Some readers may take offense at the bold declaration that is the title of this column. I don’t care. My column of April 15, 2016, predicted the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series this year, and they did. I don’t think it matters in the least that I have made similar predictions in the past that were wrong, particularly, because I think this is the first time I ever put my thoughts in writing where they have been faithfully preserved on our website.
I predict the Chicago Cubs will win their division championship, the National League pennant, and the World Series. While I’m sure I’m right, I fear the potential consequences. Could a Cubs’ victory coincide with the end of civilization as we know it? Will the presidency be decided by a Cubs’ win? Anything could happen, but I believe the risk is worth it.
I’m hoping that my concerns about the end of civilization were a little overstated, and I’m sure there is no connection to the presidential election. I do find it interesting that some guy predicted in his 1992 high school yearbook that the Cubs would win the World Series in 2016, but I suspect both his prediction and mine were along the lines of a blind pig occasionally finding an acorn.
None of this should take away from the emotions surrounding the first Cubs’ World Series championship since 1908. I listened with interest to an interview with a 55-year-old man who was sobbing after the victory in memory of friends of family who never lived to see the moment. I could relate to his feelings while thinking of my childhood hero, Ernie Banks, the Cubs’ Hall-of-Fame shortstop and first baseman who died earlier this year. Banks was known as “Mr. Cub,” and he is one of my few heroes whose reputation has never been tarnished by some latter-day revelation of character flaws. If anyone knows of such a revelation, I do not want to hear it, by the way.
I also wrote in my April column that, “Baseball is all about blind faith and superstition, as opposed to rationality and reason.” So much of life is like that. We try to be reasonable, rational, and responsible, yet end up devoting much of ourselves to pure emotion. Watching the faces of both Cleveland and Chicago fans, not to mention the players, during the last few innings of the Series was an opportunity to see tension, sadness, joy, and exultation on stark display. Cubs’ First Baseman Anthony Rizzo expressed it perfectly by admitting he couldn’t put his feelings into words.
Perhaps the best lesson to come from the Cubs’ victory is that all things are possible. We can take some joy when things go our way and temper our sadness when they don’t. The World Series really isn’t a world championship; and baseball is, in the end, just a game. I plan to enjoy the emotion of the moment and take some satisfaction in making an accurate prediction without losing sight of the belief that people I know and love are much more important to my happiness.