“You dream for this” ~ Kris Bryant
Chicago Cubs third baseman
2015 NL Rookie of the Year
Kris is only 24. He’s less than half my age. He doesn’t know what it’s REALLY like to dream for this; however, I love how his eyes shone with an inner light when he said the above phrase. It made me cry. If that’s not true happiness, I don’t know what is. Here’s a video of Kris speaking about Game 7 scheduled for tonight.
As for me, I woke up today sore everywhere. I had really awful anxiety dreams all night long of being back in high school (awful enough) with corridors & stairways that shifted & everyone seemed to know the way to the buses except me & no one could explain to me how to get to them because the building kept changing. Then I found some little yarn booties my mom had made my daughter when she was a baby. I screamed at this man who had them on his desk. He had NO right to have those booties! I broke down crying & that’s what woke me up this morning.
I gingerly got out of bed to realize I was sorer than I first thought. Even my fingers hurt so it’s difficult to type. I have no voice remaining at all. I staggered off to the bathroom hoping I didn’t have the flu. I had only gotten my shot 2 days ago, but the flu can take 2 weeks to incubate.
During my shower I remembered the most amazing dream. The Cubs were going to be in Game 7 of the World Series against the Cleveland Indians.
I emerged from the shower with a HUGE smile on my face thinking how totally amazing & wonderful that would be if it were true. I made myself a cup of coffee, still smiling. I came upstairs, switched on my computer & saw that it was no dream. My heart went pitter-patter crazy for a few seconds.
This has happened every morning since the Cubs defeated the Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS on October 22nd, which was my precognitive dream literally coming true as I dreamt it so many, many times for 46 years.
That dream began when I was only 6 years old. The dream is always the same. I’m in the living room of my childhood home watching the Cubs play. My dad and maternal grandfather are sitting on the couch literally on the edge of their seats. It’s Game 6 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field & the Cubs are attempting to break that curse and head into the World Series. While growing up the vast majority of Cubs players were clean-shaven except for mustaches, but in my dream many of them had full beards. My dream would recur 2 – 3 times a year right up until August, 2016. The Cubs opponent in every single dream was always the LA Dodgers.
When the Cubs ended up playing the Dodgers in the 2016 NLCS you cannot imagine my state of nerves combined with giddy happiness. I already knew how it was going to play out! I knew that it would all come down to Game 6 at Wrigley Field & I knew the Cubs would win that game to advance to the World Series. I KNEW! As I told my husband “this is the night the Cubs get into the World Series,” he yelled at me & told me to stop jinxing my team. I replied, “but my dream! My dream! Remember my dream. THIS IS IT! My dream is going to come to life before my very eyes!!” As usual, he didn’t believe me, but soon the Cubs made him a believer.
Over the years I had told all my friends & family about that recurring dream. As a child they would smile, pat me on the head as they said, “that’s nice, sweetie. What a great dream to have.” As I got older my friends would simply laugh their heads off at me. As an adult people would softly laugh and say, “you & your Cubs!” Many times that was accompanied by a rolling of their eyes. Over the years everyone always took it as some type of a joke.
But I knew. I’ve always known.
Back in 1973, or it may have been ’74 or even ’75, which were dark years for the Cubs I was very young into my fandom. I didn’t know about the goat & the curse. I was blissfully unaware of the decades that Cubs fans have suffered with their team residing in the basement. I can still recall a cartoon I saw in either the Waukegan News-Sun or the Chicago Tribune. The cartoonist had depicted a dark, dank basement that had a tiny window. The window allowed in just enough light to illuminate an old splintered wooden bench. Upon that bench sat a very sad looking Cubs cap. The cartoon insinuated that the Chicago Cubs would permanently reside in the basement, which they did until the glorious 1984 season, which then went promptly nowhere.
Despite all that, I always look back to that fine summer day when I was in the backyard with Grandpa as I asked him, “Grandpa, when do you think the Cubs will win the World Series?”
My grandpa was a big Cubs fan. He is the one who taught me to have faith in my team, no matter what. He would often say,
“A baseball team is a bit like God. You either believe in them or you don’t, but if you don’t believe how can you truly enjoy the games?”
Once he was done laughing his ass off, he gave it some serious thought. Grandpa stood there with me and must have thought for what seemed like a good five minutes. Resting his chin on his right hand while looking up to the sky, as if he were asking God for the answer. Finally, he looked down at me & burst out laughing. He had a huge belly laugh. As he laughed a tear rolled down his right cheek. I was so ANGRY at him! How DARE he laugh at MY Cubs! Then he said something I have never ever forgotten:
“The Cubs will win the World Series in 2017 & you’ll be alive to see it, but none of us will be” (meaning himself & my parents).
