Farewell to 2016

15032215_1681699368826425_1076520704303286536_n

It’s been quite a ride, and I’ll always consider 2016 as a good year, because it was the “Next Year” that I had waited a very long time to see.

I went to Wrigley Field a few days after the Cubs’ World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians, and I wrote my recently departed friend’s name in chalk on a ticket window, a thank you to Harold Ramis in one place on the sidewalk, and “I’m glad I lived to see this” on another part of the sidewalk. Everything was powerwashed away the next day, so I was glad to have made the effort to get there when I did.

My Cubs buzz was as profound as it was short. The election of Donald Trump, less than a week after the Cubs’ victory, brought many people’s baseball-fueled euphoria to a crashing halt, but for me it ended a few days earlier than that. Mark Adams was a great friend–my drinking buddy, at an age when I wasn’t supposed to have one–but I hadn’t spoken to him in over 30 years. Life is like that sometimes. He died at a hospital in New York in August, a day after his 48th birthday, but I only learned of it through a newspaper obituary published on the Saturday after the Cubs won. So I got to enjoy about three days of supreme happiness, before life and death reminded me of how fragile everything on this planet can be.

The sad but unavoidable fact is that not everyone who rings in 2017 tonight will be here when it’s over. We lost many people that we once knew in 2016, and we’ll lose even more in 2017. Life goes on, until it doesn’t anymore. And the world will somehow continue spinning without us.

As we put a great and tragic year to rest in a few hours’ time, I’m hopeful that everyone remembers to enjoy our time here, and appreciate the ever-changing cast of characters who are along for the ride. Nothing lasts forever, nor will any of us. So let’s have some fun while we can.

 

 

Someday we’ll go all the way

Being a Cubs fan is very hard. No, baseball is not life and death, and so I won’t pretend that people don’t have it a lot worse than I do. I’m fortunate, in many ways, with how my life has turned out. And yet….

Imagine waiting for something your whole life. Then imagine the sense of dread and disappointment that comes up whenever you have to confront the reminders of that thing you’ve been so patiently waiting for:

Cardinals win the World Series, again? That could be us, somehow.

Red Sox win and break their so-called “Curse of the Bambino”? I can’t wait see that for my team!

White Sox win, and then their fans can’t stop talking about it?  I’d do the same thing if I was in their shoes, but of course I’m not.

And it goes on from there. And I won’t even try to explain what it’s like to watch the Arizona Diamondbacks win a World Series.

That’s what makes this trailer for MLB 12 The Show so oddly spellbinding. It takes the one moment that I, and millions of others, have been waiting our whole lives for, and shows us how we’ll react when it happens. There will undoubtedly be shouting, fireworks, tears, and a whole lot of things that we haven’t yet been allowed to experience. “Crying and covered in beer” is how Eddie Vedder once put it. And the thought of it actually happening is enough to make the guy playing the video game in the commercial cry. And I can’t say that I blame him.

Will I live to see it happen? I sure hope so, but until it does this video game trailer will just have to do. And a month from now, the games on the field will count. It can’t come soon enough for me.