By David Schuster–
(CBS) It has been a week now since the Blackhawks captured their third Stanley Cup in the last six years. Since then, I’ve pondered the fortune that I have been witness to — not only the three Cups but also the multitude of Chicago championships that I have reported on.
Before detailing the titles, it’s important to go back to my youth to remember all the near-misses and heartaches that I and thousands of others lived through here.
Front and center were the 1969 Cubs, who were on their way to the playoffs and running away from the competition late in the season. The Cubs were up a wide margin over the Mets in late August, only to suffer one of the all-time collapses in September and finish out of the money. That hurt a lot, but so did the story of the 1971 Black Hawks (it was later condensed to Blackhawks as one word), who were on the verge of winning the Stanley Cup against the Canadiens at the old Chicago Stadium. It’s a night I’ll never forget, as the Hawks led 2-0 in the second period of Game 7 only to end up losing 3-2.
How about the 1975 Bulls, who led 3-2 in their Western Conference Finals series against the Warriors, only to get destroyed on Mother’s Day (again at the Chicago Stadium) and then blow a fourth-quarter lead in Game 7 when their offense came to a complete halt.
In the early 1980s, quality DePaul basketball teams had early exits from the NCAA Tournament, and there were other letdowns as well, such as the Bears’ various embarrassments.
But the worm has turned over the last three decades, and it has been my luck to be part of it.
The tide started turning in 1985 with possibly the greatest NFL defense ever on display. The Bears crushed one opponent after another and went through the playoffs like a hot knife through butter. That defense destroyed quarterbacks and running backs alike, and when it was finally over in the Super Bowl, I can’t recall civic pride being much higher ever. It was fun covering that team, what with all the characters, including the biggest one of them in coach Mike Ditka.
Then came the Bulls’ dynasty, as they won six titles in eight years in the ’90s. They were already a real good team before finally prevailing, but when they won that first championship in 1991, the floodgates opened and it became almost a common occurence. Added to the mix was the chance to cover the best athlete I’ll ever hope to witness in Michael Jordan, and that Golden Era will always remain the highlight of my career.
Next up were the White Sox, who won it all in 2005. I still have chills (and probably champagne stains) from the celebrations. Getting to travel with my boyhood favorite team as it won in Boston, Anaheim and finally Houston will give me memories forever. And I won’t soon forget the night they finished off the sweep of the Astros; Jerry Reinsdorf and players alike partied like little kids. Yet another great thrill.
And it has continued on for the last half dozen years with the Blackhawks. Again, I was fortunate to be amid the excitement on the ice in Philadelphia in 2010 and Boston in 2013 — and best of all at the United Center last week in front of dedicated Chicago fans.
I have just one wish left, and that’s for the Cubs to complete the circle and win the World Series. Now that would be the frosting on the cake.
David Schuster is a reporter, update anchor and weekend host for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @Schumouse.