The entire city of Chicago got drunk last night.

Cub2

Okay, maybe not everybody. But on the streets of Wrigleyville, the north side neighborhood surrounding Wrigley Field, it certainly felt like everybody in the city descended on the same three-mile radius to drink and celebrate the Chicago Cubs. (Any cat burglar who didn’t clean up last night really missed a golden opportunity.)

The mood was a cross between a Mardi Gras parade and the “Do You Hear The People Sing” flag-waving scene from Les Misérables. Which is to say, there were a lot of “W” flags and exposed areolae.

One guy summed it up best. He was naked save for a pair of tightie-whities, his entire body covered in blue paint, and the red-and-white Cubs logo on his chest. As he walked through the crowd, he was cry-fiving strangers, which is a word I just invented.

Cry-fiving is a combo of the classic sports victory high-five and uncontrollable weeping caused by realizing that something you thought would never happen has actually goddamn happened, holy shit, holy shit, holy shit!

The Chicago Cubs won the World Series last night. You know this. You know it was the team’s first Series win since 1908, a staggering 108 years ago. The last time the Cubs won the Series, cars were still called horseless carriages. Adolf Hitler still thought he was going to be a painter. There was no such thing as penicillin. If you got polio, you were kind of screwed. A 13-year-old Babe Ruth had only recently gotten pubic hair.

But none of that matters. The Cubs fans who stayed up all night weren’t just celebrating history. Their reaction to our first world championship since 1908 wasn’t “Oh my god, we did it!” It was, “Thank freaking god we did it. Can we stop talking about the Billy Goat Curse now?”

For most Cubs fans (and I count myself among them, could you tell?) the goat curse was cute the first time you heard it. It’s like the Santa Claus story. The Cubs losing for a century because they wouldn’t let a goat on the field makes as much sense as a diabetic in red breaking into your house to leave gifts. It’s fun mythology but ultimately meaningless.

The problem was, some people took it too far. If you grew up rooting for the Cubs, you got used to sniggering assholes saying things like, “The Cubs lost again? Somebody should bring a goat to the game.” Hahaha. Fuck you. No, seriously, fuck you. You are to baseball what the people who love Elf on a Shelf are to Christmas.

Yesterday morning, I met Trevor, 36, a third generation Cubs fan and lifelong Chicagoan. He was waiting on the street next to Murphy’s Bleachers, the sports bar across from Wrigley, for his chance to pay $100 to watch Game 7 on a huge TV with other drunk people wearing blue. (That’s right, a cover charge to watch TV.)

Trevor looked terrible—pale, unshaven, eyes the color and consistency of strawberry milk. He’d called in sick to work so many times, he wasn’t entirely sure if he was employed anymore. “This has been the best few weeks of my life,” he told me, referring to the Cubs’ postseason run. “But I just want it to be over so I can get some sleep.”

“Can they just fucking win it already?” shouted Chad, a guy standing behind him.

The line outside Murphy’s, like every line outside every bar in Chicago, was one big raw nerve ending. People were nervous, wearing t-shirts with slogans like “Make Someday Today” and “It’s Our Time,” which sound more like Christian rock song titles than the rallying cries of a championship-bound baseball team.

“I just don’t want them to be losers anymore,” Trevor told me. “I’m tired of the Cubs being lovable losers. It’s just…” He grit his teeth, and the veins in his neck started to bulge. “I’m just so fucking sick of it.”

An op-ed in yesterday’s USA Today bemoaned that winning the Series would mean the Cubs would “surrender the Lovable Loser label that has defined and united their fan base.” A victorious Cubs, they wrote, would be like if Charlie Brown “finally outwitted Lucy and started drilling field goals.”

I shared this comparison with Trevor, and his jaw tightened. “That makes me want to punch a baby,” he said. “We shouldn’t win the World Series because then we won’t be their Charlie Brown anymore? Fuck that fucking shit. I would punch a baby so hard right now!”

You know what happened next. (No, Trevor didn’t punch a baby.)

The Chicago Cubs won it all, in a spectacular Game 7 that managed to inspire every possible human emotion.

After spending the day in Wrigleyville, I watched the game at home, because there was no way I was paying $100 to watch TV. It was just my wife and I, wearing the very same clothes we wore to the Cubs’ Series win in Game 2 in Cleveland—because we’re baseball fans, and thus extremely superstitious.

We weren’t the only ones in Chicago wearing “lucky” clothes last night. I personally know a dozen Cubs fans who went the entire postseason wearing the same shirts that could only be described as crusty. If you visit Chicago in the near future and you find yourself wondering, “What smells like balls?”, now you know.

On my dying day, I will remember my wife showering me with beer, my dad’s favorite brand— which we only started drinking when the Cubs lost their lead—and running outside after the final out, and screaming with joy and blissful disbelief, and drinking champagne from a magnum, and listening to the fireworks and giddy screams echoing from who-knows-how-many neighborhoods, and reveling in the ecstatic disbelief that this is real and not just a beautiful dream.

After the game, I went down to Wrigley Field, because it felt important. I needed to be near the stadium, to touch those walls, to breathe in the new air with other Cubs fans who, like me, still weren’t sure if it was safe to blink.

I’ve been to a few Chicago sports victories, but nothing like this. In 1992, when the Bulls won their second NBA championship, there were riots. Fans looted and jumped on taxis. (I jumped on one of those taxis, I’m ashamed to say. But at the time, it felt like a reasonable way to celebrate.)

But the Cubs World Series win didn’t inspire looting. Just a lot of hugs and tears. It was the release of so much anxiety. Call it the great unclenching of Chicago’s anus. We can finally relax. We’re not lovable losers anymore. Let somebody else be baseball’s Charlie Brown.

The curse wasn’t ended, because there was never a curse. Just centuries of crappy management and poor choices. But the Cubs finally got it right this year, and we were there to witness it.

Also, mark my words, there’s going to be a Chicago Baby Boom because of this Series. There were people kissing on the streets like teenagers who’d just discovered their hormones. In the graduating class of 2035, there will be at least a dozen kids in every high school in Chicago named Addison.

Or, God help them, Schwarber.

[This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in Men’s Health.]