I don’t know who to credit this photo to, but – it’s perfect.
The Chicago Cubs are in the World Series, and if you have been cloistered from reality somehow, and didn’t know that already, let me tell you that they are playing against the Cleveland Indians and two games have already been played. Each team has won ONE game each, in Cleveland. This Friday, they will play game 3 in Wrigley Field for the first time ever. Games 4 and 5 will also be played in that historic ball park before this weekend is over – barring significantly bad weather.
One celebrity fan, Bill Murray, won a Mark Twain Award (I’ll let you google that) this week, and someone with a microphone asked him what it felt like to have the Cubs playing in the World Series. He said that he’d listened to the Sportscasters trying to explain what it feels like and they just don’t get it. He was dead right. All they can talk about is what hadn’t been invented or what else in history hadn’t happened yet. That’s not the point for any real Cub fan.
When you’ve waited your whole life, almost seeing it happen several times, and staying faithful even during the years when you know the team is a disgrace on the field, you get a glimpse of what it means to be a Cub fan right now.
When you take all the trash talk about your team from the other side of town, and other teams that do better (cough*Cards*cough), you get another glimpse of the life and times of a Cub fan. Yet we will still wear our team colors with more pride than courage, and with more sense of thrill than grudging responsibility. You may even begin to save and collect the best of all the slurs, as badges of creative honor. “They wouldn’t talk trash unless we matter,” we’d tell each other with a wink.
When your team’s playing field has more historic significance than your division opponents, but their win cycles have been more fruitful – you remain tenaciously steadfast anyway, bragging on the history of the edifice if not the skills of the team. And that’s when you begin to realize what a Cub fan’s life might be like. You will appreciate how traditions have held us together (like throwing the other team’s ball back from the bleachers), and how folklore has helped name our businesses in ways no newcomer knows about unless a local lets them in on the lore (Billy Goat Tavern).
These are things no White Sox fan nor Cardinal fan has had their parents explain to them, nor have they had anything similar to explain about their team to their children. It’s distinctly a part of the Cub fan traditions, and there has been enough time for our children have told their children – even if they move to another state. Because that’s what Cub fans do. And when the Cubs come to play in our different states and stadiums, we tend to crowd out the locals who think that they are good enough fans for their home team. We also tend to out shout them!
What other team has a tradition of a team song karaoke at the end of a winning game? I bet they’ll all begin working on that, though, because that’s how memories and thrilling moments of “we’re all in this together” happen. And we began doing it while our team was referred to as “the lovable losers”, doggonit!
These are things most “johnny come lately” folks will never feel or fully understand. It’s certainly nothing the sportscasters outside of Chicago Metro area can ever explain, either. That’s ok, because WE are the kind of fandom that might not like that you waited so long, but we’re still going to tug you into the fold and make sure that you sing louder on the chorus when we sing “GO CUBS GO”.