Cubs mania — as in M.A.N.I.A. — is sweeping the Midwest if not the whole country. Yesterday I watched some of the parade and rally on television and was amazed by the throngs of people. The television commentators estimated (how, I have no idea) that six million people lined the parade route. Metra (the public transportation) expected it to be its busiest day ever and pressed all of its trains and buses into service.

Clearly, those watching on television had a far superior view than anyone there in person. Even those lucky to make it into Grant Park couldn’t possibly see except by watching the large screens in the area, and those along the parade route were packed in so tightly that I doubt they saw much of anything.

And yet they came. Enduring delays in transportation, cramped conditions and remote views, these people can still say they were THERE. It was a communal experience.

It is the one thing that sports does best — bring people together. Cheering for the same team. Feeling a part of something larger than themselves. Experiencing emotion as a shared experience. Belonging.

Whether you are a Cubs fan always or just for today, take a moment to grasp how sports can transcend differences. The Republicans and Democrats were cheering next to each other at this rally. Old and young. White Sox fans who became Cubs fans at least for this week.

The Cubs showed people what six million people have in common. We need to do more to focus on those commonalities to unite as a nation beyond sports. Do your part to start flying the American flag, not just the W one.

beth triplett

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