There was a moment last night, as Rajai Davis trotted around the bases having leveled things close enough to the death, that it seemed Fate had remembered the Cubs after all and was seeking to make things right, to return us all to the equilibrium we have enjoyed for over a century.
Of course, actual Cubs fans did not enjoy the consistency of failure all that much. In the end we were beleaguered with historical points: did you know that Edison and Twain were still alive when the Cubs last won the World Series? That there have been two world wars? That people didn’t even have the Internet back then?
Poor Cleveland. They had a right to sympathy based on historical futility, too, but it does not matter. They are not as pathetic as Chicago, and therefore not as deserving. Still, it’s a sliding scale. For once I watched a sporting event and wished that both teams could somehow win, when often I feel the opposite way.
What to make of all this public discussion of history? That “history will be made tonight!” unlike other times of the day and week and year when history lies dormant awaiting the call of something important to happen? I am tempted to be grateful people were acknowledging history is important at all, but beyond the corporate opportunism in the popularization of the Chicago and Cleveland droughts lay something real. People shared something last night. It was a moment.
There is a lot of talk about how the Internet has fractured previously existing media infrastructures that allowed more cohesive popular views to form, and there is a lot of truth to it, good and bad. My current class on the history of Vietnam has been coming right up against the production of a society-wide narrative led by Walter Kronkite and his colleagues in a manner difficult to imagine today. A lot of people watched the Cubs win the World Series last night, though.
It’s reaffirming too; live sport offers not just the last remaining hope of cable television, those poor underdogs whom we all pity so, but something more meaningful. Share the GIFs of Kris Bryant grinning as he scooped up the ground ball to end game seven, tell your friends about the video of Bill Murray chugging on champagne, go into Facebook feeds and wonder at the city of Chicago writhing in happiness and relief from intersection to intersection. This is what it looks like when we all share something. Remember that when ESPN and Fox Sports send out thoroughly tanned automatons to intone how much this means to Chicagoans, that it really does mean a lot and is incredibly personal to millions of people at the same time. This is what it looks like when we’re all pulling in the same direction.
Just remember this when the Cubs are gunning for their fourth straight World Series win in 2019 and everyone outside of the north side of Chicago is complaining.
Go Cubs, go.