Photo courtesy of Paul Fortini via Flickr

Just One Cubs Fan and His Thoughts

An End of a Curse

I sat down last weekend to watch the Cubs in one of their first spring training games. As the game progressed I had a strange thought. I realized I wasn’t sitting on pins and needles as every pitch was delivered. I wasn’t checking my heart rate every few minutes to make sure it wouldn’t explode. I didn’t need to pace away my nervous energy. There was no Joe Buck to scream at.

I was able to watch the game in a normal state of mind, rather than in a way that could be described as “he’s a raving lunatic.” Baseball was back, I was calm and I could watch the game without losing my ever-loving mind! AND……The Chicago Cubs were the DEFENDING Champions!

I also realized that my expectations had changed. I now expect my beloved Cubbies to win the Central Division. I now expect them to go to the World Series again. I now expect them to win the World Series once more. These expectations are no longer delusional — this team is built to win. I believe winning is the new normal for the Northsiders. I believe baseball will be played at the hallowed grounds of Wrigley Field in November. My worldview has been forever changed.

Being a Cubs fan, I know losing better than I would like to admit. Is it going to be more painful if the Cubs don’t meet my new expectations? Will it cause me to take losing even harder? Will I feel like the season was a bust if they don’t repeat as World Series champions? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I’m excited to find out.

When Rajai Davis hit the game-tying 2-run blast in Game 7 it felt as if it had pierced my heart. I had that “here-we-go-again” feeling I had felt so many times before. It was the same emotion all of Cubs Nation was so accustomed to. Images of 1969, 1984 and 2003 swirled around in my head. My beloved Cubbies had just found another soul-crushing way to lose the one game we had dreamed of — Game 7 of the World Series.

The specter that haunted generations of fans hung over me. However, the rain came and an epic tale got its happy ending. The curse was broken, as 108 years of futility were washed away. A new reality had emerged — one in which the Cubs no longer had to bear the burden of history.

I suppose 2017 will be radically different now for all of Cubs fandom. We long for another World Series trophy and another epic parade. We long to be sitting on pins and needles again. We long for our hearts to nearly beat out of our chests. Most of all, we really want to scream at Joe Buck again (kidding). Really, we long to see the final out of the season go in our favor once more, as the refrain of “Go Cubs Go” rings out with the “W” flag flying high and proud above the Friendly Confines for all to see.

Doug Preszler is the type of person who can be a Cubs fan and an Iowa fan while living in South Dakota. He is a man who cares not for regional loyalty. He can be found on Twitter here, telling tales of the Dakotan Cubs fan’s existence.

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