As another baseball season comes to an end and the playoffs begin, I have to state my belief that growing up a Cubs fan prepared me for life.
I grew up in Minnesota. I love hockey, snow, fishing, and Golden Gopher football. However, my parents are transplants; they grew up on the north side of Chicago. Although my dad permitted his children to grow up Minnesotan, he never allowed my brothers and me to be anything but the loyalist of Chicago Cubs fans. Growing up a Cubs fan prepared me for the inevitable ups and downs of life.
Being a Cubs fan taught me that life has no designated hitters. The Chicago Cubs (like all National Leaguers) don’t let others take their at bat. I must go to bat for myself. No one else should have to take my strikeout for me. And no one should be allowed to take my out-of-the-park, game-winning home run.
Growing up a Cub taught me to love simplicity. Other teams try to entertain their fans during lulls in the game. There are t-shirt giveaways and trivia games on the Jumbo-tron. There are people dressed in sausage costumes racing around the warning track. The Cubs don’t entertain. No flashing lights and dancing mascots distract or detract. When I attend a game at Wrigley Field, I watch unadorned, down-to-earth baseball.
Life isn’t easy. I don’t always get what I want. Being a Cubs fan prepared me for this too. The Cubs stink. They often have a losing record, or at least, not a great winning record. Sometimes, against all odds and despite all my efforts, I lose. Being a Cubs fan taught me to take loss in stride. “You win some and you lose some,” as the old adage says.
Most importantly, growing up a Cubs fan taught me that hope does spring eternal. I am often reminded of my grandfather when I hear that saying. He has been a diehard Cubs fan for 80 years. He has seen the Cubs do well; he has seen the Cubs fail miserably. Yet every spring, he can be overheard telling anyone that will listen, “This is the Cubbies’ year! I just know it!” Even when I feel as if I’ve hit rock bottom, I remind myself to be hopeful. Being down eight runs and coming back to win the game isn’t impossible. And even if the miraculous doesn’t happen, tomorrow is another day and every spring is a new season.
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