Cubs Playoff Series
What started out as a SoberDan contest for a trip to Wrigley Field for
Game 4 ended up to be quite a journey for the four lucky winners.
So now, after three days of laughing and crying and thousands of miles
of driving and flying, I'm ready to tell the story about how four average
guys ended up witnessing perhaps the most profound sporting moment in
recent Chicago history (save for the Bears Super Bowl Victory).
It all started on a cold Sunday morning a couple of weeks ago. Dave Griffiths
and I got up at the crack of dawn to try to get tickets to the Division
Playoff series. At this point, the Cubs weren't even guaranteed to be
in the playoffs, and we got tickets for game 4, which wasn't a guaranteed
game in a best of 5 series.
So there were a lot of unknown variables, but we are young and full of
hope and faith, and as the Astros continued to lose and the Cubs continued
to win, our dream came closer to becoming a reality.
But we had four tickets. What were we to do with the other two? I thought
we should donate them to a foster home so that underprivileged youth could
enjoy a historic moment, but Dave wanted to have a contest. I knew the
kids would end up crying themselves to sleep if they didn't have tickets,
but we proceed with the contest. There were many entries (I've posted
the top five at the right), and after hours of deliberation and arguing,
we decided that the winners were Matt Kreis (essay #2) and Andy Schaefer
(essay #3). Rest assured that I almost dropped Dave for the girl who wrote
essay #5, but I think he would have been upset.
Regardless, the Fellowship was formed, and on Saturday we gathered at
noon in Wrigleyville in anticipation of a day of celebration and jubiliation.
Game 4 was supposed to be the clincher. It was supposed to be a historic
moment for Chicago. It was supposed to be our victory. Alas, the Braves
had different plans that fateful eve.
Wrigley was charged with excitement, and the fans cheered and jeered
with every pitch thrown. The fans were out in full force, and as the game
came towards the end, all eyes were on Sosa.
Two runs behind, two outs, two strikes, a runner on base, Sosa at the
plate. He connects. Wild cheers erupt.
As we sat there looking around, the Fellowship realized something. Our
destiny was not to see history made that evening. No, our destiny was
to travel long and far, through peril and despair, to fair Atlanta, home
of the Braves.
We made a blood pact to stay together until the end.
So we hurried back to the new "Bitch Factory" and quickly found
tickets to the game. We booked airfare. We were bound in brotherhood,
ready for adventure. 6 hours after Game 4 ended, we were on our way to
O Hare to catch a 6 a.m. flight to Atlanta.
Arriving in Atlanta with nothing but the well worn clothes on our backs,
we wondered aimlessly through the city, wrecking havoc on all Braves fans
we came across. OK, truth is we went to ESPNZone and hid like sallys until
After meeting a "ticket broker" in a dark alley, we had our
tickets and we were ready for action. We ventured to Turner Field and
prayed for the best. Fortunately our Fellowship of Four was strengthened
by Jay and Meredith, two extremely generous Chicago fans. Together we
entered the den of lions.
We had front row tickets in the right field, twenty feet from where Sosa
stands. The Cubs fans were out in full force, shaming the Braves fans
with their devotion and fervor. The infamous Tomahawk Chop sounded like
a bunch of Tomahak Chumps.
I don't need to say what happened that night at Turner Field. We all
know what will be written in the annals of Cub History. Cubs win! Cubs
The win was for 127 years of Cubs history, for all the players, coaches,
fans who suffered through losing seasons, for the fans who sat on the
edge while postseason hopes were crushed decade after decade for 95 years,
for Ernie Banks, for Billy Willams, for Ron Santo, for Dawson, Sandberg,
Grace, Zimmer, and for Harry Caray and all the Cubs fans who have passed
on to the bleachers in heaven.
I was there.
We flew back at 6:00 a.m. Monday morning, still wearing the clothes we
had on Saturday at noon. We were tired, but joyous. It was one of the
best days of my life. It's something that I'll tell my grandchildren about,
over and over again...