The first thing most Cubs fans, and baseball people, would like to tell you this morning is this: Cubs fans! Relax! Take it easy! It's just one game!
I am a Cubs fan. And to them I say: Sorry, no can do. I'm freaked out. I admit it.
This is the old trope about Cubs fans. You've heard it. Cubs fans are fickle, or if not fickle, are almost compulsive in their appetite for self-inflicted destruction. We tepidly root for success and abandon it at the slightest sign of peril. We, like those mythical Red Sox fans of yore (remember when Red Sox fans were pitiable?) care just as much about our mythical legacy of loserdom as we do about the possibility of erasing it. So cheery throughout the summer; but when fall comes, so does the neurosis.
I'm here to tell you that while at least half of that is utter garbage, at least for most of us, some of it is true. I feel it already, and you do too. That pinch you got when Ryan Dempster started walking all those Dodgers last night. The fear at James Loney's grand slam. The sheer terror (and, I must admit, awe) of Manny Ramirez's casual 450-foot home run. It's all there. The sinking, head-in-hands feeling when the Cubs sheepishly ended the ninth with nary a runner on base. It's all there.
I can't shake it. To use a groaner of an analogy, it's like being on a date. (I warned you.) You know that to act in your best interest you would sit across from your date, thinking positive thoughts, rooting for the best, acknowledging the possibility of the worst, but handling it in a balanced way. Think. Laugh. Be cool. It's better to be cool. The shame is no matter how often you tell yourself this, your hands still get sweaty, you still say things you can't really believe. You press too hard too fast and, of course, things go awry.
Cubs fans -- we need to be cool. Right. If only that were possible.