As a kid, I never noticed that days like this were special. That the feeling of excitement in my stomach was anything more than the way it felt to be alive at any given moment. That there wouldn't always be so much to look forward to, and that my trivial worries, struggles, and even massively sad life-changing events would only multiply with the number of candles on the cake.
These are the things you don't learn until you've lived a bit. I mean really lived, and hurt, and lost. We all know these feelings. Luckily, there's also the good side to all these tough times, and the tougher things get, the more worthwhile getting through them can tend to be. Think of an old man and child smiling together. The old man says so much more than the child ever could.
What I'm getting at here, and what I hope you'll bear with my overwrought romanticism to hear, is that sports have a very special place in the world. They are a place where we can put away all of the troubles, difficult decisions, and foggy thoughts ever-present in our lives. And just be. As the Buddhists strive to "do without doing", we often can reach such a transcendent state without even knowing it. We care so much for the fates of our teams, especially the Cubs, that it can become us, if even just for a moment, without us realizing it.
This is not a moral rant. Not a "it's only a game" speech. In fact, it's quite the opposite, a rambling incoherent mess maybe, but a mess that I have been thinking about recently- there is a simple happiness in sports that makes it an essential part of so many lives. Pure unadulterated joy. On the flip side, there are few times in life where it is clear that you FAIL, but in sports....a loss is thus. You lose.
I don't think we're going to lose this time. And I don't say "we" as a player, obviously I am not one (unfortunately), but as a part of the collective of souls sharing this experience together. The world's a big and lonely place. But at least we've got this. Oh yeah, we've got this. And I can't think of a whole lot better thing to have, the hope, love, and excitement that comprises each day.
This time, the feeling in my stomach is going to continue for all of October.
I'm glad to no longer be a child. But I'm also glad the Cubs can help me remember this simple and true meaning, that it's the little moments that keep us alive, and that everyone needs something to believe in. For when we forget the excitement and hope of the innocent times, and allow cynicism to dominate (so easy these days, especially w/r/t financial markets et. al.), it seems we lose an essential part of Being that tends to make us hurt deep inside in a way that we don't even realize. Hopefully someone else knows what I'm talking about, and I'm not just ranting pointlessly. I guess I just am ready for tomorrow :)
I believe we will all be celebrating the 2008 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs. This is, quite literally, the type of thing we live for. Enjoy the ride.