Sins of our Fathers: The Legacy of a Cubs Fan
I am a Cubs fan. In some ways, it’s like a genetic disease. I got it from my dad, I’ll probably give it to my sons. I am an inheritor of over 100 years of futility. Of close calls and long shots. Of big swings and bigger misses. I am a Cubs fan, and I feel like I should apologize to my children and my children’s children.
Kids, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for Alfonso and for Kosuke. Sorry for “Sweet” Lou and Dusty Baker destroying the best pitching rotation we’ve ever had. I’m sorry that somehow Jim Hendry managed to keep his job so long. It’s horrible, and I should have never done this to you.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, count yourself among the lucky. I have friends who are Royals fans that pat me on the back and tell me it’ll be okay. I want to stop, I want to cheer for the Rays or the Angels or even the Yankees, but I can’t. I bleed Cubbie blue, and they don’t offer transfusions for that.
My wife is a hybrid Twins/Cubs fan. Twins by birth, Cubs by marriage. On the one hand, I feel like I should push my kids toward Minnesota, but it’s better for them to learn disappointment early on. Besides, the Twins spent most of their history playing INDOORS, which is about as bad as hitting off of a tee. Truly, this is the longest ongoing fight of my marriage: my wife believes in her heart of heart that the Metrodome (yes, the one with the collapsing roof) is better than the sacred grounds of Wrigley Field. Yikes. I guess I will always know that no matter how bad it gets for me, I’m still not that delusional.
This summer, I hope I can go to a baseball game with my oldest son. We watched some Triple-A ball last summer, but I want him to see the real thing. The icing would be if it could be at the friendly confines. That probably makes me a sadist, to push this travesty of a franchise on him at such a young age, but I can’t help it. The only thing you’re guaranteed when you’re a Cubs fan, outside of the anguish, is a community of people who understand what you’re going through. He will join generations of fans before him who he can lean on. That’s what keeps us coming back.
Somewhere in being a Cubs fan is a valuable life lesson. It might never get better, but if you have good people around you, it’s still all right. When you’re there at Wrigley, taking in the game on a hot summer afternoon, surrounded by people just like you, who can’t get enough of this team even after everything they’ve put us through, it makes sense. We’re all hoping to hear “Go Cubs Go” blast over the decades-old PA system after the top of the ninth. We all can’t wait to get outside and see the “W” flag waiving high over the ivy walls. We’re all ready to stretch during the seventh and scream “CUBBIES!” in a way that makes all other “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” renditions just seem silly. It’s like home and church at the same time. It’s hope in the face of ugliness. Heck, even the Old Style tastes good.
And so I bring my sons into this. Sure there’s suffering and heartbreak, sure there’s ridicule and shame, but the upside is bigger in Chicago then any other baseball town in the world. Cubs fans don’t know how to quit. We don’t know fair weather. We are all in this thing together. And really, isn’t that all we can ever hope for our kids to learn?