EDS NOTE - As we welcome Jimi X back to The Post
this week, we warn readers that there will be scant
mention of Pennsylvania. He is too racked with
emotions, suffering from the agony of being a Chicago
Douglas Adams describes in
detail the secret in learning to fly in his
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
There is an art... or rather a knack
to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw
yourself at the ground and miss... The first part is
easy. All it requires is simply the ability to throw
yourself forward with all your weight, and the
willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt. That
is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground.
Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are
really trying properly, the likelihood is that they
will fail to miss it fairly hard.
And secondly, once you've managed to miss the
ground, Douglas describes what comes next:
Ignore all considerations of your
own weight and simply let yourself waft higher. Do not
listen to what anybody says to you at this point
because they are unlikely to say anything helpful.
They are most likely to say something along the lines
of, 'Good God, you can't possibly be flying!' It is
vitally important not to believe them or they will
suddenly be right... the trick usually lies in not
thinking too hard about whatever you want to do, but
just allowing it to happen as if it was going to
That's actually a pretty good metaphor for what
happened to my beloved Chicago Cubs this past
The first part is a great way for all of us to
live. To throw ourselves into our tasks with reckless
abandon, not even thinking about failure or
consequences is a great way to go about things every
day. It's also the way the Cubs had approached this
Their new manager Dusty Baker didn't care about the
Cubs' history of failure and futility. He had them
playing every game as if it would be their last,
throwing themselves into every play with the
willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt. And
it paid off.
In the final weekend of the season playing against
the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Cubs accidentally missed
the ground and flew into the postseason for the first
time since 19981. And then they won a five-game
playoff series against the best team in the
Then it happened.
On Tuesday, 15 October, with a three-run lead and
only five outs standing between them and their first
trip to the World Series since 1945, somebody noticed
that they were flying.
A fan sitting along the left field line reached up
and caught a foul ball that Cubs left fielder Moises
Alou had a chance to catch2. Alou's
extreme reaction drew attention to the fact that the
Cubs were flying toward the World Series and they went
into a freefall.
The Cubs' shortstop (who only committed 10 fielding
errors all season) misplayed a ball that he would
have handled cleanly under any other circumstance and
the Cubs' starting pitcher (who had an outstanding
season) suddenly was unable to record an out.
Eight runs scored in the inning. And the Cubs
eventually lost the game.
On Wednesday night, the deciding game in the
seven-game National League Championship Series was
and the Cubs lost again.
They were brought back down to earth after a
tremendous year. The baseball season is over for Cubs
who have the whole winter to relive the agony that goes along with being
a fan of one of the most unfortunate teams in the
history of Major League Baseball.
also have made the playoffs in 1969, 1984 and
suggests that a home fan should always allow the
home team's player the opportunity to catch a ball
that is heading into the seats.