My good buddy Brett Max Kaufman, who by day is a national security lawyer at the ACLU, also has for a cause a group even more damned than the forgotten wretches in Gitmo: the Chicago Cubs, and their fans. Well, not this year, of course. They are legitimately great, and brain-breakingly fun. He has an excellent piece over at The Classical describing how strange it is to be on the cusp of something he never thought could happen.
This—this air of concrete possibility—is new, and accordingly the young Cubs season has required Cub fans to make an emotional adjustment. We’re having more fun than ever, stumbling around dazed and delirious, smiling at strangers, shaking our heads. But the stakes are no longer merely philosophical. Growing up, I did not see any “meaningful games” this early in the year; I just saw games. Generations of us have watched in dejected disbelief as the Cubs blew one (and then another, and another) in May, but we always did so with a knowing wink at a universe we knew drove an impossible bargain. Occasionally, the games became important later on, with the weighty, improbable momentum of an entire summer behind them, and those particular failures left their marks. But Cub fans’ overall exposure—game to game, season to season, generation to generation—has always been relatively limited.
This is no paean to losing, no panegyric to the benefits of misery. Them being good is clearly for the best. It’s a recognition though, of what it all means.
As a Sox fan, I’m happy for Brett. I’m happy for all Cubs’ fans, and even for most people who just claim to be fans. It’s not a Chicago thing, per se. It’s for the people in it who care, and for whom this would mean so much. Part of me hopes they don’t do it, just because it would be unbearable, but I hope they go all the way. It’ll be a hell of a story.