GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Finally. The wait is over. The Chicago Cubs are World Champions.
I've been waiting most of my life for this. By most of my life, I mean from the time I became a Cubs fan. It was sometime in early to mid-90s when all the Cubs had was Sammy Sosa, Ryne Sandberg, Mark Grace and a little thing called hope.
I was a young kid then, spending afternoons after school with my grandmother, Martha Smith, while waiting for my parents to get home from work.
She's the reason I became a Cubs fan.
Just a few years into my die-hard fandom for the Loveable Losers, I lost Grandma. She passed away around the same time legendary Cubs announcer Harry Caray died. Mom and I used to joke that the two were drinking beer together just beyond center field, enjoying every day of Cubs baseball in the afterlife.
We did manage to get her to a few Cubs games before she died. Those are memories I'll never forget. That's why this win is so special to me -- those memories, and the people who us Cubs fans wish we could still be making those memories with today.
108 years of futility wasn't just a major American sports record drought. It was a long wait for a lot of Cubs fans, many of whom didn't make it. You show me a die-hard Cubs fan and I'll show you several other die-hard Cubs fans who weren't with their loved ones in the early morning hours of Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 -- a moment Northsiders will remember forever.
The tears of joy we cry today as Cubs fans are a tribute to those we've lost. Two of my best childhood friends, Koby Keck and Kate Damp, come to mind.
Kate lost her mother a few years back and Koby lost both his mother and brother within the last few years. Those three lives, along with the life of my grandmother, represent unforgettable, happy times.
All of those Cubs fans who are no longer with us were watching, somewhere, when the Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians in extra innings during game seven. That's why the win was so special.
Koby may have put it best in a post he wrote on his mom's wall this morning: "Told you it was going to happen."
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