R. Christopher Teichler, Composer

From Facebook: "My Cub's Fan Journey"

This is not music related at all! But, it's a window into who I am. Growing up in the west suburbs of Chicago, born into a family of Cubs fans, this year's MLB playoff run was most thrilling, and I wanted to capture my thoughts before game 7 of the World Series (which turned out to be an unbelievable roller coaster of emotions...). Here's what I wrote just an hour before the game. I hope you enjoy it.
It's no secret I'm a Bears fan first, but the Cubs have always been a close second. Actually, the Cubs were the first team of which I became a fan, and I have always loved this team. It all goes back to family, and to the ‘80’s.
The 1983 White Sox made a playoff run, but were shut down by the eventual World Series champion Baltimore Orioles. I was 6, I watched and wanted the White Sox to beat the "Oreos," but wasn't quite old enough to follow closely with invested interest.
One year later, 1984, something changed and I was able to follow the Cubs with great excitement! Rick Sutcliffe, the unhittable Cy Young favorite that was acquired mid-season, and Ryne Sandberg, the young MVP favorite, were my heroes. After winning the first 2 games of the best of five 1984 NLCS, a trip to the World Series seemed inevitable.
Tragically, as all Cubs fans remember, they dropped three in a row to the San Diego Padres. I was bummed, but I could see on the faces of my dad, uncle and Nana, that this went deeper. They all remembered 1969. Nana remembered 1945. I didn’t “get it.”
1985 would be different! The team would be back, and even better! Well, injuries to the pitching staff prevented that. The Cubs finished under .500 that year, which was very discouraging to my 8-year old self. But, I was starting to get distracted by the end of the baseball season, because 1985 turned out to be different.
Da Bears.
The 1985 Chicago Bears rolled through the NFL like no team ever had before, or has since. They went to the playoffs. They dominated the playoffs. The steamrolled the Super Bowl opponent to an inevitable world championship. To a kid who was still so disappointed from the previous year, jumping on the Bears fan wagon was easy and unforgettable. They have struggled since then, of course, but I was a die-hard for life.
But I still loved my Cubs. I still loved going to Nana’s house to watch games with her.
1989. The Cubs are making another playoff run! Towards the end of the summer, my parents tell me that we are moving to a new town, a different suburb. I was crushed. I was going to leave my friends and start a new school. This was devastating to a 7th grader (and I was equally devastated when I moved my 7th grade son from Illinois to Texas, I remembered). But, at least the Cubs were doing well, and this would help me have something to look forward to and bring some measure of happiness.
Giants win the 1989 NLCS 4 games to 1. Starting a new school with more Cubs disappointment.
Years of bad baseball. And a strike, which disenfranchised me for a few years. Ryne Sandberg, my favorite Cub, retires. I still loved the Cubs, but did not follow very closely.
1998, Harry Caray passes away. Nostalgia hits me hard. I start watching again. Kerry Wood, a rookie from Texas, pitches a 20 strikeout game against a very good Houston Astros team. I start paying attention again. Sammy Sosa, an otherwise above-average player starts hitting home runs at an alarming pace. Watching baseball was fun again! The strike was forgotten. I remembered why I loved this game and this team.
Cubs make the playoffs as a Wild Card team! This is the year!
The Atlanta Braves said otherwise.
2003. New manager, Dusty Baker. “Why Not Us?” Indeed! The Cubs win a weak NL Central and beat the Braves in the NLDS. Maybe THIS is the year! Meeting the Florida Marlins in the NLCS, the Cubs take 3 of the first 4! Only need one more!
Collapse. The unfair blaming of a fellow fan. A sure-handed shortstop can’t turn a routine double play. Game Seven heartbreak. I remember turning to my wife and saying, “Now, you’re a Cub fan.”
A couple more playoff runs in 2007 and 2008 led to more post-season disappointment as they were swept in consecutive NLDS.
After 2011, major shakeup in the organization. Theo Epstein gets the keys to the franchise. He lays out his plan. This will be really bad for a few seasons, but a contender will emerge in due time. Many, mostly the press, scoff. I am excited, maybe this will lead to the eventually championship that four generations have waited for.
2012. Nana passes away. She never got to see it. (She would have loved this team!)
2015. The contender emerges, ahead of schedule. Disappointment in getting swept in the NLCS, but it was different. This post-season loss just felt less painful. Things were not what they used to be, and this team would be back.
2016, a roster with 6 regular starters 24 years old and younger. They finish the regular season as the best team in baseball. They go through the National League playoffs relatively easily, and win the pennant for the first time in 71 years.
I cried. I thought of Nana. I thought of the heartbroken 7-year old back in 1984. I thought of the 12-year old that was about to say goodbye to his home and friends and just wanted something positive to hold on to. I thought of other families that had similar stories to mine, and how this team was more than just a local sports franchise.
Tonight is Game Seven of the World Series. The Cubs have come back from a 3 games to 1 deficit to force this winner take all showdown. I don’t know if they will win, and I know that they will be around and in the discussion for a number of years. That fact helps make the thought of losing tonight a bit more palatable. But, my goodness, how wonderful would a victory tonight feel? How many of us could remember our Nana, or dad, or mom, or grandpa, or aunts and uncles that we watched games with for years that never got to see this opportunity?
I am terrified, but I can’t wait to watch it. And I’ll be watching with my family, continuing the tradition of my family and this beloved team.
Postscript: They did it, Nana! They did it!


Bearsss Cubssss Bearsss

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