6 suburbanites' views of the Cubs rally

  • A youngster hoists a pennant as the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs parade begins at Wrigley Field Friday morning.

      A youngster hoists a pennant as the World Series Champion Chicago Cubs parade begins at Wrigley Field Friday morning. Patrick Kunzer | Staff Photographer

  • Eric Podgorski and his son Colin, 9, of Des Plaines relax as they wait for the parade to start. The Chicago Cubs celebrated their World Series win Friday with a parade that started at Wrigley Field and traveled down Michigan Avenue. The parade ended with a rally at Grant Park.

      Eric Podgorski and his son Colin, 9, of Des Plaines relax as they wait for the parade to start. The Chicago Cubs celebrated their World Series win Friday with a parade that started at Wrigley Field and traveled down Michigan Avenue. The parade ended with a rally at Grant Park. Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/4/2016 6:08 PM

The day began early for Cubs fans looking to be part of the celebration of breaking a 108-year drought since the team's last World Series Championship. Here's a look at what it was like through the eyes of a few of the millions of people who were present:

Calm before the storm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Katie and Scott Murray, their four children and one family friend scored a prime spot at 6:45 a.m. in front of the Cubbie Bear as crews were setting up barricades for the parade, which was to start at the corner of Clark and Addison streets in the shadow of the Wrigley Field marquee.

They had left Winfield for Wrigleyville at 5 a.m., braving long lines to board their Metra train.

"Only two people were going to work," Scott Murray said.

Unlike Cubs fans whose loyalty goes back generations, the Murrays are new to the area, coming eight years ago from Phoenix when Scott got hired as young adult pastor at Wheaton Bible Church.

After attending their first game, "we were hooked," Katie said.

Promise kept

Heide Hein, of St. Charles, had promised her children at the beginning of the season they could take off school for the parade if the Cubs won it all. And so she arrived at Wrigley Field with her three children at 7:30 a.m.

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"I had a really, really good feeling" about the year, she said.

Daughter Sophia, 12, wasn't too worried about missing class. "Our principal's a huge Cubs fan," she said.

Wishing he left earlier

Greg Gauger of Grayslake, a sophomore at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, caught the 5:15 a.m. Metra train for the Cubs rally in Grant Park, but regretted he waited so long.

"I should have stayed overnight," he said around 10:45 a.m. from his spot near the front of the massive crowd at Grant Park. Despite his relative closeness to the huge grandstand where the Cubs were to speak, he and his friends were still behind a tall chain-link fence.

Gauger said they arrived before the gates opened and that once they were patted down by security, there was a mad rush across the wet grass field to get good spots by the stage.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Crowd builds

The crowd was so thick it took Damian Pedersen of Gurnee 90 minutes to walk from Union Station to the rally in Grant Park after he arrived on a train that left at 5:15 a.m. for the city. Police officers were working to keep the crowds on the sidewalks and out of the street.

He saw a kid who'd climbed a light pole for a look at the crowd fall.

"All of his buddies moved out of the way," Petersen said, adding that he turned to his friends and told them, "I would have at least caught one of you guys."

Going the distance

University of Illinois freshman Peypom Muehlhauser of Downers Grove, said she and many of her classmates at the University of Illinois decided they were returning from Champaign for the rally as soon as the game was over.

"Professors don't care," she said after taking the 4:50 a.m. train downtown. "They canceled class."

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