If any season has begged this question more than the current one, I would like to know. Sure, I will give you the let downs, ’69, ’84, ’89, and ’03, but has any season destroyed you the way this one has? For some, this is a tough question, for others, maybe not. I am here today to tell you why I am a Cubs fan. For me, this is a simple question with an easy answer, but I want to know about you because I am dying inside. I was born on a beautiful Friday morning in 1979 and that is where it all started. Five years later, my first sports memory included Rick Sutcliffe, Leon Durham and Steve “fill in the expletive” Garvey. From day ONE this team has disappointed me. Their failures are so immense; HBO has captured them on a special running in late September on the network. We all know them, the great collapse of ’69, the great collapse of ’84, Will Clark in ’89 and the blown double play in ’03. NO, not Mr. Bartmann, but bad defense, that is what happened, and as Cubs fans, we need to forgive this man and move on to greener pastures. The only problem with this is that we are not in control. We have to hope this team can find a way.
In ’04, the Red Sox nation quenched their thirst, in ’05, Bridgeport followed in suit. 2006 was just waiting for the Cubs Faithful to feel this joy, but as the past five months have proved, it is not going to happen now. Steve Goodman once wrote a ballad detailing the trials and tribulations of a Cubs fan and he captured the torture so perfectly. While it eventually ends for others, will it ever end for us? I wish I could answer that question but from where I sit, that is not possible.
I have sat by and watched all of my other teams win, and win gloriously. The Bears won when I was 6, the Fighting Irish when I was 9 and the Bulls when I was 11, 12, 13, 16, 17 and 18. I was lucky enough to graduate from the University of Notre Dame, but no Irish Championship will ever compare to that of a Cubbies World Series triumph. (Yes, I have been excommunicated by numerous “Irish” individuals for stating that outloud.) I am trying to tell you that possible moment will rank up there with ANYTHING.
I am single; I am not a father, so I have many moments and memories to look forward to, hopefully. Year in and year out, I watch, I pray, I hope and I cry. It doesn’t change. I know how I feel, and yet I still cannot imagine how Ron Santo feels. He was that close in ’69 and subjects himself to this punishment hourly, daily, weekly and yearly. Odds will say that the Cubs will win someday, but as the 100 year mark approaches, I am somewhat jaded. The hope I held as a child is dissipating and I sit here left only with prayers and hopes.
Many will tell you that my life deals to closely with the Cubs, that my happiness is too closely related with their success. Maybe they are right, in fact, they are right, but that cannot change who I am, inside and out. I am a Cubs fan, a diehard, a season ticket holder and nothing can break me. I have been on this earth for almost 30 years and until the day I leave, I will continue to hope, pray and dream, continuously wishing for that joyous occasion, one that can not be described, yet.
So, with that said, I will tell you why I am a Cubs fan. I was born in Chicago, on the North side, to great parents, one who conveniently happened to be a raging Cubbies fanatic. When most grade-schoolers get home from school they do their homework. When I got home, I got a snack and the Cubs game. My mom and I would sit in the kitchen and watch, hopeful, for a victory. In the 80′s, that did not happen too often. I remember Mitch Williams clinching the game in Montreal in ’89; I was jumping up and down on my bed. We all know how that year ended, so I digress.
I had no choice, my father from Denver, was brainwashed by my mother who grew up in Des Plaines. The pieces were in place for me to suffer through a lifetime of failure, I had no choice. I am 27 years old and when I met Andre Dawson last January you would have thought I just got married. When I had a 90 minute conversation with Bob Dernier that same night, it seemed like I had just witnessed my first child being born. These are just a few examples of my obsessive behavior.
The bottom line is that I did not have a choice, I was born into it. My youthful exuberance has lead me to convince everyone in my life that IT will happen, they can win. However, after year after year, I am not as convinced as I was once. However, I will never give in to the futility, it has happen, Right?
I watched last season as the “other side” won, and I saw my Sox fans’ friends celebrate. The jealousy was indescribable, the hatred was as well, but in some weird way, I was happy for my favorite city and for my friends that have suffered like me. Two “people” so different, but so similar in experiences and distraught, and when they won, it opened up a new door in my mind. This may happen, it can happen, and will happen, I just hope I am still alive and more so, I hope my mother is still alive.
I am a Cubs fan because I am, because I love them, because I follow them above anyone and because when “IT” happens, there will nothing like it in the entire world. When the blue Cubbies pinstripes are celebrating the World Series, it will top everything. Not one sports fan can say they have been through this type of misery. I have sworn to endure the horrendous, no matter what, in hopes of one day experiencing the unparalleled joy of the ultimate victory.
Bill Simmons, a writer for ESPN.com Page 2 once wrote a column about Cubs fans, Red Sox fans and the movie “The Shawshank Redemption.” In that movie, two old friends reunite in Zihuatanejo, Mexico after years in prison. It is a glorious reunion, the movie ends with a great deal of hope. After the Red Sox won the World Series, Mr. Simmons, a Bostonian, wrote a column that culminated with him saying, “Cubs fans, I cannot wait to see you in Zihuatanejo”
Well Bill, I guarantee you that I am more excited for that meeting than you, and I would do most anything to make it happen. While many fans can “understand” the Cubs’ fans plight, now one else truly gets it. It is something of a burden, one which we carry proudly. The true fan will never turn away, they will get angry, point fingers, cry, hope, pray and wish. As of now, that is all we have, but those emotions never end, they continue on into the setting sun.
As I sit here, hoping that the Fighting Irish can win another National Championship, I cannot stop thinking about the Cubs. You know why I am a Cubs fan, because I am and nothing will ever change that. However, when “IT” happens, I will be at Yakzees, belting out Freddie Mercury and going nuts. How will I feel, I honestly have no idea, but promise you this, I will do anything I can to one day know that feeling, the greatest feeling I can imagine, a Cubs World Series. Until then, I am prepared to witness many more 11 inning disasters. Why, well, because I was born into it.
Thanks for reading, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and until next time….
Stay Classy Cubs Fans!!!