Wildfires and a Broken Curse

How could a seemingly mundane game cause a community to bond?

A Historic Night

While walking down Regent’s residence halls on Nov. 2nd, the night upon which game 7 of the 2016 Major League Baseball World Series, shouts and exclamations of joy and agony could be heard echoing.

Both teams in the tournament, the Cleveland Indians, and the Chicago Cubs, have experienced droughts. Before last night’s game, the Cubs had gone 108 years without winning a World Series, and the Indians, 68.

In this particular game, the last of a heavily contested tournament, each team put out what seemed to be their best, with the Cubs etching out a narrow lead that the Indians repeatedly tied. However, in the end, the Cubs, baseball’s prodigal sons, finally stuck it out long enough to take the win. Chicago fans everywhere went ballistic, and Cleveland’s loyal tribe hung their head, though optimistically looking to next year’s season.

It was, undoubtedly, a historically monumental world series.

The last team from Chicago to win the World Series, the 1908 Cubs with mascot. Photo by George Lawrence.

A Campus Responds

As a Regent student, I can honestly say that baseball isn’t a very popular sport among students on-campus. One would be hard pressed to find people gathering around TV set to watch the great American pastime on a regular basis. Even those who are fans of the sport typically don’t flaunt their team spirit very often. However, this was different.

I saw people from different friend groups, majors, and class levels (freshmen, seniors, etc.) gather together to watch game 7. Diverse collections of individuals piled into one another’s rooms to view a sport that goes relatively unseen the rest of the year.

Why? Perhaps it was because there just enough baseball fans brave enough to come out of their shells and wave their banners to create enough commotion to entice others to join. Or maybe it was because such a monumental game that only comes once every hundred or so years.

Regardless, the community bonding was unprecedented as it was exhilarating. The energy level of entire floors went up, as individuals, many of whom preferred neither team, jumped into the fray that the fall classic somehow creates, working a magic on even the most grudging of Americans. Individuals began gathering and watching, like wildfires bursting out spontaneously.

I spoke to some of the on-campus students to get their take on the game and the gatherings that took place.

Senior Guy Willis stated that “It was an incredibly good game. It was probably the best game of baseball I’ve ever seen… It brought together a lot of people who normally would not have been brought together.”

Commons resident Sam Morgan also discussed his experience with the game. He talked about being situated in a room full of Indians fans directly above a room of Cubs fans. “When the Indians would do something good, we would jump on the floor. When the Cubs did something good, we’d hear pounding coming from the floor [below us]. It was rather tumultuous.”

At the end of the night, save for a few die-hard Cleveland fans, all seemed as though they had a great time, laughing and cheering on two of Baseball’s most notorious teams.

Philip Reynolds is the senior editor of the Daily Runner.