}

Friday, November 04, 2016

Harry, they did it


The video above is an ad, and one that will have a great deal of popularity among fans of the Chicago Cubs. It should be popular: It’s very well done.

The video begins with old video footage of legendary Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Caray, then switches to modern video, especially of Game 7 of the World Series yesterday, layering archival audio on top to make it seem as if Caray was calling the game. It was a pretty awesome idea—kudos to the creative who came up with it (and for keeping the sponsor’s presence to a few product placements here and there).

Caray died in 1998, nearly two decades ago, but believed to the end that one day the Cubs would win the World Series. He was a symbol of the long wait: Ever optimistic, but having to endure years of disappointment. And that’s why the video works so well: Cubs fans have been waiting a long time—generations, as I said yesterday. The ad successfully uses Caray as the symbolic focal point for the expectation, the stress of that final game, and the sheer joy at the win. More than a few Chicago Cubs fans may, like me, have had some unexpected water in their eyes when watching the ad.

Like a lot of fans, last night I was thinking about all the Cub greats of the past, especially those who didn’t live to see the Cubs finally win. I thought about Harry, and also his predecessor, the voice of the Cubs in my childhood, Jack Brickhouse. They were kind of missing from the celebrations, though they were in the thoughts of a lot Cubs fans. This ad kind of balanced things out, I think, linking the past and the present.

Still, this is all about a sports team’s victory. Anyone who’s ever backed a sports team has probably experienced the joy of their team being triumphant. I’ve experienced that many times: The Chicago Bears, the Chicago Bulls, and even the Chicago White Sox (the last one because, Chicago…). And, of course, there’s also been the New Zealand All Blacks.

However, as far as I know, no living Cubs fan has ever experienced the team winning the World Series. Yes, it’s just a game, and professional sports is big business with little connection to the realities of ordinary people’s lives. But not everything in life has to be Deep and Meaningful, and not everything has to be serious or have a bigger purpose. Some things transcend all of that, and sport can, for some, be one of those things.

So, however irrational it may seem, and even though there are so many very serious and very important problems and issues that this win won’t fix, we Cubs fans are nevertheless filled with absolute joy right now, and we deserve to be.

I won’t raise a Bud in celebration, but I appreciate them for having made a nice video. I’ll celebrate in some other way—then get back to those very important problems and issues.

Just not today.

Because, Harry, they did it.

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