Fly it high

I’ve cried more since the early morning hours of November 3, 2016 than in the collective years since that was my only form of communication.

That’s probably an exaggeration, but anyone who knows me knows my hyperbolic use of the phrase “I’m crying.” But, finally, it’s been used correctly whenever I have typed that since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series that early Thursday morning.

To many of my friends, especially those I met in college, they probably find it strange that I almost exclusively save tears for sporting events (well, and maybe a few to stupid boys who don’t deserve them and sleepless nights fretting over making a magazine). You are right; it is weird because they are literally super publicized games that can also be played by children (or by an infamous Backyard Baseball player named Pablo Sanchez).

 

This was more than a game, though. Not just in the sense that it was a championship because I’ve seen a couple of those brought home to Chicago (thanks Blackhawks). There were droughts that needed quenching on both sides, though the Cubs’ was the most notorious. There were loyal fanbases on both sides who knew what it was like to push through seasons upon seasons of sad scores.

Being a fan of the Chicago Cubs isn’t typically just a fair weather or bandwagon situation. It’s been instilled in you that you will toil season after season with not a lot to show for it, while your White Sox friends might laugh or heckle you on sports jersey day in elementary through high school. For me, it meant going to Mizzou and being surrounded by die-hard Cardinals fans who never let me forget just how many rings they had in comparison to our win not long after the turn of the 20th century. For me, it was memories of attending games with my dad, grandpa and brothers (me in my pink Cubs visor and pink-accented jersey) and eating frozen chocolate malts in the stands. For me, it was memories of watching the sunset over the ivy or getting nearly caught in tornadoes on our way out of storm-delayed games.

For most of us, it’s not just fandom. It’s heritage. It’s love. It’s family.

That’s what made me collapse sobbing on the floor of my apartment around 1 a.m. after having to leave the Chicago bar here in Atlanta because I was so nauseous with nerves that I literally puked outside of the door. That’s what made me text my grandfather “I haven’t stopped crying yet. GO CUBS” because I knew that this meant even more to him than to me. That’s what made me cry thinking about the people that didn’t make it to see this win, like my Papa Giggy and my Grandma Virg who loved the Cubbies because they were cute. That’s what made me tear up in a Starbucks watching the parade and rally livestream because I just wanted so badly to be surrounded by people who all were connected by this same type of love.

Being the true journonerd that I am, I had to live vicariously through the quality media that was being put out after this historic win. I also had to spam my FB feed with all of it whilst crying again. I miss my favorite city so much, even though it has been raw, broken and seemingly numb to the violence and hurt. But this win means that for once the city could just be full of joy. The city can just love its inhabitants purely.

But it wasn’t just the city that needed this win, the nation did. Sure, a baseball game can’t solve everything. It doesn’t have to, but it can let us find peace and happiness and avoid the politics that have been plaguing us for months upon months (P.S. Make sure you vote; it’s almost over, folks). And it’s OK to allow ourselves to be consumed by baseball emotion for a little while.

Although it’s been an emotional journey (I was sobbing again yesterday), it’s one I wouldn’t trade for the world. I would just trade where I was living right now to be amongst the Cubbie fray. Thank god I didn’t need to be somewhere specific to watch Anthony Rizzo sing and twerk on SNL, though. That just added to the buckets of tears with some laughing tears. Now if I could only I could trade places with Rizzo’s girlfriend…

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Forget the haters ’cause somebody loves ya

So, last night I was the saddest I have been awhile. I am the type of person that is extremely invested in my sports teams (the Cubs are just a constant heartbreak that I have grown numb to), so I will spiral into sadness when they perform poorly and lose. It doesn’t hurt that I am a Tiger’s Lair coordinator, so it is literally my job to be spirited and put my heart and soul into loving my Tigers.

Last night, my Mizzou Tigers lost in double overtime to the South Carolina Gamecocks (insert phallic joke here). It was a heartbreaking Homecoming game to say the very least. The “ping” of the final field goal off the left upright is still ringing in my mind, but don’t you dare expect me to start badmouthing Andrew Baggett, our kicker.

According to the internet, my sentiment is an anomaly. Many people took to Twitter to beat on Baggett after the game. Sure, there were people, like many of my friends and fellow Tiger’s Lair coordinators, that tweeted their support of Baggett and the team as we head into taking on Tennessee this upcoming Saturday at 6:00. But, the pure hatred and disrespect that I saw Mizzou Nation giving one of their own pissed me off, for lack of better words.

At Mizzou, we pride ourselves in our rather cheesy motto of “One Mizzou.” Now, how diversity on campus ties into that is a whole other beast to tackle at a different time, but when it comes down to it, it means that we are all in this together. We are all at Mizzou to learn, celebrate our traditions and triumphs and help pick each other up from our losses and missteps. We have been through our rough entry to the SEC last year and still came back, roaring for more. We were there as Baggett grew and developed as new kicker last year. We started as unranked, cheered our team into the 25 spot, freaked out when we hit 14th and were absolutely baffled and excited when we became number 5.

Now we sit at the number 10 spot, 7-1 and still top of the SEC East. These are all things to be proud of. Think of all these things (and the fact that our volleyball team is 25-0 and 9-0 in SEC play. Wow, just wow!) as our coaches and players push into next week to come back better and stronger. Also, remember your privilege as a fan. You get to sit back and watch through all the good and bad. You don’t live it the same way as the players. They have to deal with not only the fans reactions but themselves. As former athlete myself, I know that myself could be my worst enemy and my biggest ally. I pushed myself to do everything for my team but would beat myself up when I thought I messed up the play or didn’t help them enough. Baggett has to deal with the criticism from supposed loyal fans and also deal with whatever emotions have stricken him. So, you may think that it is hard time for you getting over the loss but multiple that at least 1,000 times over (I don’t want to get too hyperbolical) and that is how the players and Baggett feel.

So, let’s stop the hating and refer to Miley Cyrus’s lyrics (whom I will be taking the persona of this week for Halloween) that title this post and go into this upcoming week ready to be One Mizzou; fans and players together to come back and beat Tennessee.

From one Mizzou obsessed and Truman the Tiger infatuated fan to the rest of Mizzou nation: MIZ!