It’s Election Day! I’m grateful to live in a country where it is a FREEDOM to vote. I know not everyone has that privilege, and I am so proud to exercise that privilege. That being said, I am so over the mudslinging this election has caused. Anyway, enough about politics; now it is time to talk about the Chicago Cubs.
I wish to first give my heartfelt congratulations to the Cleveland Indians. They provided an amazing World Series that will be remembered for years to come. The fans, coaches, and players should have nothing to be ashamed of the way the games were played. They made the American League Postseason exciting and they earned the right to be on baseball’s biggest stage.
I was not born a Cubs fan, so I guess I could be considered a “bandwagon fan” as well. My dad is a Pittsburgh Pirates fan and my mom, who does not really have a partiality to any baseball team, has family that supports the Cincinnati Reds. As a result, I went to the Great American Ballpark for at least three consecutive summers that I can remember. As I got older, I grew to like sports more. I watched sports like baseball, basketball, and football when they were on TV, and asked my parents for the reasons behind the calls so I could better understand. The more acquainted with athletics I became, the more players I knew. In the case of baseball, I grew up hearing the names of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Pete Rose, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, and Sammy Sosa. I did not really have any loyalties to a particular team, but I heard a lot about the Pirates, Reds, Cardinals, Yankees, Red Sox, White Sox, and Cubs. I heard about the other teams as well, but those seven were the most famous in Indianapolis, since the city does not have a professional baseball team.
In the summer of 2011, my family had the opportunity to go to Chicago. The British soccer team Manchester United was doing an American tour and were playing the Chicago Fire. My mom bought tickets for the game because I love soccer, and my family was not opposed to going to sporting events. That same weekend, we were also able to take in a Chicago Cubs game. This was my first experience with an “older” professional baseball field (the Great American Ballpark opened in 2003). The day of the baseball game was mild and rainy. We took the L train to go to the field. As my family waited for our train at a particular station, another train pulled up. I was fascinated so I people-watched. One guy I remember stepped off the train with his cellphone to his ear. He made eye contact with me and then flipped me off for no reason. I was confused because I had done nothing to provoke him except look at him. My mom told me not to worry about it, and eventually, I managed to push it out of my mind for the most part.
I was not sure what to expect at Wrigley Field, and I was definitely surprised. The area surrounding it was not like downtown Chicago. Wrigley itself towered over just about everything else, just one example of the legacy it has had on the north side of Chicago. As a history buff even then, I fell in love with the history displayed in Wrigley. It was nothing like I had ever seen and it took my breath away. The game was amazing (the Cubs beat the Houston Astros) and the traditions that accompanied it even more so. One such tradition is the Anno Catulorum sign. It has seven numbers, the first two representing the number of years since the Cubs won the National League Central, the next two since they won the National League pennant, and the last three since they won the World Series. When I first saw it, it read AC0366103.
After that weekend in Chicago, I pretty much threw my lot in with the “Lovable Losers”. I followed their wins and losses. They fascinated me and I loved the history behind it. I researched many things about the Cubs, including the Curse of the Billy Goat and Wrigley Field itself and of course Harry Caray. I looked up famous players as well from Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown to Ernie Banks to Ron Santo to Ryne Sandberg to Sammy Sosa. The whole franchise kinda captured my heart.
I was fortunate enough to return to the beautiful Friendly Confines in the summer of 2016, on July 4 no less. This time, our group included five as my boyfriend got to come with us. He had grown up a Cubs fan and it was his first game at Wrigley. That and the game itself only encouraged my love for the Cubs. Once again, they won (surprise, surprise) and beat out the Reds. I was so elated and eagerly followed their games until the end of the regular season. That’s when the chaos started.
All of a sudden, there was a minor explosion of people now cheering for the Cubs. The influx only increased as teams got eliminated and the Cubs advanced. Although I loved all the attention the Cubbies were receiving, I did not care for all the bandwagon fans who had previous loyalties. I know the Cubs were making history and receiving attention, but it still did not make complete sense why people were rooting for the Cubs as hard as they root for their own teams. The Cubs continued to advance and more people hopped on the bandwagon.
I was overjoyed and completely in shock that the Cubs won the World Series (the sign now reads AC0000000). After all, the Cubs are the second-oldest team in the league that is still in existence, after the Atlanta Braves, and they only have two previous World Series Championships (1907 and 1908). I watched or received updates throughout all seven games. I know that since neither team had won the World Series since 1948, history was going to be made either way. Every other baseball fan knew this as well. One of my favorite lines from the musical Hamilton is, “I know that greatness lies in you. But remember from here on in, history has its eyes on you.” Indeed, history had its eyes on both the Cubs and the Indians and history was definitely made.
I want to be upset at those of you that hopped on the Cubs bandwagon. I really do. For a while, I thought I was. I think part of me is, but a larger part of me is proud that you took notice of my favorite team. My dad said at the end of 2015 that he believed the Cubs could do it in 2016, and he was absolutely right. My only hope is that we gained some new fans, who though they may receive crap from the older generation of Cubs fans, will have an awesome story to tell future generations about how they became Cubs fans because the Cubs won the World Series after 108 years. I know not everyone has the same story of becoming a die-hard Cubs fan as I do, but at the end of the day we are still all Cubs fans. Just don’t be a hypocrite and bad-mouth the Cubs if they stop listening to Joe Maddon’s excellent advice of “Try not to suck.” The great thing about sports, especially baseball is its unpredictability. So cheer for your team when they win, cry when they lose, and be open to other people’s opinions of you and preference of team. However, I will continue to sing “Go Cubs Go!” and fly the W flag, regardless of who else joins the support. I may not have been born a Cubs fan, but I will surely die one.