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Finally, a happy Cubs ending

Pardon me if I smile more often in the next few days, weeks, months, years or decades.
I can finally eliminate the phrase ‘Love-able Losers’ from my vocabulary.
In fact, that’ll be the last time I write or say it.
For so many years, I’ve clung to that form of alliteration to describe why I’d continue to watch the Chicago Cubs play in seasons long lost in July. Heck, sometimes in June or even May.
But, they were always so love-able.
I squarely blame my love affair of the Cubs on my father. He spent part of his youth in Chicago, a North-sider. He lectured me about some of the memorable names of Cubs’ past. I became acquainted with the Shawon-O-Meter, Harry Carey’s failed attempts at pronouncing Grudzielanek, frontward or backward, and wondering what-ifs when the names Mark Prior and Tuffy Rhodes were brought up on opening day.
The Cubs were on WGN after school for me. One TV was in our house and, when I made it home, homework was done on a square living room table with the tube on the Cubs. Clinging to Ryne Sandberg at bats, Sammy Sosa home runs and tapping a pencil on the table before Kerry Wood struck out 20 batters in 1998 filled my post-school memories. Then, I’d go in the yard or catch up with friends and re-enact those moments.
‘Wait ’til next year’ was another common theme as a Cubs fan. My wife can attest, I’d say it way too soon each season. I even told friends during the Dodgers series, ‘See you in spring training.’
I remember doing my best to stay up in the wee hours of the night to catch as much of the 1989 playoffs as possible. An earthquake shook and the Cubs were done. Will Clark burns me as much as the Florida (now Miami) Marlins and, most recently, Daniel Murphy do as far as having big series versus the Cubs.
Fast forward to last Thursday morning, the day after the Cubs clinched the franchise’s third World Series, the first in 108 long years.
My 5-year-old son has taken on the family’s admiration for the Cubs. I was 7 during the ’89 series, and I knew how excited Jonas would be to see the outcome of game 7 versus the gritty Cleveland Indians. He stayed up through three innings and wanted more.
Last Thursday morning, he couldn’t wait to see the finish. He watched the extended highlights with no knowledge of the outcome. When Miguel Montero drove in an insurance run, Jonas said, ‘Finally’ then rolled back to say, ‘I don’t know what to say.’
Me either, kid.
I wasn’t emotional; no tears when the final out was recorded.
I did get leery about my dad, who I shared the grief of losses together be it mid-season of a 100-loss campaign or play-off defeats. He didn’t reply to text in the 10th inning.
The next day we talked. Joy and excitement was in his voice, but, as a lifer, he tuned out after a 2-run homer tied the game. All of baseball gasped, and my dad had seen enough.
He called it a night, only to wake up in the middle of the night to check the score. As he told me, ‘We’ve been down that road before. Why watch another heartbreak?’
Hey! Hey! They did it.
Being a Cubs fan can be generational, and it is for us. Now, there is no conversation about curses or managerial decisions questioned.
As Harry Caray said, ‘Sure as God made green apples, someday the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series.’
They weren’t just in it, Harry; they won it.

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