VOL. 131 | NO. 221 | Friday, November 4, 2016
We Need Hits
BY DAN CONAWAY
GOT TO KEEP SWINGING. In the last week, somebody took my iPad and my sunglasses out of my car, the hot water heater crapped out and rained through the ceiling light fixtures, something crawled up inside our dryer vent and died, and somebody lifted my wife’s phone and wallet from her purse. Job called and offered his condolences.
But the Cubs won the pennant, so things are looking up.
In the next week, we’ll elect either a sociopathic, egomaniacal jingoist or a secretive, condescending wonk as president of the United States. It appears that the former will throw an election-challenging and Constitution-threatening tantrum and the latter will finally hang the drapes she’s been measuring for years. King Charles III called and said he knew we’d screw this up.
But Cleveland and the Cubs went to the World Series, so awful can get awesome.
Not so very long ago, Cleveland’s polluted river was on fire and the city conjured up visions of chain link fence and razor wire. The movie “Major League” about the hapless and hopeless Indians was as much documentary as comedy.
Around that time, I was sitting in the back of a late night flight bound for Atlanta to make a connection to Memphis. A flight attendant rounded the corner from the galley and dropped a tray of plastic glasses. As I helped her pick them up, I commented that she looked tired. She said she was, now toward the end of a double shift, but she was looking forward to a long weekend in a fun town at the end of this one. I asked her where. “Cleveland,” she said. “You’re looking forward to a long weekend in Cleveland?” I said, and then repeated, “Cleveland?” “It could be worse,” she said, “It could be Memphis.”
Now Cleveland has the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the reigning NBA Champion Cavaliers and the Indians in the World Series. Now my Cubs – the team that hasn’t had a championship since 1908 or even been to the Series since 1945, the team that blames that on a goat and a curse – made it, and gave a city seemingly under siege something to cheer about. Both cities won this Series, rewarding the faithful and long-suffering and attracting new disciples, giving the rest of us a sign of something hopeful in a dreadful year.
At Progressive Field and Wrigley Field – and right here – maybe we can see the impossible green of the grass again. Maybe we can overcome being so caught up in miseries of the moment that we no longer feel the love of the place, the warmth of our shared experience. Maybe while we’re working on errors we can celebrate hits.
We should be like the late, great Ernie Banks – the Hall Of Fame Cubs shortstop who never played in a single World Series – who used to say after any game in his city, win or lose, “Let’s play two.”
I’m a Memphian, and we need to keep swinging for the fences.
Dan Conaway, a communication strategist and author of “I’m a Memphian,” can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.