Curses don’t live forever: All sports fans can revel in Chicago Cubs’ drought-expunging World Series victory

“We killed the curse,’’ Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero roared to USA Today columnist Bob Nightingale in the wee hours of Thursday morning — and the words were true. The curse was over — the curse was dead — put to rest by an 8-7 win over after its 108-year reign of infamy over Chicago baseball. The Cubs players into the night while Cubs fans, who, for 108 years, were like some diaspora of the -dispossessed, celebrated in their knowing that when the sun rose Thursday morning, baseball life in their city had been changed for good.


“It’s done,” Montero had said. “It’s over. I can’t it.”

Ezra Shaw / Getty Images
Ezra Shaw / Getty ImagesChicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant leaps in the air after the final out of Game 7 of on Nov. 2.

It is hard to believe, because, as much as anything, the Chicago Cubs are a story not just about this team and a World championship finally won, but about every team that came before it — and the sports fans who believed in them.

Losing, you see, among the drought-ridden and curse-afflicted Cub supporters had evolved, over the decades, into a badge of belonging. A sign — just as sure and clear as any old Ryne Sandberg or Andre Dawson or Mordecai (Three Finger) Brown Cubs jersey worn with pride by spectators at Chicago’s — that Joe and Jill Cubs Fan would stand by the Cubbies, knowing full well that, for over a century, their team would somehow find a way to blow it.

Along the way, failure became wreathed in superstition. The curse. The drought wasn’t yet 40 years old when William , owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, was ejected (along with his goat) from Wrigley Field during Game 4 of the 1945 World Series. left, but not before uttering Chicago sports most famous parting words: “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.”

Billy goats would beget bad trades — like future Hall of Famer Lou Brock for future seismic failure Ernie Broglio in 1964 — untimely collapses (see 1969 Cubs), tainted heroes (see Sammy Sosa) and infamous fans (see Steve Bartman). But there was always another year, another reason for hope renewed. And therein lies the true meaning of the long-suffering Chicago Cubs — who suffer no more — for other long-suffering fans of teams in other cities and in other sports: never give up.

Curses can’t live forever.

And fans don’t give up, because being a fan by definition is inherently irrational. It is tribal, these crazy, inside-every-otherwise-normal-individual-beats-the-wild-heart-of-a-potential face painter loyalties to teams that fans have, which are often embedded in the early-life narrative/DNA of innocent and unsuspecting infants.

To use a personal, example related to my own two wee kids: they have been given a Toronto Maple Leafs stuffed animal to cuddle with at night. It is not their fault that their old man is a Leafs fan. And is not my fault that I am a Leafs fan, either, and among legions of similar Toronto fans that weren’t alive when the team last won a Stanley Cup … in 1967.

Jamie Squire / Getty Images
Jamie Squire / Getty ImagesCubs players rush the field after the final out in Game 7 of the World Series on Nov. 2.

My parents remember that year. My Dad remembers that Leafs team. My parents were a young married couple. Now, they are both 76. No Canadian NHL team has won a Cup since the Montreal Canadiens last did in 1993. This is our national curse, our collective shame. Not that we shy away from it once the puck drops on a fresh season and hockey fans head to the rink or plop down in front of the television to watch, to cheer — to hope.

So while Chicagoans are the most invested, most ecstatic, most gloriously thankful of on this glorious November day — day one of the curse officially being over — every sports fan (except those in Cleveland) should revel in this moment.

“It happened Chicago!!!” retired Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood tweeted, well into the wee hours of Thursday morning. It happened, yes it did, after 108 years: the drought is done. But once those final bottles of celebratory champagne have all been drunk and a city’s euphoria is, by January, blanketed over by another Chicago winter, the questions will begin (if they haven’t already) anew: will they do it again next year?

Will they?

About Joe O'Connor