The year was 2012, the Chicago Cubs had just finished a long, grueling season with a record of 61-101 but, for the first time in a long time, there was…. Hope. Now, the Cubs have always been known as the “lovable losers”, we play at the “friendly confines” and have notoriously great fans “bleacher bums”. This was different though, things were happening for once. We got Theo Epstein from the Red Sox to take over team/player control, we had a farm system that showed talent, and draft picks to supplement that. Slowly, but surely we were moving in the right direction and each season thereafter, continuously got better. Then came 2016, the year everything was supposed to come together. “The Core” was ready, the staff in place, only one thing left to do – break the curse of the Billy Goat and win a World Series.
Now I’m not going to get into the World Series details itself, I do want to take you all back to a day in the life of myself. After just finishing clinching the NL Pennant, we were on our way to face Cleveland in the WS. Then came that fateful day of October, 23rd 2016 that would change everything for my lifelong fandom of the Chicago Cubs.
Throughout the playoffs, the Cubs were giving away tickets to the series as they went along. First was the NLDS, I submitted a form and got nothing. Then came along the NLCS, and same story. Then, while sitting in my cubicle, wondering when my day would be over – I checked my phone and got this.
Holy shit. I now had the opportunity to buy tickets to the first World Series game at Wrigley field since 1945. I freaked out, started panicking, then happiness, then all sorts of emotions came over me. I left my office to go drive around the block and smoke about 18 heaters, all while calling my friends/family to tell them the good news. It was exhilarating to say the least.
After all this joy and jubiliation, a thought came through my mind. It was 4th quarter and our schedules were blocked from taking PTO due to this being our busy season. Quarters 1-3, take as much time as you want off, but Q4 you’re going to need a hell of an excuse to get some time. I thought, and thought, and thought some more and, believe it or not, I thought I was going to have to miss out on this opportunity because of work. Let me take a minute to say, I’m embarrassed to say I had that thought, because this is LIFE. On your deathbed someday you won’t be thinking about the times you had working the “cube” life, life is about experiences, emotions, adventures. Always, and I can’t stress this enough, never let work get in the way of you have a fulfilling life.
Alright, back to the story. The game was a Friday so I figured I would leave Thursday, crash at a hotel in Chicago and then take Friday off. I told my bosses and clients that I had a personal matter that I had to attend to and it was most important that I take the day to address this personal matter. Just the facts, nothing more, nothing less. I bought the tickets and took my PTO for that Friday. I had purchased two tickets to the game at Face Value for I think about $200 a piece and away I was Thursday after work.
The seats weren’t the greatest, but I was at Game 3 of the World Series watching my team play at Home. Nothing couldn’t beat that moment in time for me. For reference though, here were our seats LOL :
The atmosphere of Wrigleyville was ELECTRIC to say the least. I remember taking the L to Wrigleyville and just seeing the masses of people surrounding the ballpark. My friend and I walked up to a bar and went to take a shot prior to going to the game. The bouncer at the door greeted us with a “It’s a $250 cover to come in tonight guys” – I let the individual know that we were just coming for one shot and were going to the game. In disbelief, I showed him the tickets and he let us in and spoke to someone behind the bar. Moments later, I shots arrived and the gentlemen advised us they were on the house and he was the owner of the bar. He asked to look at my tickets to see if they were truly real. Once confirmed, the gentleman told me, “I’ll give you $8,000 for those tickets right now if you give them to me”. Without hesitation, my friend and I took our shots and said, “We’re going to the game BABY!” and proceeded to walk out.
While at the game, we stood listening to the National Anthem and I could hear my phone just BLOWING UP. After the Anthem, I checked my phone and there was about 20 Texts telling me I was just on TV during the Anthem. Wild stuff I thought, but didn’t think much more – was just elated to be in that environment.
After the game was over, we went out to the bars for a bit, around downtown, and other shenanigans but it was just all around a perfect day. I returned to the office on Monday to see not only my colleagues and bosses reach out to me about my “Personal Day” but also my clients, as they too had seen me on TV. Nonetheless, everyone completely understood my reasoning for going and was glad I did so.
Morale of the story is, now’s the end of an era. Bryant, Baez, Rizzo, Contreas, Hendricks, etc. are all most likely leaving the Cubs. And I want to take this moment just to thank them from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to live in that moment. Have faith folks, live in that moment, and take those chances.
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