The big parade in Chicago is today. Last night, around midnight people started showing up. I heard them screaming out on the streets. Currently, there are helicopters flying around Grant Park and sirens. Overnight, all through Grant Park, they put up video screens so everyone can see the rally.
Some school districts have closed schools. It’s epic. Stories abound. One man drove 500 miles to his father’s grave to listen to the game. Still can’t believe it happened.
24 hours in Ohio…
As we drove East into town the “W” signs in the car windows were everywhere. Stopping at a roadside rest stop, strangers in blue and white jerseys high-fived each other as they walked by.
Once we arrived, we were surprised to walk into the nearest bar. No cover charge. No line. Open space at the bar itself. Their fans seemed to be preparing themselves mentally for what was about to come. The mood was odd. Like we had come to town to steal their girlfriend. And we would. And they knew it. And they were preparing to take the high road.
Inside the stadium was nearly indescribable. It was everything you think it would be. It lived up to and surpassed the hype. It was the single greatest sporting event I’ve ever witnessed. In the row behind me was a man from Chicago and his 12 year old son. It became ritual for us three to high five each other first whenever good things happened in the game. During the infamous rain delay, I took a moment and turned to the lad. “Don’t you ever forget this,” I told him. “Look around, and don’t ever forget what this feels like.”
After it was done, the prevailing feeling was relief, not euphoria. A 108 pound albatross named “Futility” was removed from our collective backs and we were able to walk freely around the world as if for the first time. After the bars kicked us all out, we walked back to our hotel. The heavens had opened up again. A baptismal rain washed away the sins of our fathers (and former Cub players) and we simply smiled and got wet.
The morning brought reflection and black coffee. It happened. Really. It did.
As we drove West, our conversation turned to the future. There would be a time when someone somewhere would ask, “Where were you the night they won it all…?” The answer will forever be our special bond.
“I was in Cleveland.”