So, it's been almost a week since the Cubs season imploded in on the team, the city and the fans. I've taken some time to ponder what this has meant for me and what this could potentially mean to all the Cubs fans out there. Up until this time I haven't even had the strength to do this post. I'm sitting in the Las Vegas airport at 10:30pm after a week long work conference, waiting to catch the red eye to the East Coast for a good friend's wedding. Nothing is more depressing than the Vegas airport late at night with people waiting to take a red eye. I thought it an appropriate time to write this post.
I've been struggling with many emotions since the 5th inning of game 1 (which I did end up getting a pair of tickets to) when the wheels came off the 2008 season: shock, embarrassment, anger, hope, angst, shame and most of all despair. I think it's fair to say any die hard Cubs fan has experienced roughly the same emotions.
I'm sad to report that at this point I don't have any encouraging words for fans out there to take away. I'm sorry. I've always felt that this blog should be only positive, but this time it hurts too much. It actually hurts more than 2003. Maybe that memory has faded some and 2008 is still fresh so it seems to hurt more, but I don't think so. While 2003's crash and burn was only something that could happen to the Cubs, this year was the 1st time in my life where I truly felt it was THE year. This team was too good for it not to be....and by God, it was the 100 year anniversary sine their last World Championship. It was destiny.
Silly me for having that thought.
I think it also hurts so much more because of the feeling of despair and resignation that if this Cubs team couldn't win a single playoff game, then what hope is there that this will ever happen in my life time?
It also hurts because it became very clear that this was a total mental collapse. I won't go into any details of the series for the same reasons you wouldn't go into the details of a family member's long, painful death, but the Cubs couldn't have played much worse than they did. Game 2 was the worst game they played all season and it was down right embarrassing. I actually had pity for the announcers for Christ sake.
This has naturally led me to evaluate what I do now. These are my options as a Cubs fan:
- Forge on as a die hard fan and say "next year is the year!"
- Stop following the Cubs for good because I just can't take it any more
- Switch over to the dark side and start rooting for the Sox (my cousin pulled this trick out of his hat after '84 with his Father's permission and was rewarded for his Benedict Arnold-like move with a championship in 2005)
- Stop being an "all in" fan with the Cubs until they win one playoff game no matter how long it takes
- Take a step back, put this decision on hold until Spring training when the pain has subsided for a bit, root for the Bears and decide what to do in February
One of my best friends Ed, decided to do this after game 1 and didn't even watch games 2 & 3. If he can pull that off, anyone can. When I sent him a text after inning 2 of game 2, he had no idea what had happened. At that point I envied him. Trust me when I say he's a die hard fan. At the time I thought it was a drastic, knee jerk decision. In retrospect, it was genius and I wish I had followed suit....it's a very tempting proposition. As my other good friend Mike said it best when he told me "I don't invest six months of my life following this team every day for the season to end like this."
Yes I know it's drastic, but desperate times call for drastic measures. When a friend of mine who lives in LA and who is a life long, die hard Dodgers fan (I didn't know they existed until I met him either) emailed me to seriously inquire into the state of my mental health after he didn't hear from me for a few days after the series ended (I owed him one deep dish Chicago pizza from our bet as well), I knew it was time to reconsider how seriously I was taking the Cubs.
I'm curious to know how this postseason's abject failure is affecting the other die hards out there. Please post a comment and let everybody know your thoughts on what, if anything, you're going to different going forward. I'm thinking I'm not the only one who's contemplating this decision.
So, I do apologize for not having anything more positive to say at this point, but that's how I'm feeling. I'll see if the long, cold, gray Chicago winter changes my tune when it's time for pitchers and catchers to report. That's it for now. I wish all the fans out there the best in getting through this off season.