This week, in this seven days, we’re thinking a lot about winning and losing. One contest is for the world’s best baseball team; one for the president of the United States. I know who I am routing for in each event. I’m 1 for 2 so far in terms of my picks: the winner of the World Series after 108 years is the Chicago Cubs! The city has been waiting for this since Thomas Edison was alive. Generations of people have lived their lives and died without seeing this happen. So by anyone’s definition this baseball win is historic! Chicago is a winner city; it has won 12 world championship since 1985, more than any other city! And each Chicago team – the Bulls, the Black Hawks, the White Sox, and even the Bears – has had their turn to celebrate. Now is the moment for the team who are the Lovable Losers no more! There is no more goat curse – they are goats alright: Greatest Of All Time! What an unbelievable achievement! To use Anthony Rizzo’s term: it is “epic!” With six players under the age of 25, they are now teed up to be a force for years to come! What an amazing time for a city that has not had much to celebrate lately!
I must admit that I am usually a casual observer of baseball or any sport really until the season heats up to a point where a team might have a championship year. I have deep respect for the fans of the Cubs, the families who for generations have been so devoted and waiting for this year through thick and thin. I admit I’m the ultimate fair weather fan. Any one who knows me will find it funny that I’m audacious enough to write a post about sports. I’m the one who shows up at the Super Bowl party and asks who’s playing. But for me once a team is winning, I start paying almost obsessive attention to the point that I have total recall about certain iconic moments that I remember for the rest of my life. I recall conversations in the 1950’s between my father and my cousin about the Brooklyn Dodgers. I completely remember the beauty of the 1961 Yankees and the competition between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. I remember the 1967 Red Sox and their trip to the World Series, and Tony Conigliaro and his horrible eye injury that year. What about those 1969 Miracle Mets.
We moved to Chicago from Pennsylvania in 1983 and we found the Cubs. And I will always remember these Chicago Cubs of 2016. While my recollection of the other teams who made an everlasting impression on me was mostly about the drama surrounding the team, the Cubs this year taught me so much about the mechanics of baseball after I really started paying attention to the game itself in about June. They had Joe Madden, the most zen manager since Phil Jackson coached the winning Bulls in the 1990’s. Joe had one overlying directive for his team: Try not to suck! And month after month, suck they did not! What really struck me about this team was that they are supremely skillful players who have been a pleasure to watch but they seem to have the joy and exuberance of boys – happy and carefree. It’s the heart of the team as well as the winning that has captured me. No longer just a fair weather fan, all of a sudden “Wait until next year” has become “Let’s do it again next year!”
And then there’s the presidential race. By contrast to the year we had in baseball, the presidential campaign has been agonizing. I say this as a person who loves politics. I love the strategy of it, love following who’s leading and who’s behind, love tracking the stances of each candidate. But even I can’t wait for this one to be over. After the nastiest, most bizarre election of our lifetimes, I still have my candidate – I have known whom I was going to vote for since this thing began, waiting to see if anything would change my mind. I truly view myself as an independent – I have voted Republican and I have voted Democrat. Nothing in this campaign cycle that has been said has swayed me to the other camp; in fact, I’ve only become more resolute in my original choice. All the hyperbole, all the vitriol has been just noise. We plowed through 17 primary candidates on the Republican side to settle on Donald Trump and watched Hillary with the interminable email craziness and watched her duke it out with Bernie for way too long for the ultimate nomination. By the way, do we really need 18 months to do this? And let’s not even talk about the insane amounts of money that has been spent.
We have had all the drama. We’ve been dragged through the gutter, we’ve spent great amounts of time on nonsense, with days, weeks going by and no substantive mention of actual policy. The people have not been left with anything uplifting – there is nothing about a “shining city on the hill,” nothing about “yes, we can.” We have incredible problems in this country, problems that our elected officials should make a real attempt to resolve. There are major things about this country that need to be made great again, but there is an enormous amount about this country that is already still the best in the world. How about instead of paralyzing us with fear, we roll up our sleeves and try to get something done? How about instead of making it our policy to dig in our heels and intentionally obstruct progress, we get to work for the country. How about a little cooperation? How about a little hope, and there’s a lot out there to be hopeful about if our elected officials will just work for the benefit of the people in this country and not for the benefit of the party and the next election.
Let’s get out there and vote if you haven’t already! On Wednesday, some of us will be celebrating, some will be commiserating!
AND UNLESS THERE’S ANY DOUBT – I’M FOR HILLARY