I don’t even know how to write about food today, so I offer you this instead.
I grew up Dodger Blue. If you are a resident of Southern California, you know the term. The Los Angeles Dodgers were my team, my family’s team, one of those bits of family heritage passed on like recipes and the crooked tooth, lower left jaw. My great-grandmother was a Brooklyn Dodgers fan, possibly simply because they weren’t the Yankees. But when the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles, that sealed the deal. I knew the rules of baseball before I knew how to calculate batting averages. Vin Scully’s voice drifted through the house all summer long, weaving captivating tales out of the most obscure details of the game and its players. I was a founding member of my high school’s Dodgers Fan Club, and in 1981 celebrated with my friends as the Dodgers beat the despised Yankees, 4 games to 2. They were our heroes.
But I lost my innocence in 1994, when greed overtook the love of the game, and for the first time since 1904, no World Series was played. I was heartbroken and betrayed by the game and men I had worshipped for my entire life. I swore I would never watch another game.
Of course, never is a long time, and in 2004, if you lived in New England, the magic was inescapable. Just for something to pass the time, I turned on Game 4 of the American League Championship series, to witness the inevitable, I suppose, the damn Yankees winning yet another prize. Only they did not win, not that game, and not any of the following games. The Red Sox had (temporarily) won my heart. But the game has changed so much from the game of my youth, in ways I don’t think have made it better, that that storied win was not enough to rekindle my love. My heart has since found a new love, bigger and bolder and wilder. The Boston Bruins, and NHL hockey, now live in the spot where the Dodgers and baseball used to be.
This week has been a remarkable ride. A familiar scenario, indeed, some familiar players, although not on the field, and on opposite sides. So who’s magic would be more powerful, Terry Francona’s or Theo Epstein’s?
I watched part of Game 5, online in a graphic representation, again merely as a diversion, in part because of a series of tweets from Peter Sagal, admonishing Cubs fans to keep watching or they might regret it. I felt a hunch, that Mr. Sagal might be onto something. Or maybe it was just a case of FOMO (fear of missing out), but I watched. I watched the Cubs win Game 5. Hmmm. While watching a Bruins game, I kept track of the score of Game 6, and was astonished to see it jump from 3-0 to 7-0 in the top of the 3rd inning. After the Bruins won their game, we switched over to the World Series, and cheered for the Chicago Cubs like they were our own.
For Game 7, it seemed like America was cheering for the Chicago Cubs, except for Cleveland Indians fans, of course. Social media was full of people from all over the place, even people who are not “sportsball” fans, watching the game in anticipation of whatever history would be made. But as the game went on, both teams fighting for every run, and nowhere near flawless in execution, the scales tilted just a little bit for the Cubs, and with the score tied going into extra innings, and an exhausted Cubs’ relief pitcher, the game went into a rain delay.
A RAIN DELAY? If you didn’t know it was true, you’d tell me to edit that part out of my tale, because it was just. too. much.
But a rain delay was called, and the Cubs regrouped, and got two more runs in the top of the 10th, giving their pitcher some breathing space and a chance to hope he wouldn’t fail them. He got two of the outs in the bottom of the 10th, and one more relief pitcher, one more batter, one more out later, the Chicago Cubs were the embodiment of The Boys Of Summer, laughing, crying, shouting, embracing, an unbelievable moment of their boyhood dreams suddenly made real and true. Chicago needed that moment, America needed that moment. We’ve had a hell of a year, here in the good ol’ USA, and this bit of nostalgic, honest joy was a genuine tonic to my soul.
I am not the type of woman who easily forgives a broken heart. But I have been known to reach out after a time and say, “Hey, how are things?” Time heals all wounds, they say.