With heavenly hosts watching from above, the Cubs will be just fine


Billy Galant

By Kevin McCarthy, Illini columnist


To me, and so many others across Cubs’ nation, Tuesday means more than words can say. And it has nothing to do with baseball — it has to do with angels — but more on them in a moment.

I’ve dreamed about this day as far back as I can remember: in my backyard, with a Wiffle ball bat in my hand, a lofty vision in my imagination and a love for the Chicago Cubs brewing in my heart.

So vivid, so clear.

I turned a patch of grass under a few maple trees into the Friendly Confines — oh, the imagination of a child. Pauley Square, a quaint street in my hometown, became the corner of Addison and Clark. Rather than 40,000 roaring fans, I had my mom taking the dog out, or my Dad leaving for work or my neighbor mowing the grass.

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Time stood still. Game seven of the World Series, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, trailing by three runs. I can’t tell you how many times I hit that imaginary full-count pitch into the bleachers in left.

“The Cubs have won the World Series.”

I remember many Saturday and Sunday afternoons when my Dad and I would grab our mini, portable battery operated Sony television, lie in the hammock together, and tune into the Cubs on WGN. With Len Kasper’s golden tenor ringing through a fuzzy speaker, I dreamed about a day I thought might never come.

Lying in that old hammock, I’d ask my dad about the good ol’ days: when Ernie and Fergie played, when Santo and Williams played. We don’t fit in that hammock together anymore, but we’ve watched a whole lot of Cubs baseball together since then.

I’ve had it bad since I was little. I got it from my dad, and he got it from his mom, my grandmother.

God love her, she hardly ever missed a game. Come 1:20 p.m, that old television was on in the living room, and Pat Hughes would chime in from the kitchen on 720-AM. She waited 80 years, but they were never able to pull through for her.

An anecdote: I met a young man walking around campus after the Cubs beat the Dodgers to head to the World Series. He told me the Cubs’ hat he was wearing was his grandmother’s, who just recently passed away at the age of 90. She was a life-long fan, and since she passed he has worn that hat for each game, knowing that she’s watching with him from above, hoping for four more wins.

In that moment, I stopped, thought a moment and smiled real big. I knew who my grandma had been watching the game with that night. I’m sure there were plenty of laughs, a whole lot of cheering, and even more talk about their children and their grandchildren.

For Cubs fans, Saturday night transcended baseball.

And I realize my story isn’t unique. Not even a little bit. But that’s what makes this Cubs fandom so special. It’s an indescribable bond.

Tonight, we all will think of those we wish we could be watching with — grandma, grandpa, mom, pop, brother, sister, friend, husband or wife — we all have someone. I spoke with my mother on the phone before the game on Saturday, and she mentioned all of her “Cubs angels” that would be watching from Heaven.

I know there are a lot of them. And when facing up with all the forces of evil — a black cat, a billy goat and some guy named Bartman — you need a lot of angels. With the heavenly host behind us, our Cubs should be alright.

Four more wins would mean the final chapter in America’s greatest-running sports story. The end of a 108-year-old curse. And what a sweet ending it would be —  lovable losers no more.

Four more wins would also mean plenty of tears from our Cubbie angels, which would make for the most beautiful rainstorm in history.

C’mon, angels. Our Cubs need you down here.

And I’m talking to you, Grandma.

Kevin is a junior in Media

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