Learning to live with success

Gary Sosniecki

Gary Sosniecki


I’ve been under a lot of stress since November.

No, not because of the election, though that’s a good guess. What’s kept me awake at night was worry about whether I would feel the same way about my Chicago Cubs now that they have won the World Series.

As I’ve admitted to you before, I’m a Cubs fan. Born in Chicago, raised in the suburbs, I’ve been addicted to the Cubs since Dad took me to Wrigley Field the first time. It was May 15, 1960. In the second game of a doubleheader, 24-year-old Don Cardwell, who had been traded to the Cubs two days earlier, pitched a no-hitter.

The losing team? The St. Louis Cardinals. A guiding principle of my life – Cubs good, Cardinals bad – was established.

For the next 55 years I hoped against hope that someday I would see the Cubs play in a World Series, a hope that seemed unlikely when they were losing 90 to 100 games every season. I was sure it would happen after Leo Durocher was hired as manager in 1966, and it almost did in 1969, the year a black cat spooked Ron Santo in the on-deck circle at Shea Stadium. I was sure it would happen in 1984 until the ball scooted through Leon Durham’s legs in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. I was sure it would happen in 2003, the year fan Steve Bartman interfered with a catchable foul ball with the Cubs only five outs away from their first pennant since 1945.

After each disappointment, I gradually recovered. Being a Cubs fan builds character, I told myself and anyone else who would listen. I learned to live with losing year after year after year, losing made especially difficult since I was living among Cardinals fans. I was jealous of all your pennants, all your world championships. You even build a new stadium every 40 years!

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