Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS -

day’s big down­town pa­rade, there was a bit of con­fu­sion on just how to pro­ceed.

Af­ter all, 108 years of fall­ing short is a long time.

“That just dawned on me yes­ter­day that Chicago’s not go­ing to have that rep­u­ta­tion any­more of lov­able losers,” said Peggy Her­ring­ton, 49, of Chicago. “We’re not go­ing to fall back on that and think about the goats or any­thing.”

She and oth­ers were just fine with that.

“You get all the ridicule from your friends — ‘lov­able losers,’ ‘they al­ways blow it, I know they’re gonna blow this,”’ said Michael McNeela, a 66-yearold Chicago re­tiree who has

rooted for the Cubs since he was 11. “And they have to eat their words . ... I got a (cham­pi­onship) hat now and they’re go­ing to see it and they have to shut up.”

The story of the Cubs, like so many teams (in­clud­ing Cleveland), is filled with sad­ness and what ifs. It’s just that the Cubs have al­ways seemed to come up empty in the most puz­zling ways. The Au­gust col­lapse in 1969, which in­cluded a black cat on the field at one point, and of course the 2003 post­sea­son when fate and a fan named Steve Bart­man stepped in and sud­denly a trip to the Se­ries was gone. But those mile­stones will fade now, along with the fa­bled curse of the billy goat, lev­eled in 1945 — the last time the Cubs reached the Fall Clas­sic.

“I think what this does for the iden­tity of the Cubs

fan is maybe they will have to deal with less of that tired old trope of the goat, the black cat,” said Lin Brehmer, a de­voted fan and lo­cal ra­dio host. “That’s all in the past now. You can for­get that part of our nar­ra­tive.”

There is a new story for Cubs Na­tion and fans were ea­ger to share it with each other. Thou­sands cel­e­brated into the night in the streets of Wrigleyville and many blearyeyed faces were seen on the morn­ing com­mute as a new era dawned in Chicago. The Cubs re­turned to a hero’s wel­come in the wee hours, with first base­man An­thony Rizzo cheered at Wrigley Field as he held the World Se­ries tro­phy aloft.

Many found ways to share the joy with loved one who did not live long enough to see it for them­selves,

spelling out their mem­o­ries in chalk on the brick walls of the ball­park. Among them was Mike Comp­ton, 59, of sub­ur­ban Ar­ling­ton Heights.

“He passed away in Jan­uary, was 91 years old,” Comp­ton said of his father. “I had to come down and put his name on the brick.”

Oth­ers who poured out of tav­erns near Wrigley when the game was over to shout, sing, cry, hug and take pho­tographs also took a few sec­onds early Thurs­day to touch stat­ues of Cubs greats Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, Billy Wil­liams and broad­caster Harry Caray. It was an easy way to share the event with whose long ca­reers with the Cubs came and went with­out even a trip to the Se­ries.

“It is sad for past gen­er­a­tions that missed it all to­gether,” said Judy Pareti,

who came from New York to stand out­side the Mur­phy’s Bleach­ers tav­ern, which is in a build­ing across the street from Wrigley . Her grand­fa­ther started the busi­ness that pre­ceded Mur­phy’s called Ernie’s Bleach­ers Tav­ern.

“My great un­cle went to ev­ery game with a score­card and he died a few years ago,” she said. “He just missed all of this.”

She added: “It is sad we are never go­ing to see them win for the first time ever again. We lost that.”

Of course, the Cubs didn’t make it easy. A seven-game se­ries is al­ways tense and the Cubs blew a 5-1 lead in the fi­nale Wed­nes­day night. When the In­di­ans tied things up in the eighth in­ning, many feared yet an­other dev­as­tat­ing chap­ter in the long his­tory of Cubs heart­break

was on the way.

“When they tied it up it felt like it was over, they (the Cubs) had lost,” said Mike Dil­lon, a bank­ing ex­ec­u­tive who drove to a tav­ern just out­side Wrigley to be among other fans . “I couldn’t be­lieve they won and even go­ing home I had to turn on the news chan­nels to make sure it ac­tu­ally hap­pened.”

In the end, be­tween 11:46 p.m. and 11:47 p.m. Cen­tral time, he and oth­ers went from be­ing the long­est-suf­fer­ing fans in Amer­i­can sports to fans of the best team in base­ball.

“It showed the fight, the grit, the up-and-down, the his­tory of the team, the fans and the city,” said Donna Dre­peau, a 50-yearold artist. “It had to be that way, it couldn’t come easy. That team showed Chicago what we are.”

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