The United States collectively lifted joyous voices and hands up high in celebration as the Chicago Cubs broke its 108-year “curse” – finally winning baseball’s World Series in extra innings over the Cleveland Indians.
Even Indian supporters joined in, putting aside differences to come together for the good of the game. People recognizing the unique skills, dedication and team work that was a part of realizing the victory.
Festive fireworks exploded throughout the Windy City. Hundreds of “Cubs Win” banners painted with a single W, were waved. It’s a time for collective merrymaking.
As Game Seven neared, a news report showed hundreds of people spontaneously turning out to chalk words of encouragement on the famed brick walls of Wrigley Field.
“This is the year!”
They wrote to share their special relationship with the Cubs.
A team to root for and keep believing in for generations.
For at least three generations, the Cubs were a part of my family. I was born in a town in northern Indiana that’s part of the American region known as “Chicagoland.” During my youth, the TV at my maternal grandparents’ house seemed to be permanently tuned to baseball as I recall many a time hearing them cheering on their beloved Cubbies throughout their lives which ended, sadly, decades before this epic win.
I thought of my grandparents two summers ago, when, as a speaker for a large tech conference, we participants were all given a tour of the historic stadium home of the Cubs. We were treated to free hotdogs, pretzels and beer and were encouraged to take to the field! There, I met Hall of Famer, Billy Williams, I hit a ball that was lightly lobbed toward me by a guest pitcher and I ran (okay jogged) to the base.
Shh. I even delicately (and secretly) walked into the outfield to caress the sacred ivy that climbs the back walls of Wrigley. And although I freely admit I am not an ardent fan, it was a moving experience.
Because the experience made me realize, that even more than the Cubs of Wrigley Field, my grandparents were actually fans of the spirit of baseball. When I stopped and thought about it, I remember they often cheered on other teams too like the Chicago White Sox, or the Cincinnati Reds.
The spirit of the game can transcend team rivalries.
Maybe it can transcend even more than that.
For instance, the Cubs fans who collectively wrote on Wrigley’s walls may have been Democrats, Republicans or Independents. It didn’t matter. They were unified to their commitment to the game.
Can’t the same be said for my country?
After all, the spirit of baseball is a spirit that is often listed as part of the America. You know,
“Baseball, hotdogs and apple pie.”
On Election Day this Tuesday, when America turns out to the polls and a presidential winner is ultimately declared, can Americans commit to join together in celebration of our collective spirit?
Can we celebrate the spirit of America? For the freedom that too many died defending. For the dreams that so many immigrated to its shores to seek.
Maybe we have been battered by this election season’s bitter rivalries. Maybe we have been abandoned by friends on Facebook or Twitter. But surely, although tattered, we can still find a way to wave our united W banner.
For the love of the game, and for we who love America even more than baseball, I hope after Election Day, we will proudly raise our joyous voices and hands high together and celebrate that other banner which signifies our collective principles of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.