Don’t Look Behind You

Lois Duncan wrote many horror novels in her day aimed at late grade school and early high school students. I read many of these for class or other reasons. Her most famous work was adapted into a movie starring Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellar entitled “I Know What You Did last Summer.” Another one of her horror stories is entitled “Don’t Look Behind You,” and I do not think there is any better advice for our beloved Cubs or their fans.

The future is in front of us. The past can only hold us back. Some of the best advice I ever received from my dad regarded not looking back. He said the second you slow down and worry about the person behind you is the moment they fly by you.

The Cubs control their own destiny. Win four games and the Division is theirs no matter what. There is no need to watch the scoreboard anymore. Milwaukee cannot affect the Cubs. However, the Marlins and Reds sure can. Sure a Brewers loss draws the Cubs closer to the NLDS, but they can earn it themselves. I would love to spend the weekend celebrating a Cubs title and Brian Griese’s first start as a Bear, but unfortunately it may take longer for both.

The Cubs are on a roll having won 11 of their last 15 games. It is simple. Keep it up. The last two weeks reminded me of June and July and helped rebuild the confidence I once had. Do I think the Brewers will run the table, no. But do I think the Cubs need to win at least 3 of the remaining 5 games, most definitely. What good can looking behind us bring? If we are going to play into October we want to ride in on a high note, right? The Cubs stumbled to the finish line in 1998, squeaked out a play-in game victory and immediately became an afterthought. None of us want that to happen again.

I could sit here and regurgitate memory after memory of slowing down and looking back. It is never good. It never works. What sports analogy do you want me to use? We all remember when Russ Wheeler got too consumed with Cole Trickle in Days of Thunder and Tom Cruise’s character flew past him for the Daytona 500 victory. Oh, you want real world example? Well….1969. Fine, there, I said it, destroy me now.

No good can possibly come from worrying about something you cannot control. There is a simple prayer that goes something like this:

“Please give the power to control those things I can and the ability to accept those I cannot.”

As fans we are ultimately powerless, but the players are not. And that is the one reason I am confident. Lou is a battle-tested and proven World Series winning manager. His team is focused on the task at hand. They are ready for the Marlins and the Reds instead of what is happening in Milwaukee. As fans we can look at Milwaukee’s pitching matchups and wish the Brewers would face Peavy at some point. We can hope Pujols destroys Cordero they way he did to Lidge a few years back. We can pray Fielder pulls a Leon Durham, but the players cannot. They must keep their eyes on the proverbial prize and keep moving forward.

If you expect the Cubs to do anything in the post-season then they cannot stumble at the finish line. Winning four or five of six is the best way to finish the season. It is the best way to enter the playoffs and provides a great deal of confidence for a team and its city.

I am heading to Milwaukee Friday morning for a wedding that evening. When I begin my 90 mile journey home down the Edens on Saturday morning I hope the Division issue is no longer in doubt. I want to walk in to Mars Cheese Castle off of 94 and be the only one in that small Wisconsin store buying cheese in celebration instead of in mourning. I want to be surrounded by hundreds hoping to find a morsel of hope in a morsel of cheese.

I want to see throngs of people searching for a pint of hope in a pint of beer.

I like beer and cheese, but I love Chicago. And for once I want my favorite city to be known for something more than food and drink. For once I want it to be known as the hometown of the Chicago Cubs, World Series Champions.

And if not, well, I will take deep dish pizza over string cheese any day of the week.

Stay Classy Cubs Fans

Quote of the Day

"Baseball, just a game as simple as a ball and a bat. Yet, as complex as the American spirit it symbolizes." - Ernie Harwell
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