Picture 40 cherubs crammed into one shaking ‘L’ car. Some are sitting, some just trying to find room where they can stant. Although they come from states across the country and places around the world, an overwhelming sea of blue fills the car.
They’re all sweating through those blue shirts, but everyone’s talking, laughing and getting ready for a fun day at Wrigley Field. Most have never been to Wrigley before, but they’ve heard from their friends about the history of it, how special it is to Chicago. Even non-sports fans can appreciate it.
The cherubs stare eagerly out the train’s windows, waiting for a glimpse of the stadium exterior. When the car doors slide open, the cherub mob tumbles out. Friends glance around and lock eyes, making sure nobody is left behind. Upon exiting the train, the crowd makes its way down the steps and out the glass doors of the ‘L’ train station.
Shirt and snack vendors line the pavement, shouting exclusive “once-in-a-lifetime” deals. Their offers add to the noise of the steadily growing tumult outside Wrigley. Cherubs blend into the crowd of Chicagoans, checking for tickets, taking a quick photo or simply stopping to marvel at the historic significance of the field.
Everyone climbs the concrete concourse steps. Hamstrings burning from the trek, cherubs file into their seats and look down. The green of the grass frames the figures of the players warming up below a slightly overcast sky. Each color is vibrant and pure, from the white of the Cubs’ uniforms to the dark green of the classic scoreboard in center field.
Although the national anthem is about to be sung, there is one thing on the forefront of every cherub’s mind: food. Back down they descend, assimilating themselves into the long lines in front of each vending stand.
Finally, they return to their seats, equipped with baskets of french fries and chicken tenders, along with the occasional soft serve ice cream in a miniature Cubs helmet.
Now it’s time for the first pitch. The entire stadium applauds loudly as Kyle Hendricks fires in the first strike of the game. Certain rowdy fans behind the cherubs don’t stop being loud. But that’s just what Cubs fans are like.
Not that the cherubs aren’t loud. As first baseman Anthony Rizzo crushes a home run to right field, they jump, cheer and reach to high five the people around them.
But as the day wears on, the game ceases to be the main focus for many. Conversations spark among people who haven’t talked much to each other at this point in the program. It becomes a cherub bonding experience. Groups head off to take pictures, wanting to get a photo with as many people as possible because they don’t want to forget their time at the program.
And then the day gets musical. During the seventh inning stretch, everyone gets up, links arms and sings “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” After Chicago secures a 6-2 win, the cherubs stay behind for a few minutes to join in the classic “Go Cubs Go” that follows each Cubs victory.
Forty smiling, even sweatier cherubs gather their newly purchased hats and shirts and head back to the ‘L.’ Despite sunburn and exhaustion, people cannot stop conversing among the deafening crowds. They talk excitedly about the day’s events while also planning for tomorrow’s deadlines.
They file into the train stop and lean against railings or poles to rest their feet. As sleepy chatter echoes in the station, the ‘L’ train slowly rumbles in to take the cherubs home.