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Chalk on the Walls: Cubs + Chang

Photo: Getty Images

Like most Cubs fans during the 2016 World Series, I needed something extra to push my confidence over the brink; something to remind me of the Cubbies' chance to win it all this year. I could go to the local sports bar and drink with other fans, but I don't like alcohol. There are so many other, healthier options to fend off anxiety, like running. I support my team by self care, don't you? After all, you can't root, root, root for the home team if you aren't alive, alive, alive.

I couldn't be at the games, but Wrigley Field, which I'd known all my life as a majestic landmark and is close enough to where I live, became the destination for a quick morning run. I would circle the stadium each day there was a game, then head back home, all whilst sending positive mojo as I leaned close to the brick walls of the stadium. It would be my offering, my morning prayer, my daily affirmation. That's when all of the writing showed up. Fans took chalk to the walls, leaving notes, names, nonsense, and nuance. I was moved. My run became an exhilarating ritual; a candle lit in the cathedral of Sheffield and Waveland.

Photo: Getty Images

I immediately thought about Candy Chang's piece, Before I Die...

I thought about how powerful chalk can be, how immediate and deliberate it is. Seeing other peoples' handwriting, with no inhibition and the free-form playfulness, says a lot about our ability to conjure up community strength. We can wreak havoc on other peoples' property (or shared public spaces), at least visually, without getting in trouble.

Appropriately, the title of Chang's piece is akin to what Cubs fans have been saying to themselves all these years. And beautifully enough, the tributes to relatives and loved ones who never got to see the Cubs get to this point was poignantly built up as a collective layer of colorful dust, reminding all of us how temporal everything is.

Photo: Candy Chang website

Photo by: Shake Shack, Brooklyn, NY (Candy Chang website)



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