I took that as truth because my grandpa had a knack for spouting out crazy stuff that would years later come true. He told us when I was very small that NASA would design a ship that could go to outer space, come back, and be used again just like on Star Trek. I still recall how my parents laughed at him while I sat there with eyes big as saucers saying, “really, Grandpa? Really?” He would give me a sad smile and say, “you believe me, don’t you?” Of course. I always believed him. Even when he told lies LOL Grandpa also predicted that by the time my own child (which he said would be a girl & that I’d have only one, which came true) was becoming an adult (she’s 18 now) there would be a black man in the White House & our next president would be a woman. Once again, saying something like that in the early to mid-1970’s resulted in him being a laughing stock. As an adult I now know where a large portion of my psychic abilities come from. Grandpa was obviously psychic, but no one at the time realized it.
My mom was always optimistic about the Cubs having been raised a fan herself by Grandpa. She listened to the 1945 World Series on the radio. She would refer to them as “our Cubs,” and when she would speak of things the Cubs had done she would say, “we played a decent game today,” or “we’ll get them next time.” It was always “us,” and “we” in my house when it came to the Cubs so that’s how it is for me to this day.
My dad was also a big Cubs fan, but he was also disloyal. During the 1970s he would also watch the White Sox. Oh man! In MY house, which was also Grandpa & Mom’s house you DID NOT WATCH ANY OTHER TEAM! PERIOD!! To do so lead to screaming matches the likes of which I had never heard before or since. Mom & Grandpa would be screaming at Dad to “get those damn BLACK Sox off the TV!” The change of color is a reference to them throwing the 1919 World Series in exchange for financial kickbacks from gamblers. The argument would always conclude with Mom or Grandpa saying, “The Cubs would NEVER EVER do something like that, so turn off that damn game or switch it to the Cubs game!” Dad always had to either comply or it was no dinner for him – for a WEEK! Back then men did not cook for themselves so Mom’s threat held a great deal of power.
Win or lose tonight, my dream of seeing the Cubs in a World Series has already come true. I figure if they lose (and that’s a mighty big IF because they stole all the momentum from the Indians last night & we have our ace of aces, Kyle Hendricks, pitching for us today), my dream still would have come true.
All I ever wanted regarding the Cubs was to see them IN a World Series. I never cared too much if they won or not. I only wished to be able to say MY Cubs are National League Champions. The reason being that from the age of 6 until I was 11 or 12 I was involved in a number of fights at school with other kids who were White Sox fans. I lived in Waukegan, which was north of Chicago. Most of us considered ourselves Northsiders so we were Cubs fans. Southsiders were the Sox fans. I’d proudly wear my Cubs t-shirts to school at a time when they were doing the worst they had ever done (Cubs fans all work hard to forget the 1970s, & don’t even mention 1969). Those kids would see me in my shirt & it would be on! Twice I was beaten so severely I had to be taken to the doctor straight from school & one of those times if my parents had had the money he would have put me in the hospital.
A person never forgets abuse of that nature. All these years I have always been able to vividly recall the face of every single child who ever hit, kicked, bit, scratched & pulled my hair. I have seen their laughing, snarling faces in my nightmares countless times.
Today, as I think back on those kids, I’ll be damned this year if I can recall what a single one of them looks like anymore! This year their faces have dimmed. As their faces began to dim I would think to myself, “Oh my God, could this be THE year?” By my birthday in mid-June I was FIRMLY convinced that yes, 2016 was THE year us long suffering Cubs fans have been waiting for, but people would tell me, “Oh! Don’t say THAT! You’ll jinx them!” The “curse mentality,” as I refer to it, has been very difficult to shed for most Cubs fans, but not this one. I lit candles all during the 2015 season concentrating on breaking that curse. Candles were very black and ugly for several months, but by the end of the season they were burning cleanly – a sure sign a curse has been broken. I also know I was not the only one burning candles for the Cubs. There is power in numbers & all that positive energy from Cubs fans of today & Cubs fans of yesteryear finally coalesced into what has become the most enjoyable & wonderful Cubs season in living memory.
My team, win or lose tonight, is a CHAMPION. They are, as Steve Goodman sings in the iconic song, “Go Cubs, Go,” “the best in the National League.” The time of taunts & remembering the horrible abuse I endured from my classmates is over.
Those kids faces today all appear blank to me. I can’t even tell what their genders were. The Chicago Cubs have successfully exorcised my demons; and in so doing, they have also exorcised the demons that have plagued the Cubs franchise for 71 years.
I did not think it was possible for me to love the Cubs anymore than I already do. I cried as I typed this. That’s how much I love MY Chicago Cubs.
My mantra this post season has been:
Go Cubs, go!! All the way to a 2016 World Series victory!!
I slightly altered it a few nights ago. My slightly revised mantra is:
Go Cubs, go!! All the way to a 2016 World Series victory in Cleveland!!
If anyone can do it, the Cubs can. I have faith. I believe. I always have & I always will. NO MATTER WHAT!
Go, Cubs, go!!!!!!!!
~ Nefer Khepri, PhD., R. M-T.
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