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.

Silence.

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 game time.

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 win!

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...

Click here for the fabled story of our journey to Games 4 and 5

Click here for the picture album

 

Read the top five essays:

Essay #1

Essay #2 WINNER

Essay #3 WINNER

Essay #4

Essay #5