Last night the Chicago Cubs won their first postseason game since 2003. In 2003 I was still in college, I was still working at EB Games and I hadn’t even met Alycia yet (which is probably a good thing because she was 16). I remember the last time the Cubs won a postseason game before they fell apart only five outs away from the World Series. I also remember 2007 and 2008 when they were unceremoniously swept out of the playoffs by the Diamondbacks and Dodgers respectively.
So last night was a lot of fun, watching the Cubs defeat the Pirates 4-0 behind a complete game shutout from pitcher Jake Arrieta. It was a glorious win, but I was only able to enjoy it for about 10 seconds.
After the final out was recorded, I smiled and pumped my fist. I then leaned over to Alycia, grabbed her hand and smiled. That smile quickly faded, though, as I remembered that the Cubs now face the Cardinals in a best-of-five series. The Cardinals are the Cubs biggest rival and I hate them so much. So the joy of the Wild Card win quickly turned to concern over the next series.
The Cardinals have been one of the best teams in baseball for years, often treating the Cubs like their own personal whipping boy. This year, though, even though the Cardinals won the division and have the best record in baseball, they have some chinks in their armor. They limped into the playoffs and some of their key players are injured.
A number of analysts have picked the Cubs to beat the Cardinals, but as a lifelong Cubs fan I have my doubts and my fears. I wasn’t even able to really enjoy their biggest win in 12 years because I was too focused on the possibility of something bad happening in the future. Whether those fears are founded or not shouldn’t matter; I should have enjoyed the moment more, I should be enjoying it more even as I type.
I’ve written a lot about being present in the moment, not allowing nostalgia or dreams of the future to pull us out of the present. I suppose that goes for sports as well as memories about years past or opportunities to come. I love the Cubs; they are easily my favorite sports team. They have brought so much heartache into my life, though, so I should enjoy the moments when they actually make me smile.
We probably have plenty of moments throughout our days that would make us smile if we simply took the time to recognize them.
Every morning when we wake up we should smile.
Every time we see a friend we should smile.
I smile every time I see a dog.
Jesus doesn’t promise that we won’t experience troubles in this life; we’re going to have plenty. But they won’t seem as bad if we can find a reason to smile, even if it’s just over a baseball game.
What makes you smile on a daily basis?