The Daily Illini

Column: Fan-tastic finish

By Jon Gluskin

For 21 years you wait for this moment.You so badly want to experience what it feels like. And then unexpectedly, the moment does come.

And words cannot describe how it feels.

When Juan Uribe gunned out Orlando Palmeiro at first, I didn’t quite know how to react. Do I scream? Do I cry? Or do I just stand there in utter disbelief?

I looked back to my life as a Sox fan. So many Sox memories rushed in my mind.

And then I looked back on this season – one that Sox fans will never forget.

What a crazy season it was. The Sox came from out of nowhere and took the entire American League by storm. The pitching staff kept dominating and the wins kept coming.

Podsednik kept stealing bases. Konerko kept hitting home runs. And the Sox had built up extremely high hopes and expectations for their fans.

But we’ve had high hopes and expectations before, and seen them come crashing down. When we made the playoffs in 1993, our hitting wasn’t there and the Blue Jays handed the Sox a disappointing exit.

When 2000 came around and we had the best record in baseball, the Mariners swept us right out of the playoffs.

In the past two seasons, we’ve had the roster to win the division and make a deep run in the playoffs, but we found a way to blow it away and watch the Twins steal our glory.

But when August began and the Sox had a 15-game lead on the Cleveland Indians, there was a reason to believe that this season would end differently.

But then the Sox gave us a reason why we must always remain guarded: nothing’s a guarantee when you play in Chicago.

And as the lead dwindled, the criticism came, bitterness ensued and we got the “I can’t believe this is actually happening” sick feeling in our stomachs.

And then just as fast as they stole our hopes away from us, they gave them right back, going on an unbelievable run to end the season. They won the games they had to and made the playoffs.

Then they embarrassed the defending champion Boston Red Sox.

Then they dominated the Anaheim Angels.

Then they played in four of the most nailbiting, tension-filled, emotionally draining World Series games against the Astros.

Game 1 came and the Sox hung on to a 5-3 victory, highlighted by phenomenal relief appearances.

Game 2 came and it looked like Konerko’s grand slam was going to be the biggest hit of the series. That thought lasted for about an inning, as the Sox blew the lead and the Astros tied the game. When Scotty hit the walk-off home run, we could feel a championship.

Game 3 went 14 innings, with the Sox blowing the lead in the eighth. Sometime around one in the morning, Geoff Blum put the Sox 27 outs away from being World Champs.

And then there was Game 4. It was a pitching duel in every sense of the word. When Jermaine Dye gave the Sox the 1-0 lead in the eighth, this was real. And then in the ninth, Uribe made two game-saving plays and 88 years of frustration was gone.

It’s not always easy being a fan. Whether you’re a Sox fan or a Cubs fan or a Yankees fan, you’re going to experience high highs and low lows.

We suffer setbacks and heart-breaking losses.

Yet we always come back.

We’re stupid, ignorant and na‹ve for putting ourselves through such constant pain and agony.

But when the moment finally does come and you can say your team is the best in the world, you understand why you do put yourself through so much as fan.

You do it for those indescribable feelings. And when the feelings finally come, you realize it was all worth it.

Jon Gluskin is a senior in Communications. He can be reached at [email protected]

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