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Column: On the Chicago Cubs, Wildcat football and a show about a cartoon horse

The return to Wrigley has a significant meaning for some.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Chicago Cubs David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: This may be a bit different than what you’re used to seeing on Inside NU. As a lifelong Cubs fan who will play witness to the ‘Cats playing at Wrigley tomorrow, I felt something like this was just. I hope you enjoy this bit of commentary and can appreciate the attempt at trying something new. This article is also free of spoilers about a particular show, so no need to worry about that.

“Bojack Horseman” is a Netflix original show about a cartoon horse.

It appears I may have lost some of you. Let’s try that again.

“Bojack Horseman” is a Netflix original show about a cartoon horse that’s one of the most thought-provoking commentaries on depression, anxiety, addiction and Hollywood stardom that I’ve ever had the pleasure of consuming. It’s one of the few shows I’ve seen that isn’t afraid to touch on these topics, and it’s done so masterfully.

That’s not the point of this column, though. While I could go on for quite some time about my affinity for “Bojack Horseman,” the point of bringing this all up is to reference the last episode of the series. In one particular scene, two characters are standing on a beach, discussing their worries about the future. One of them, known for his lack of deep thought, provides the other with some reassurance, only for his point to fall apart seconds later. When confronted about how his point fell apart so easily, he laughs it off, and replies with just a few simple words.

“Oh well! It was nice while it lasted, right?”

Perhaps this is the attitude that needs to be taken when confronting the current reality of both Northwestern football and the Chicago Cubs.

I’ve said it before in posts on this site: I’m an Evanston native. My childhood heroes growing up consisted of the likes of guys such as Tyrell Sutton, Corey Wootton, Derrek Lee and Carlos Zambrano. While I wasn’t at Wrigley for the one endzone fiasco of 2010, I remember watching all of its terrible events unfold live on TV. Plenty of you reading this have been around both teams for far longer than I, but that doesn’t change the fact that I was practically born repping purple hair and a Cubby Bear on my chest.

Now we stand just one day away from the Wildcats returning to the Friendly Confines. While I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of football being played in stadiums not designed for football — mainly for nerdy logistical reasons — I was ecstatic when this game was announced. It signified my two favorite sports teams becoming one, in a sense.

Of course, that was before the ‘Cats plummeted to 3-7 and put up one of their worst defensive displays in the past 15 years. We’ve all, in one way or another, come to grips with the fact that this year’s version of Northwestern football is not a good one. It is also possible that these troubles extend beyond 2021. That is no hyperbole. While the excitement for the reincarnation of the Wildcat Classic remains, it’s a bit toned down from the levels at which it was before the season began.

For those of us who are Cubs fans, we all collectively felt some disappointment and sadness when the core of Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Javy Baez dissolved in an instant this past season. There was some shock with how quickly the fire sale took place, but almost everyone expected something of that nature to happen. While some stellar pieces were acquired at the trade deadline, no one can really predict when the Cubs will finally win the Fall Classic again. It could be five years, it could be 50, it could be long after we all become worm food.

The one similarity between the two situations is that after getting over the grief that you’ve been stricken with, you’ll accept that the team you love so dear isn’t good, lean back and think, “Oh well! It was nice while it lasted, right?”

Because it was nice while it lasted. Among many things, that’s what Bojack Horseman got absolutely right. Whether it be about a single moment of day-to-day happiness or a lifetime of joy fulfilled, reminiscence, and the act of reminiscing, is always important.

On Saturday, November 20, the Northwestern Wildcats will likely lose a football game. They will probably roll out the same flatlining offense and gap-riddled defense that have seen the field all season long. The Purdue Boilermakers, a team that has knocked off both Michigan State and Iowa this season, will simply outmatch the Wildcats from start to finish. We all know this. We all expect this.

But our main reason to be there will not be to watch Northwestern succumb to Purdue. Not for me, at least. I’ll be at Wrigley to not only fulfill my duty as a student journalist, but to reminisce. I’ll be thinking about all the memories I’ve had there as a Cubs fan. Not only that, I’ll be — somewhat cynically — chuckling about the downfall that Northwestern football has faced between seasons yet again. The simple idea of seeing one of my favorite teams play in the stadium of another favorite is enough to keep me excited. Many couldn’t care less about the venue, but for some, it means the world.

By the end of the game, there may be more disappointment for Northwestern fans. The hope, though, is that despite the inevitable annoyance the Wildcats will be, the atmosphere of Wrigley Field will make for a great experience. There’s a hope that one day, this game in that stadium will make for an enjoyable trip down memory lane, and when you look back at when the ‘Cats returned to the Friendly Confines after an 11-year hiatus, you’ll be able to think to yourself that at least it was nice while it lasted.