When I was about ten years old my brother, Steve, and I rode the train with our father to Chicago for a Sunday doubleheader between my Dad's beloved Cubs, and their bitter rivals, the Cardinals. We transferred to an "El" for the ride to Wrigley Field. I remember looking around after one stop, and not seeing my father, the panic thinking he got off at a stop, and left us. He had not, and we made it, my first of many appearances in that fabulous old park.
I don't remember a lot of the players that played that day. I remember the two greats, Ernie Banks, and Stan Musial. I remember two pitchers, one for the Cubs named Bob Rush, who was known as a very good pitcher with a not very good record-you see the Cubs weren't very good in those days, and the much maligned Sal "the barber" Maglie. Cubs fans hated the Barber. He seemed to never give a hitter a good pitch to hit, always nibbling at the outside corner, and if you started leaning in too close, he would tuck one under your chin, hence the nickname. I'm pretty sure the Cubs lost both games that day, but I also can't check that with either of my two companions, neither survived to this great day. You see, after 108 years the Cubs won a world series tonight.
I don't know how I feel tonight. There are thousands of fans celebrating tonight like there is no tomorrow. Most don't have memories as long as mine. Truthfully, the suffering has been too much.
When you are young you get sucked in, sucked in to the win at all costs mentality. It becomes too important, much like your life depended upon your team winning. And it wasn't just the Cubs, there were the Bears, the White Sox, the Blackhawks, and later the Bulls. Oh and the Cardinals football team. Many don't remember that they started in Chicago. All eventually won world championships, some multiple times, but not the Cubs. One-Hundred and eight years. 1908. That was before even my father's time.
And as I got older, I chose to find a sport I could participate in, cycling. And I also grew troubled by what big money did to the sports that I loved as a kid. It seemed you could actually buy a world championship, and if your team didn't have the money, well the suffering was immense. I have pretty much stopped watching sports for those reasons. This despite believing that kids love to play baseball, and no matter how much they may make to play it, these kids playing in the seventh game tonight did not have their minds on money. It was the magic of the moment, live sports, life at it's best.
I don't want to make too much out of a sports metaphor, even the 108 years Cub fans have endured, or the seventh game of a world series. Comparing a game to real life is often a shallow mistake. And yet, it seems that we buy into a great deal of the belief that many things in life are just not possible. I really wanted, I thought, to be an architect when I was a kid, but when it was dashed by school counselors, I bought it. It just wasn't possible. I gave up my dreams, and ended up in a war instead. This is called karma, cause and effect. When you don't believe something possible, give up your dreams, you find yourself in undesirable conditions. The suffering of humanity has been long and merciless.
Think for a moment about the history of humanity. Might it not suggest that we do not believe that it is possible for us to live together, in peace and harmony. I think the answer is obvious, and like the Cubs not being able to win a series, I believed it to the bottom of my heart. I truly believed that I would not see this in my lifetime.
So what if there were no more wars, no more thugs dressed in Nazi garb firing rubber bullets at peaceful protestors, no more corporations saying and doing anythings for a profit, no politicians doing their dirty work, and what if we refused to do the killing for them. What if?
It would take a mighty change in each and every one of us, as if each of us had a gentle, peaceful, giving, caring side that just needed reactivating. And like you, I don't believe, to the bottom of my heart, I don't believe that it is possible.
I also didn't believe, to the bottom of my heart, that the Cubs could win it all. Right down to the last pitch waiting for something to go wrong again. But that all changed didn't it.
I stared at a television screen for five hours tonight, I didn't pray, believe me I've tried that in the past, hanging on every pitch, knowing that something would inevitably go wrong. It didn't. As a matter of fact, the Cubs picked themselves up after every minor challenge and proved themselves true warriors. They weren't perfect and neither are we. But it all changed tonight, and according to this metaphor so can each of us. Anything is now possible, including once and for all putting an end to the oppression that the human race has suffered under for no telling how long. I suspect the beginning of time.
What if there was just one more thing each of us needed to change to become the beings that we came here to be? What if we just needed to reenable our souls? What if we just needed to care about the world we live in, about others, and about the future of our children.
We are at a crossroads. This is much like the movie "The Matrix." Choose wisely, my friend. In one hand is more oppression, but in the other could very well the grandest belief about who you are.