It sounded like thunder, and I thought maybe we were going to get some much-needed rain to quench our parched gardens and yards.
And then I remembered that the sky had been perfectly, crystally clear when I'd looked out the window right before bed. I knew then what the sound was rumbling in my bedroom on an unusually quiet night in the banging class neighborhood:
The Reds won, and there was an explosion of fireworks from across the river because we just clinched our first NL Central title in 15 years. I think the sound carried better than usual because so many fans had been holding their breath, daring to believe the impossible.
The fireworks seemed to go on forever as Jason and I lay there in the dark. I could imagine all the celebrating, champagne-uncorking, and general mayhem coming from Great American; it's been a long time coming, and Cincinnatians haven't had too much to celebrate these days.
On the radio this morning I heard the DJs talking about our last title back in 1995.
1995. Wow. Life was so much different then. That fall I was in my senior year at Centre, student teaching instead of taking classes, getting a bitter dose of reality. I had thought a full load of classes at a demanding college was hard; I had no idea teaching 90 students a day, most of them freshmen, would make me miss all-nighters and 10-page literary analysis papers.
But I still followed the Reds. My roommate was (and I'm sure still is) a Braves fan, so when the Braves dashed our World Series hopes in an embarrassing fashion, she drew a little broom on the ancient chalkboard in our room; yes, they swept us.
I tried not to hold it against her.
I figured the Reds would get there again someday soon. I'm not a huge baseball fan, but I like to go to a few Reds games every year and I love the energy in the city when one of our sports teams does well. It's a great uniter for a community that can be angrily divided.
I was in high school when the Reds won their last Series in 1990; we all loved that team, and for the first (and really the only) time in my life, I watched pretty much every game. I didn't gripe when Dad wanted to watch the Reds or when a game pre-empted one of my shows. And I cried when they won that last game.
In a city that often takes a beating for its backwardness and quirks, a city that cites "Cincinnati chili" as a claim to fame (and it's not even really a chili, if you want to get all technical about it; it's a Greek stew of sometimes questionable quality), it was really something to be proud of.
I hope we do well in the playoffs, and I hope I get to watch the Reds win another series.
Any maybe, just maybe, I'll be drawing a little broom of my own.