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arlier in the season, she took an eight-hour chemo treatment on a Monday so she could recover and play DePauls two

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CHICAGO -- No more Lovable Losers. Forget those curses, too.The Chicago Cubs ended decades of heartache and futility by beating the Cleveland Indians for their first championship since 1908 . And that means for the first time in 108 years, the Cubs can -- get this -- turn their attention toward a repeat.They finally wiped out baseballs longest title drought early Thursday in Cleveland when third baseman Kris Bryant fielded Michael Martinezs grounder off Mike Montgomery and threw to Anthony Rizzo at first, closing out an epic Game 7 of the World Series against the Indians.That set off a celebration in Chicago more than a century in the making, and it was still going on Thursday afternoon. Fans jammed the sidewalks outside Wrigley Field taking photos under the famed marquee, which read WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS.Across the street at the corner of Clark and Addison, the line to get into a sportswear store selling Cubs merchandise stretched around the corner.There will be a championship parade starting at Wrigley Field followed by a rally at Grant Park on Friday.Were in the books, Rizzo said. Were in history forever. This team is brothers forever no matter what.World Series favorites from the start, the Cubs spent almost the entire season in first place on the way to a 103-58 record -- their highest win total since the 1910 team won 104 games.They beat playoff-tested San Francisco in the Division Series. They shook off back-to-back shutout losses and a 2-1 deficit against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL Championship Series to capture their first pennant in 71 years.They topped it all off when they became the first team since the 1985 Kansas City Royals to overcome a 3-1 World Series deficit to win the title. And now, that championship W flies.As the Cubs -- the Cubs, of all teams -- turn their attention toward a repeat, here are some things to know.ON THE MARKET: The Cubs will have to pay up if they want to keep their closer. Thats because Aroldis Chapman is a free agent and figures to become baseballs richest reliever.The flame-throwing lefty converted 16 of 18 save opportunities for Chicago during the regular season after being acquired from the New York Yankees and was a huge reason why the Cubs won the World Series.If Chapman signs with another team, the Cubs could go back to Hector Rondon as their closer.MORE DECISIONS: Center fielder and leadoff hitter Dexter Fowler plans to become a free agent.Fowler told ESPN on Thursday night that he will exercise a $5 million buyout clause rather than a $9 million mutual option and test the market. He said he is not ruling out another return to Chicago.He boosted his stock this season by hitting .276 with a .393 on-base percentage after re-signing with Chicago in a surprise move during spring training. Before that, it appeared Fowler was headed to Baltimore.Right-hander Jason Hammel, who won 15 games, also has a club option.YOUTH SERVED: Dont expect the Cubs to fade anytime soon. Not with such a young core of stars.MVP contenders Bryant and Rizzo are 24 and 27, respectively. Shortstop Addison Russell is 22. Second baseman Javier Baez is 23 and catcher Willson Contreras is 24. All had big moments in the postseason, and all are under team control through at least 2021.For that matter, major league ERA champion Kyle Hendricks turns 27 in December.SCHWARBER EFFECT: The Cubs barely flinched after Kyle Schwarber sustained what they thought was a season-ending knee injury in his second game of the season. Even so, there was no denying the impact the 23-year-old slugger had in the World Series.Cleared to hit -- but not play the field -- Schwarber went 7 for 17. But the Cubs might have a logjam next season if the team returns mostly intact.Thats because Schwarber, Jorge Soler and versatile Ben Zobrist could all be looking for time in left field. Then again, manager Joe Maddon has shown he knows how to juggle the lineup and keep everyone involved.MORE HITS: Shut out four times, it was a boom-or-bust postseason for the Cubs big bats. Maddon attributed that to the teams youth. And he expects that to be the biggest area of improvement.If you look at our kids, I think if you put your scouts cap on, its going to be easy to understand that the area were going to get better at is offense, he said. Understanding themselves better, understanding what the pitchers going to try to do against them. Understanding how to make adjustments in the game. Understanding how to utilize the entire field more consistently as they gain experience. cheap jerseys from china . According to a report from the Vancouver Province, the Lions are expected to replace former DC Rich Stubler with defensive backs coach Mark Washington. wholesale nfl jerseys .C. United of Major League Soccer. United chose the defender in the second round of the 2013 MLS re-entry draft. . LOUIS -- Attorneys for the St. cheap nfl jerseys . -- Lou Brocks shoulder-to-shoulder collision with Bill Freehan during the 1968 World Series and Pete Roses bruising hit on Ray Fosse in the 1970 All-Star game could become relics of baseball history, like the dead-ball era. cheap jerseys . The Browns coaching search remains incomplete. Its 15 minutes before game time, and Colleen Smith is at the net, front and center for the DePaul volleyball team. The 24-year-old Illinois natives got gum in her mouth and a smile on her face, and shes helping her hitters get in some warm-up swings. Chew, smile, set, repeat.Five years ago, on a different campus, the former high school All-American setter, a freshman at Indiana, kept a different routine. Cough, ache, puke, rest.Smiths life was in danger, not to mention her volleyball career. Her body was attacking itself. She was vomiting blood. Her red blood cell count was half of what it should be. Her lungs collected fluid.Doctors at IU made a rare diagnosis: granulomatosis with polyangiitis, also known as Wegeners granulomatosis -- a disease that