Monday, September 14, 2009

Someday, We WILL Go All the Way

You remember. Last year at about this time the collective emotions of Cubmania were being swept away heavenward by the Pearl-Jammiest Cubs song ever. Eddie Vedder, the consummate celebrity Cubs fan, was commissioned by Ernie Banks (Mr. Cub himself) to write a song about the Cubs. He did, and he released it in what felt like the climactic throes of a 100-year "will they or won't they" love affair with the World Series.

Last September, that song (whether it's called "All the Way," "Someday We'll Go All the Way," or "We'll Go All the Way," I can't be exactly sure) evoked the best of feelings in me. The Cubs had the division wrapped up. The National League looked really bad and the Cubs looked really good. Maybe even 100-win good. I couldn't listen to that song without imagining the celebration of the Cubbie Championship Centennial.

Every time, the scene in my mind is the same. I run out my front door and start screaming. I run all around the neighborhood. I complete the Forrest Gump cross-continental circuit in about 30 minutes, shouting "Yeah!!!!!" for everyone in America to hear. I wind up on a mountain top where a shaft of light shines down on me, kneeling, arms extended toward the manifest glory . . . crying and covered in beer.

When that song was playing, that image overtook my brain. It was exquisite bliss. I didn't even feel like an idiot entertaining the thought of the Cubs winning it all. It felt almost real.

But, as you also remember quite well, that dream was shattered in the three ugliest baseball games ever played.

If your experience has been at all like mine, it's been hard to hear that song ever since. Not too many Cubs fans I know have that song on repeat since October 2008. Nobody was writing bonus stanzas about Milton Bradley and the Aarons Heilman and Miles during Spring Training. The pain was too fresh. The cut was too deep.

But I want to encourage you to give that song a fresh listen. When we wanted to feel hopeful last year, Eddie's ode to Cubdom was up to the task. Let me tell you, it can be equally mournful as the funeral dirge to this year's hopes. It has actually helped me grieve a little better and breathe a little easier.

Take a listen. Let the tears flow. The healing can't begin until the grieving is complete. There you go.

All the Way
Eddie Vedder

Don't let anyone say that it's just a game
For I've seen other teams and it's never the same
When you're born in Chicago you're blessed and you're healed
The first time you walk into Wrigley Field
Our heroes wear pinstripes
Heroes in blue
Give us the chance to feel like heroes too
Forever we'll win and if we should lose
We know someday we'll go all the way
Someday we'll go all the way

We are one with the Cubs
With the Cubs we're in love
Yeah, hold our head high as the underdogs
We are not fair-weather but foul-weather fans
We're like brothers in arms in the streets and the stands
There's magic in the ivy and the old scoreboard
The same one I stared at as a kid keeping score
In a world full of greed, I could never want more
Than someday we'll go all the way
Someday we'll go all the way
Someday we'll go all the way
Someday we'll go all the way
Someday we'll go all the way

And here's to the men and the legends we've known
Teaching us faith and giving us hope
United we stand and united we'll fall
Down to our knees the day we win it all

Ernie Banks said "Oh, let's play two"
Or did he mean 200 years
In the same ball park
Our diamond, our jewel
The home of our joy and our tears
Keeping traditions and wishes made new
A place where our grandfathers, fathers they grew
A spiritual feeling if I ever knew
And if you ain't been I am sorry for you
And when the day comes with that last winning run
And I'm crying and covered in beer
I'll look to the sky and know I was right
To think someday we'll go all the way
Someday we'll go all the way . . .
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