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Students continue World Series celebrations in Chicago

| Monday, November 7, 2016

Minutes after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday, sophomore Kevin Dingens and freshman Ian Waller walked together from Dingens’ home to Wrigley Field. They climbed onto a police barrier and looked out over the crowd, all in Cubs attire, all excited beyond belief.

An estimated 5 million people lined the streets of Chicago for the Cubs’ World Series victory parade, making it the seventh-largest gathering of people in human history.Photo courtesy of Marea Hurson
An estimated 5 million people lined the streets of Chicago for the Cubs’ World Series victory parade, making it the seventh-largest gathering of people in human history.

“There was just heads as far as you could see,” Waller said.

Waller and Dingens had grown up in the Wrigleyville neighborhood, blocks away from the Cubs’ home field. Cubs games dominated the summers — Dingens said he would sell lemonade to Cubs fans passing by, hoping to donate the proceeds to the team.

“I can still fall asleep to the cheers of the game, which was especially what I did when I was younger,” he said. “I would sit on my front porch, and I’d be reading my book … I don’t even know if we had Internet back then, but I wouldn’t have to check the TV or the radio to get the score. We’d know, and I could walk over and look at the marquee in the front, even if I wasn’t [at the game].”

So when it looked like the Cubs could win the Series for the first time in 108 years, Waller and Dingens were thrilled. Waller went to three playoff games, and both went to Game 4. They drove home to watch Game 7 — which took place in Cleveland — and afterwards, the final score 8-7, they joined the throng of thousands, young and old.

“There was this old lady next to me, and I personally thought I was going to get trampled, so I have no idea how she was faring,” he said. “So we put her up on a car to keep her out of harm’s way, and I said, ‘Are you okay? Is everything fine?’ And she was like, ‘Yes, this is like the greatest thing I have ever experienced,’ and I was like, wow. That’s special.”

The celebration continued to Friday morning, when sophomores Marea Hurson and Meaghan Snyder joined the reported 5 million people who attended a parade and rally for the Cubs. Hurson and Snyder are professed New York Mets fans but said they rooted for the Cubs during the Series and decided to go to the rally during the seventh game.

“There was no way we were going to miss the rally celebrating the end of the longest drought in the history of professional sports,” Hurson said.

The 6 a.m. train to Chicago was packed, as were the two bridges leading into Chicago’s Grant Park, where the rally was held. Snyder said a man climbed onto a barrier and started leading cheers between the bridges. In the park, another man had made a model of Wrigley Field out of tinfoil and jokingly said he’d charge people 108 cents to take a picture with it. Cubs players and managers appeared and thanked each other and their fans.

“You just had to go see 108 years — the players, their speeches,” Snyder said. “… Some of them started crying, and you could tell by the 5 million people there that this was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Everyone had been waiting for so long for it.”

Dingens did not attend the rally — and in fact drove home after the game early Thursday morning to take a quiz — but he said the experience of being at Wrigley was unforgettable.

“Just being able to experience that personally and with the people that I was with, and with everyone else — I was giving high fives as I ran down the street on my way to the field, and just everyone who was there in reunion for the Cubs,” Dingens said. “It was something super special.”

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About Emily McConville

Emily McConville is a news writer and photographer for the Observer. She is a senior studying history and Italian with a minor in journalism. She is from Louisville, KY and lives off-campus.

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