Cubs fan drives 650 miles to listen to Game 7 at his father's grave
It’s an exciting and joyful Thursday for Chicago Cubs fans. Their team is World Series champions! But for some, it’s bittersweet because when your team makes you wait 108 years between World Series victories, there will be friends and family who pass on without ever having seen that promised land.
[Championship gear: Get Chicago Cubs World Series merchandise]
Wayne Williams’ father is one of those Cubs fans. His name was also Wayne, and he died in 1980. Wayne the younger spent all of Wednesday in a car, driving 650 miles from his home in North Carolina to a very important event. But he wasn’t driving to Wrigley Field. His destination was Greenwood Forest Lawn Cemetery in Greenwood, Indiana, because Wayne had a promise to keep.
Before his father died, the father and son made a promise to each other, and Wayne told WTHR in Indiana all about it.
“I talked it out with my boys forever. I let them know that I told my dad – we had a pact. When the Cubs – not if, when – the Cubs got into the World Series, we would make sure we listen to the games together,” Williams said.
And that’s why Wayne was driving to a cemetery in Indiana. He was going to listen to the game with his dad one way or another. Armed with a folding chair, a flashlight, a W flag, and his phone, Wayne thankfully found the cemetery gate open. (Nobody wants to read a version of this story where Wayne got arrested for climbing over a fence.) So he set up shop at his father’s grave and listened to the game.
Wayne’s father was a Navy veteran who served in World War II, and a loyal Cubs fan. In fact, Wayne told WTHR that he thinks the Navy was responsible for his father’s Cubs fandom.
“I think it was because when he was at boot camp at Great Lakes. He probably went to some games, because Wrigley’s brought the guys out there for these things and it was the closest thing to big-time baseball he’d ever seen,” Williams said.
When the game was over and the final out gotten, Wayne flew the W flag where his father was laid to rest. He had kept his promise.
Wayne’s not alone in his quest to share this event with deceased family members. Because sports fandom is often passed down within families, millions of Cubs fans are thinking about the people who made them fans who may no longer be with them. That’s why this memorial on one of the brick walls outside Wrigley Field makes so much sense.
Wrigley Field's makeshift memory wall dedicated to decades of Cubs fans who weren't here to experience a #WorldSeries pic.twitter.com/NO7CTGNQ1n
— newsburrow (@newsburrow) November 2, 2016
It’s an outpouring of love for the family and friends who created and nurtured the Cubs fans of today. They may not have been able to see the Cubs win the World Series, but they made sure someone they loved would get to see it.
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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher