Friday, November 4, 2016


For those who may not be aware, I'm a Chicago Cubs fan.  I converted to Cubbie-ism at the age of 12 in 1982. When asked why a Cincinnati girl jumped ship to the Cubs I always say it was for two reasons.  1) I thought little cubbie bears were cute.  2)  I had a wild crush on the Cubs catcher, Jody Davis.  Yes, I was at that age, straddling childhood and those teenage years.  And I've lived and died with the team ever since.

Handmade Cubs rosary
We had some good teams.  Some very good teams.  And we never made it to the World Series.  Not since 1945.  And we hadn't won one since 1908.  That's a long time, my friends.  My son, who likes to believe in the paranormal (whether he really does or not) blamed the Curse of the Billy Goat.  For the non-baseball fan, I'll give you a brief version of the story.  Game four of the 1945 World Series, Billy Goat Tavern owner William Sianis brought Murphy the goat to the game.  Folks complained about his odor (the goat, not Sianis) and Murphy was asked to leave.  A furious Sianis said something along the lines of, "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more."  There's a debate whether this meant the Cubs wouldn't win the World Series again or the Pennant again, but either way we had a long, long drought.

After witnessing my angst when the Cubs reached the postseason in 2015, my sister, Nancy, created for me an "Honor the Goat" kit as a Christmas present.  The text of the parchment included read, in part, "Although some believe that heaping various forms of abuse on goats in general is a path to breaking the curse, this document suggests that the best way to disable the curse is to lift Murphy the Goat to the highest level of esteem."  It then went on to direct me to appeal to Murphy's majesty and power and to offer him a tribute before each game by putting a coin on the shelf beneath Murphy's statue on a hand-crafted shrine.  The kit also included a stuffed Curse Breaker goat and a handmade Cubs rosary.

Every single game of the season I put a coin in Murphy's shrine and said, "Oh, beloved goat, I honor you and humbly ask for a Cubs win in today's game."  When I went on vacation with my sister and kids, I texted my husband each day asking if he'd "fed the goat."  I continued through the National League Division Series (which we won) and the National League Championship Series (which we won).  After getting our first Pennant in 71 years, I declared the curse broken, even though some thought we had to win the World Series for this to happen.  In gratitude to Murphy and all goats, I made a $71 donation to the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary for the care of one of their goats.

Sianis with Murphy the goat
Minor panic might have set in at that point.  We were so close to that World Series win.  Towards the end of the Championship Series, I started putting dollar bills in Murphy's shrine.  Each subsequent game I put in a dollar more than the game before.  I began praying that Cubs rosary every day, looking up a few prayers online because, I'm sure much to the horror of  the nuns who taught me, I'd forgotten what prayers went on some of those beads at the beginning.  I rarely prayed an entire rosary as a kid.  I've gotten into using mala beads this year and saying mantras on them as a form of meditation.  I took to chanting an entire strand of mala beads twice a day, using the mantra to Ganesha for overcoming obstacles.  For good measure I did the Novena to St. Therese, the Little Flower.  You say the prayer every day for five days and then are supposed to be "blessed" with a rose appearing to you.  I promptly forgot about this last part until one day my daughter walked into the kitchen and on the back of her shirt was this big rose.  She had just gotten her t-shirt for being part of the crew on the school's production of Beauty and the Beast and was wearing it for the first time.  Hmmmmmm....

For those who haven't had the t.v. on the last few days, I will break the news that the Cubs won the World Series!  It was the most agonizing October of my entire life and that last game on November 2 almost killed me.  Not only did the score go back and forth, but the Indians came back to tie it in the bottom of the 8th against our ace closer.  I was hysterical, on the floor, punching things, crying and wailing.  Then, it started to rain.  And they rolled a damn tarp out onto the field and I thought, "I'm going to have a genuine nervous breakdown right here on my family room floor.  I'm seriously going to lose my mind while wearing plastic baseball earrings."  The game started after 15 minutes and, miraculously, we scored two runs in the top of the 10th.  Just to torture Cubs fans everywhere, the Indians got one of those runs back in the bottom of the 10th, but we held on to win our first World Series in 108 years!  Then I collapsed on the floor again, hysterical and crying and wailing...  Yes, after ordering five tons of World Series merchandise I made another donation to Woodstock Farm Sanctuary, this time for $108.  And all the money collected from the goat shrine over the season will go to the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, formed by the Cubs first baseman to support kids with cancer.

So, my sister takes credit for breaking the Cubs curse.  And you know what?  I'll gladly give her the credit.  I still don't believe in curses, but I can't argue with success.  I might also mention that a strand of mala beads, like I used for the World Series, has 108 beads.  A baseball has 108 stitches.  And the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years.  Hmmmm...