In the News
Chicago—The dramatic end of the sports world’s longest drought was bittersweet for many baseball fans this week. When the Chicago Cubs clinched their first World Series title in 108 years, many people were thinking of loved ones who never got to see their team raise a trophy.
Fans turned a long brick wall at Wrigley Field into a memorial of chalk messages and names of the dead. Cemeteries were filled with Cubs gear and flags, including the traditional W flag for a “win.” Because the Cubs hadn’t been to a World Series since 1945, many people spent their whole lives hoping for victory “next year”—and being disappointed.
Ginny Iversen, 94, died between Games 2 and 3 of this year’s Series, wrapped in a Cubs blanket. Her daughter, Mary Beth Talhami, texted people with the news, saying “There’s another angel in the outfield.” On the Wrigley memorial, she wrote, “Enjoy your view from the ultimate skybox.” Talhami watched the roller coaster Game 7 on the edge of her seat, making a tearful toast to her mom after the last out.
Some fans looked for signs that their loved ones were still present. One family recalled catching a foul ball the first time they felt emotionally ready to use a deceased loved one’s season tickets.
Sharon Thompson, whose husband George died in June, says, “We just feel like the only way we can get through this emotionally is by saying he’s here with us spiritually, enjoying this so much.” George Thompson’s obituary read, in part, “Aside from his family, one of George’s biggest passions was his beloved Cubs. He attended the World Series at Wrigley Field when he was 13 and had high hopes for this year’s team!”
Fittingly, Wednesday’s Game 7 occurred on All Souls’ Day, when some people honor the dead. At the gravesite of longtime Cubs announcer Harry Caray, his son-in-law left a radio on during each World Series game this year. Other fans left green apples in honor of Carey’s statement, “Sure as God made green apples, someday, the Chicago Cubs are going to be in the World Series.”
Sources: espn.com, wgntv.com, abc7chicago.com, chicagotribune.com
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Discussion Starters for Student Small Groups
What captured your attention about this year’s World Series—whether or not you’re a baseball fan? Were you rooting for the Cubs to finally end their misery? Why or why not? How do you think Chicago fans would be coping if their “lovable losers” had lost Game 7?
What are some things you keep hoping for that never seem to happen? How well do you cling to that hope, especially when disappointments keep arising? Are you convinced that life will keep getting better? Why or why not?
Have life’s most special moments ever felt bittersweet to you? If so, explain. What occasions have you wanted to share with someone who’s no longer alive? How have you recognized or acknowledged them during those times?
How does your church or cultural tradition celebrate any of these holidays: All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, Day of the Dead? Do you think it’s okay to pray to or for the dead? Why or why not?
Do you believe dead people are still present with us here on earth? Do you think they can communicate with us can see—or influence—what’s happening on earth? Explain.
When loved ones die, what are some ways to honor their memory and remember their influence? At what point does grieving—or focusing on the deceased person—become unhealthy?
Regarding death, how are Christians always “winners”? How does the knowledge of eternity and eternal life affect your day-to-day life?
What times with family and friends do you cherish the most? How do you think future experiences will change, when certain people are no longer around?
What events or occasions are you most looking forward to in the future? What discoveries or occurrences would you most like to have happen during your lifetime? Explain.
If you could write your own obituary, what would you want it to say about you? What passions or attributes would you want it to list?
Scripture links: Psalm 116:15; Proverbs 13:12; Luke 16:19-31; 1 Corinthians 15:16-20, 35-49; Hebrews 12:1; and Revelation 21:1-7.