In The Bottom Of The Tenth

In The Bottom Of The Tenth

A snapshot into the final inning of Game 7 of the 2016 World Series
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On an unusually mild and profoundly rainy night in early November, a curse of monumental proportions was lifted. This curse was lifted off of the backs of men, women, and children who had waited decades, generations, lifetimes - many of whom waited until their dying breath - to hear a phrase left unsaid for over a century...

November 2, 2016 proved to be a night unlike any other.

As millions of viewers apprehensively sat on the edges of their lumpy, sunken-in sofas, tension grew with every annoying remark Joe Buck uttered. Clammy palms clutched remote controls, chewed fingernail bits were strewn across carpeted floors, and cold beer sat sweating, unconsumed on coffee tables as a 17-minute rain delay ensued, upping the ante of an already high-stakes game.

After having watched nine increasingly intense innings of what was undeniably one of the best World Series Game 7s in years, the floodgates of Heaven opened. And like any other perfectly-timed cinematic masterpiece, it gave a much-needed intermission to the whirlwind of tension on field.

Knowing the game was tied after nine innings - six runs apiece - it was inevitable this game would be heading to extra innings once the rain ceased.

With that knowledge at the forefront of everyone's minds, for 17-minutes, the baseball-viewing world stood still.

Children gripped their parents' hands tightly, the elderly furiously prayed their rosaries, and the people who illegally placed bets on the outcome of the game shook in their ill-fitting chinos.

Much like waiting on test results to see if you really studied hard enough to pass your MCAT, the pressure from waiting for the conclusion of the most intense baseball game ever proved to be nearly unbearable.

As the tarp was finally lifted from the still-soggy ground, a collective sigh of relief - no - a sigh in preparation - echoed throughout the country. God's ears rang from the prayers, threats, promises, and foul language sent His way, and still managed to clear the skies enough to finish the game.

It was now the top of the 10th inning and the Chicago Cubs were at bat.

Like magic, second baseman Ben Zobrist hit a go-ahead double, soon followed by catcher Miguel Montero's RBI single, bringing the Cubs up to an 8-6 lead. With the Cleveland Indians having the last at-bat and a final opportunity to tie - if not win - the game and the World Series as the home team, breaths remained held.

Now, the Indians were at bat. Immediately, outfielder Rajai Davis hit a single, scoring another run for the "tribe".

8 to 7, the scoreboard read.

And with closer Mike Montgomery at the mound, the only thought going through the city of Chicago's mind (and pretty much the entire nation, sans Cleveland) was for Montgomery to finish the game strong and bring the sweet feeling of victory back home.

The Indians' last hope stood at home plate; a jack of all trades, Michael Martinez was up at bat. With two outs and only one chance left, Martinez's bat made contact with the ball...

Suddenly, like magic, this patient, faithful, incomparable group of people who had waited for what seemed like an eternity, bleeding Cubbie blue since the beginning of time FINALLY heard the phrase they had been waiting their whole lives to hear:

THE CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES!!!

And no, it was not a dream.

Cover Image Credit: WGRZ

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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Sports And Religion

Why are so many athletes religious?

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I recently just made it on to the USC Track and Field team, and it is easily the biggest accomplishment I have ever made in my entire life. I worked so hard to physically and mentally prepare to try out for the team, let alone actually make it. I thank God for allowing me to have the chance to be a part of this team, as well as giving me that physical and mental strength required to do so, and I express this whenever someone congratulates me for making the team or even asks if I made it or not. However, I noticed that when I did this, some of the responses were a bit dismissive when I brought religion into the picture. When I said I thank God for it, I would be met with responses like "Yea well even aside from God..." or another response that drew the conversation away from my faith, away from the concept of a god.

In fact, I've noticed that many athletes are religious in some form-- more so collectively than other student bodies aside from religious groups themselves. I thought about why this may be, aside from the obvious answer such as growing up religious at home, because that does not answer the question; many people grew up in a religious household and are not religious themselves. So, I began to think personally. Why do I thank God for my athletic performance? There's a certain level of uncertainty within every sport. All athletes train their hardest to minimize this level of uncertainty, in order to maximize their chances of success. However, you can only train so hard. To me, no matter how hard you train, there's always some type of level of uncertainty to every level of performance: the chances of you getting injured, the chances of you winning your game or race, the chances of the opponent's performance, etc. This is where I think God intervenes, and perhaps other athletes would agree. There have been countless times where I ran well and had absolutely no idea how I did it. Yes, I worked hard to improve my times, but when you are in the moment of a race, or a game, that fades into the background, especially when everyone else has been working just as hard. It's just you, your race (or game), and God. That's it.

I could have not made the team. As a walk-on, there is more pressure for you to perform since the coaches did not seek you out; you sought them out. You are proving your abilities. Thus, I was nervous about my chances of actually making the team, especially considering the fact that the USC track team is arguably the best collegiate track team in the United States. I performed well during my try out and finished all the workouts, however I wasn't as fast as the other girls. In addition, I was 3 minutes late to my last day of tryouts and got chewed out by the coach for it. I was convinced that I blew my chances. And yet, somehow, I made it. I worked so hard for it, yes, but I thank God for keeping my body healthy so I could train to the best of my ability. I thank Him for allowing the coaches to have the time to try me out. I thank Him for allowing them to see my potential. I thank Him for giving me the best high school track coach possible who prepared me mentally and physically, as well as supported me throughout all the highs and all the lows. I thank Him for giving me this chance to continue my track career at the most prestigious collegiate team. My gratitude for all this, is simply infinite.

There is good reason why many athletes are religious; being an athlete requires you to be more than yourself. It requires you to dig deeper, into places that you didn't even think were possible, and really aren't without the belief of a higher power. The belief in a higher power, in whatever form or name that takes, means the belief in infinite possibility. And for an athlete to have that, means nothing can stop them from chasing their dreams.

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