, I've been a Cubs fan since I was a little kid. My loyalty has never wavered. I've been a Cubs fan longer than some of my blogging brethren who share my predilection of baseball teams, just because I'm older. But that's it for me. The Cubs don't represent my city, state, or region. They don't represent my family or my roots. I have no connection with Chicago. I went there once, when I was 18. I spent two days there and never came into the vicinity of Wrigley Field. But that's it. They are not my home team. I have put up with a lot of losing by my team in my lifetime, but it was only my adoptive team. Now that it has happened, it feels like this championship means a lot to Chicago (well, at least half of Chicago), but that's not me.
My state is a basketball state. The Jazz are the only show in town. Arizona and Colorado (the two closest stadiums to me now) didn't have franchises when I first took interest in baseball, so there was nothing that approximated a home team. I became a Cubs fan through baseball cards. That's fitting, isn't it? I got my first baseball cards in a box of cereal. I pulled out a 3-card pack of Post cards. I still remember them: Mark Grace, Ryne Sandberg, and Rickey Henderson. Two Cubs. And I became a fan. It helped keep my interest when I could watch their games on WGN. I was a perfect long-distance relationship.
But now, here I am, a lifelong, long-suffering Cubs fan thinking, "Now what?" Of course I'll stick with my team. Of course I'm excited for more with this young core. But I get the feeling that many of you Cubs bloggers are surrounded by people just as excited as you are, while only a few 14-year students have even mentioned anything to me today. Thank you, Chicago/Illinois/Midwest for letting me share in your triumph. Even though I've not been there through the years, I've been watching, loving, and WAITING from afar since I was a child. Oh, and I think I'll drop the long-suffering adjective, thank you very much. Who knows when it will happen again. I think we as a fanbase understand better than many how rare an occasion this can be. I'll relish it now, but I don't know that I'll ever focus on the long history of losing anymore.
Now, here are some cards, courtesy of Nick.
A storied franchise, for certain.
A lot of guys have worn Cubby blue trying to reach this summit.
Some all-time greats have called Wrigley home and left without tasting a championship.
We've seen a lot of good and bad baseball through the years.
We've had some fun, even through all the losing.
Technology has come and gone and changed.
We've seen shooting stars shine bright and flame out quickly.
But these young players finally gave us fans something to really cheer about--and a lot to look forward to.
Of course, Nick sent a lot more goodies in the package, but this post deserves to be 100% Cubs. Hey, they earned it. Thanks Nick for the great trade!