The Olive Branch Blog

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

This is how it should always be. In 2003 the Chicago Cubs were playing the Florida Marlins in the National League Championship Series. In Game 6, the Cubs were leading 3-0. A Marlin player hits a long foul ball which Cubs outfielder Moises Alou attempted to catch. As the ball descends, a fan, Steve Bartman, accidentally interfered on the play causing Alou to not be able to make the catch. After that, the wheels came off for the Cubs and they lost the game, then lost Game 7 and the Marlins went to the series. The abuse that Bartman suffered was appalling. He had to be escorted from the stadium by security for his protection. His identity was made known and he endured verbal abuse and threats against him. He somewhat had to go into hiding as he tried to just quietly live his life, but now he lived in infamy as part of the curse that plagued the Cubs and their inability to win the World Series.

That all changed on July 31st. As many of you are aware, the Cubs won the 2016 World Series last October. On the 31st, the Cubs released a statement which in part reads: "On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series Championship Ring to Mr. Steve Bartman. We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series. While no gesture can fully lift the public burden he has endured for more than a decade, we felt it was important Steve knows he has been and continues to be fully embraced by this organization. After all he has sacrificed, we are proud to recognize Steve Bartman with this gift today."

Bartman also issued a statement. "Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring. Most meaningful is the genuine outreach of the Ricketts family, on behalf of the Cubs organization and fans, signifying to me that I am welcomed back into the Cubs family and have their support going forward. Moreover, I am hopeful this ring gesture will be the start of an important healing and reconciliation process for all involved."

I don't know Mr. Ricketts, the owner of the Cubs. But I wish I did. I would love to tell him what a classy move this is. There are some who have been critical of this gesture. Not me. This is classic forgiveness and reconciliation at its finest. This is how it should be. We should be willing to forgive. We should be willing to reconcile. This has given me a bit more of a glimpse into the goodness of people, and the goodness that can come from forgiving. I think we can all learn a lesson from this.

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