So the Chicago Cubs have won the World Series. We can at last stop hearing about the curse of the billy goat and the 108-year drought for the fans of that storied baseball team. And I’m happy for them, don’t get me wrong. It’d be awfully tough to be a fan of a team that doesn’t have any fans living from the last time they won!
I would’ve been okay with the Cleveland Indians winning as well, since their World Series drought is quite long too, 68 seasons now. But there are also those franchises who have never won a World Series in team history. These include the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, San Diego Padres, Washington Nationals (who started as the Montreal Expos), and Seattle Mariners. I left off recent expansion teams, but you get the point. All of these fan bases have waited and waited with no return.
Our Minnesota Twins are actually 15th on the list of longest period since their last world championship, now 25 years and counting. That’s right, it’s been 25 years since Kent Hrbek used a professional wrestling move to get a crucial out, Kirby Puckett put the team on his back in Game 6, Jack Morris refused to stop pitching, and Gene Larkin sent the Metrodome into delirium in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 7.
I was a senior in high school at the time. I look back on that and think, “Wow! That’s 25 years ago!” But it really doesn’t seem that long, at least when I’m thinking in a sports context. It seems like a recent memory when I think of my dad and I walking through protestors at Game 1, people who didn’t like the nickname of the Atlanta Braves. That was a precious time, time well spent with my dad at an event that will forever stick in my head as one of my favorite memories.
Now thinking that I was a senior in high school 25 years ago seems quite a bit farther back in time. Why is that? Is it because sports have always been such a central part of who I am? Do other people think things are not as long ago based on their passions? Perhaps you remember concerts you attended as seeming closer in time than they really are. Or maybe it’s family vacations for some of you. Whatever the case, I think that we view history through whatever lens we want and relegate some parts of it to different levels of the bookcase, even if the events happened at about the same time.
What was I doing in October of 1991 in school? I have absolutely no idea. I don’t think I even remember what classes I was taking. I know there was English, I think our social studies class was at least partly current events, my math class was titled Introductory Analysis, science was a physics class, and I know we certainly had a religion class at Cathedral High School in New Ulm. We had an eight-period day at CHS, and I recall having a study hall, but I can’t, for the life of me, remember what those other two classes would have been. And yet I can recite specific plays from particular games of both the playoffs and World Series that year. Huh.
What else was happening 25 years ago? I tried to recall without using Google, and the only thing that popped in my head was the first Gulf War. I wasn’t far off; that conflict ended in February 1991. And yet that, too, seems so long ago as compared to the World Series. The Gulf War was sure an important happening. I remember being concerned as some news stories hinted at the reinstitution of the draft as I was approaching my 18th birthday. But the war itself now seems distant. I suppose for some of you who have lived through other wars, such as the Vietnam War, you look at the Gulf War as very recent based on your historical perspective. Or if you were firmly enmeshed in Vietnam, you might also look at that as still being very much in the forefront of your memory, even compared to later military activities.
When I did look up major events of 1991, far and away the majority dealt with sporting events. If you look deeper, you see that the dissolution of the USSR was begun 25 years ago. Growing up with the ever-present threat of the Soviet Union, that was pretty huge. Jeffrey Dahmer, mass murderer, was arrested in 1991, as was Mike Tyson for allegedly raping a woman. Plus, the Internet was available on one million computers. Just think about that – 25 years ago, most of us didn’t know what the Internet was, but now it’s so ubiquitous that it seems we’ve had it forever.
I hope it’s not another 25 years before the Twins can win the World Series again. It’ll probably take some time, but anything’s possible! And I sure hope it’s not another 108 years before the Chicago Cubs win again, though if our Twins beat them to the punch, I’d be okay with that.
Word of the Week: This week’s word is trumpery, which means something that is showy but worthless, as in, “Many famous musicians from 1991 were good examples of trumpery.” Impress your friends and confuse your enemies!