Don’t let anyone say that it’s just a game
For I’ve seen other teams and it’s never the same
Those are the first two lines of Eddie Vedder’s Cubs’ song, “All The Way,” his ode to Cubs fandom.
As you go through the lyrics of the song, which can be found on my blog, at http://www.designatedhitter.wordpress.com, you find that even though it will likely enjoy a short shelf life this October as the Cubs go quietly into the night, the song has captured the essence of the Cubs fan like nothing else. It works for the suffering Cubs fan. It works for the joyful Cubs fan. It just works.
Cubs fans have longed their entire lives to see their team win the World Series, and go “all the way”. Generations — plural — have literally passed without seeing it happen, but still we believe every April that “someday” is coming that October. Royals fans don’t believe that. That’s why this team is different.
And it’s why, looking at those first two lines, that Cubs fans know unlike like few others that it’s never “just a game” when the Cubs are playing.
My coworkers who had the misfortune of being in The Herald newsroom during Games 1 and 2 can tell you that neither was “just a game” to me, or to the poor, dented file cabinet.
We are one with the Cubs
With the Cubs we’re in love
Yes, one with the them. Even though today’s fan essentially roots for laundry — the uniform and the logo on it — Cubs fans believe every year that this is the year. It is indeed love. And when somebody you love lets you down, it hurts. But it’s love, so you always go back to them. Always.
And here’s to the men and legends we’ve known
Teaching us faith and giving us hope
Every Cubs fan should have XM Radio, just to hear Pat Hughes and Ron Santo broadcast home games on WGN Radio. Santo, the unabashed homer he is, can still be quick to criticize. But he’s also quick to believe that the Cubs can always come back, whether that means in the ninth inning, or from 10 games back in the standings. You learn as a Cubs fan that one can’t be loyal with having hope first.
Yeah, hold our head high as the underdogs
We are not fairweather by farweather fans
We are like brothers in arms in the streets and the stands
All season long, the Cubs were the favorites to come out of the National League and make the World Series. Now, they may be swept in the divisional playoffs.
Which means, again, the Cubs are underdogs. Like they always are.
But when times are tough, you stay. You believe. You think about the 2004 Red Sox in the ALCS and think, “Why not us, too?”
Ernie Banks said “Oh, let’s play two”
Or did he mean 200 years?
They are the most heartbreaking lines in the song. And possibly the most truthful.
Every Cubs fan knows that he may never see his team win it all in his lifetime. And every Cubs fan understands that he hasn’t lived through the worst, that somebody before him has endured much more pain and agony, and passed on.
But every Cubs fan knows that those who have gone before would gladly give those who come after them the joy of witnessing it. Why? Because every Cubs fan today knows he would do it for another.
United we stand and united we’ll fall
Down to our knees the day we win it all
That’s not all that would fall. Tears. Many, many tears…
When the day comes with that last winning run
And I’m crying and covered in beer
I’ll look to the sky and know I was right
That Someday we’d go all the way
No, the Cubs won’t be winning the World Series this year. And it’s tough for us, after knowing for months that our team would be playing in October with a chance to make it all happen. For it to all come crashing down again feels like the previous six months of baseball were a waste.
But they weren’t, and neither was the sloppy performance against the Dodgers. It’s gut-wrenching, yes. But a waste? No way.
Why? Because with every misstep, with every disappointment, the overwhelming joy when the Cubs do, someday, go all the way, will mean that much more.
And so we’ll wait.
Til next year.