drastically slows the flow of blood through the kidneys, lungs, throat and nose. After that came blood transfusions, chemotherapy and dozens of prescriptions.But even as a freshman lying in a hospital bed, Smith plotted her return to volleyball. She thought about it as a sophomore, too, when the Hoosiers coaching staff told her they no longer had a scholarship spot for her. She thought about it each time she was rejected by a program that wooed her as a transfer because the doctors didnt want to take on the risk of a Wegeners patient.Those five years led to this moment: Senior Day. Nov. 13. Her final home game at DePaul.Now third in program history in assists, Smith is still receiving chemotherapy treatments -- just once every six months now -- and is considering a professional career overseas.I just love that winning feeling, she said. It was important for me to get back to that.On this November day, as she flicks the ball behind her to a streaking hitter, she thinks back on all those battles won. Her eyes are on the next pass, well before the hitters spike smacks the ground.Chew, smile, set, repeat. She savors this moment. It is a gift.***Wegeners is rare. That much we know. A 2009 study in Arthritis & Rheumatology estimates that it occurs in about one in every 125,000 people. Others believe it goes widely underdiagnosed and is far more common. Either way, a statistician would tell you the odds of an elite NCAA athlete having Wegeners are minuscule.I feel like its so easy to give up on your dreams and your goals, Smith said, but I knew that volleyball was such a huge impact on my life, and it has truly shaped me into the person that I am today.There are little reminders of what shes gone through at every DePaul home game. Her parents and sisters, who live in the Chicago suburbs, know just how precious each moment on the court is for Smith and never miss a match. She has a red bow, the color chosen for autoimmune disease and Wegeners awareness, in her hair, and she and her teammates have bows on their shoes, too. As her career nears its end with one last Big East game Sunday against Butler in Indianapolis, theres this, too: a single-season program record for wins in the Big East.Before Smith tallied the first of her 4,185 assists (and counting) as a Blue Demon, coach Nadia Edwards was well equipped to bring Smith in despite her disease. Rush University Medical Center in Chicago provided a primary care location that would suit Smiths needs, and DePaul gave Smith a chance to continue competing in a big conference while staying close to home.We knew the talent that she possesssed, but every single day she stepped on the court, she gave us her all, Edwards said.dddddddddddd Shes been the anchor of our team for the last four years.Those four years werent without obstacles, either, on and off the court. She endured a 3-27 season her second year with the program. Then, this January, she had a Wegeners flare-up. While at dinner with her family, her mouth filled with blood before spouting from her nose. It took her a few months to get back to playing.I was a little surprised because she was doing very well, and she was on medication, said Dr. Roger Rodby, a nephrology specialist at Rush who has worked with Smith the past four years. Of all the diseases I take care of in the autoimmune spectrum, this ones the toughest. Its the one thats hardest to get to go away, and its the most likely to come back.But she came back, too, and its hard to imagine it going any differently. Smith is eternally positive, and playing volleyball trumps all ailments. Earlier in the season, she took an eight-hour chemo treatment on a Monday so she could recover and play DePauls two weekend road matches. She slippedarlier in the season, she took an eight-hour chemo treatment on a Monday so she could recover and play DePauls two in and out of sleep with her dad and one of her sisters by her side. The picture she took during the treatment, though, belied the difficulties it presented. She gave a beaming smile with a thumbs-up, the Chicago skyline in the background.Somehow, Smith didnt miss a match this season.Its just crazy to think back when I was at Indiana that, basically, a lot of people thought I was never gonna be able to play again, she said. I really do believe that everything happens for a reason, and I found my home here at DePaul. It definitely worked out.Her next home might be in Europe, where the odds are tougher still. Edwards played professionally and said Smiths talent isnt even a discussion. Shes good enough. Its about finding a team that needs a setter and, again, can accommodate her condition. And, isnt already at the cap for the number of American players allowed on its roster. Her dad, Bubba Smith, wants her to do it, no matter how nervous having his daughter that far away might be.But Europe is, thats her dream, he said. Fulfill it. Because every other dream youve had, youve fulfilled it. That would be something, you know? Jim Valvano, whatd he say that time? Every day, youve got to be able to smile, to cry, and thats a fulfilling day.Laugh, think, cry, repeat. Smiths familiar with that routine, too.***Smith locks arms with her mom and dad and walks toward her teammates and coaches. The gum is gone, but the smiles still there. The tears and memories have crept in, too. One of her outside hitters, Myah Reed, barely holds in her sobs.Smith celebrates with DePauls two other seniors. She hugs about two dozen fans -- friends and family -- in the stands. Then she sits down in the bleachers at McGrath-Phillips Arena, her home for the past four years, with that support system surrounding her. Everyone smiles. Cameras flash. There are two games left, but this has a feeling of permanence to it. Its hard not to think of the end.Smith lets herself do that, briefly. But as usual, her thoughts turn from whats happened to whats next.We still have season left, she said.And whatever else comes after it. Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys cheap jerseys Cheap Jersyes Cheap Basketball Jerseys Cheap NHL Jerseys cheap jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys ' ' '

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