GE DIGITAL CAMERAPerhaps getting over the conditioning was the hardest part. The media perpetuated the myth on us all. The Billie Goat, the Black Cat, “He who shall not be named.”

Everybody loves a good curse story.

But when analyzed rationally, the “curses” seemed a little silly to me.

So as a fan, I chose to ignore them in the 2016 playoffs. Pass them off as illogical, unfounded, inane.

Conversely, this required me to dispense with some “big game” practices of my own. There would be no lucky shirt, no lucky chair, no lucky place to watch the game.

If the curses were silly, likewise I had to eschew my former superstitious habits from playoff years passed. Not washing that lucky shirt was equally as mindless. And, my co-workers and family thanked me for that one.

Here it was, Game 7 of the World Series and the Addison Street Miracle was still alive. Alive and well in fact, leading 6 – 3 in the 8th inning.

Lines were forming already to buy World Series keepsakes. Then it happened.

Two routine outs are followed by a single, a double, a home run and bang, it’s 6-6. Cleveland is rocking. The Cubs seem to be reeling.

All around the Windy City, the conditioned are checking out, nervous wrecks. Uttering responses like “not again”, “here we go”, “I can’t believe this is happening.”

I remained steadfast. Voicing positives like, “show some faith”, “believe.” I had no “lucky shirt” on. Yet, I was out there on the ledge invoking the masses of my Cubs fandom friends via text, post and the spoken word to hang tight. Grind with these guys.

Hang tight they did through 9. “And we’ll have an extra inning ball game today,” as Jack Brickhouse used to say.

Then the rains came. The rains that washed the slate clean for the Cubs, down three games to one in Chicago, now inspired one Jason Heyward to rally the troops. In the weight room in the depths of the visiting locker room in Cleveland, during the 17 minute rain delay, JHey reminded them they were the best team in baseball, able to overcome adversity.

We know how the story ends. 5 million people in Chicago today were a testimony to the fact that the story had a happy ending. The cryptic Eamus Catuli sign now reads. “AC000000.”

Two noteworthy quotes I caught in the myriad of post-game interviews in the wee hours the day after the November 2nd game:

Jayson Heyward on the team meeting:

“At the beginning of the day, we never worry about win or lose. We just worry about how we’re going to go out there and have fun, compete, be right there for the guys next to us and not take the situation for granted.”

Jon Lester on the curses:

“I think the biggest thing is nobody really cares in there about a curse or a goat or anything else, you know what I mean? A curse is an excuse for looking for a way out.”

Have fun. Be there. Don’t look for excuses. Maybe that applies to more than baseball.

Ladies and Gentlemen, you’re 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs.

EPILOGUE:

Truth told, I started the Cubs Chronicles because I believed this would be the year and wanted to record my thoughts along the way. Maybe share them with a reader or three.

With two of my longtime friends, fellow lifetime Cubs fans, Terry and Steve, I firmly believe we blazed the path to victory with our attendance at the game one victory. The ten remaining dominoes fell after that first nudge. We are 4-0 lifetime in Cubs Playoff games.

Whatever curses were once perceived have now been exposed as irrational. Don’t let foolish barriers stop you from dreaming.

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