Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Allowing Myself to Care

I have resisted for years.  Others became excited, and I was able to maintain my equanimity.  I'd been burned too many times before.

I threw myself into it while sitting in the bleachers, a $2.50 extravagance which the sun and the peanuts and the beers made worthwhile.  The game was played, and we watched and cheered and threw back home run balls hit into the stands by opposing players.

We wore Cubbies shirts and Cubbies caps and wrapped ourselves in plastic bags from the food vendors when the wind whipped up.  I had a wide array of gear, something for every season.  I bought Brother a Cubs jacket for his 30th birthday, which he exchanged for a Nationals jacket on his 60th birthday.  It was hard for me to buy something other than Cubbies blue, but he was cheering for his (new) hometown team and who was I to complain.

We'd listen to the cheers from our backyard, leaving the gardening and running inside to watch the televised replay.  We were six blocks from Wrigley Field.  We could walk to the games.

Ticket prices went up.  Friends moved away.  The Golden Gopher and his bride held their wedding party on a rooftop; we watched the game in the gloom as we celebrated their union.  Lights were installed, the neighborhood had parking stickers for residents only, and the stadium started to peel away from the rafters.  It was upgraded and refurbished and Jumbotrons were installed.

It was starting to feel like a regular ballpark, instead of the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

The only thing that never changed was the outcome at the end of the season.  The Cubs continued the longest drought in professional sports.

Then, 2015 arrived.  Back to the Future II announced a Cubbies victory in 2015.  A new manager arrived, one who couldn't be bothered talking about the curse.  Young players were groomed and brought up to the major leagues, players who had no idea of the long standing tradition of Oh, My.... they've lost again.

They had the best time at the end of the regular season, playing against the number one and number two teams in the league for the chance to get into the World Series.  They beat them both.

And then, they met the Mets.  The Mets, who defeated them in 1969.  The Mets, who have a deep bench and fantastic pitching. The Mets, who outplayed them and made it almost impossible to watch without wincing.

I went online to play Words With Friends, and found SIR and Little Cuter there, too.  Instead of apologizing for playing faux-

Scrabble while the Cubs were on tv, I commiserated with them.  The two most rabid fans I know were similarly distressed.

And now, with two minutes to go before the starting pitch, I am in a quandary.  Do I put on my tee shirt and yell GO CUBS?  Do I resign myself to the sinking feeling in my gut?  Do I continue to care?

I can't believe I've gone this far......
And now it's bottom of the ninth, the Cubs are down by three runs, and the Mets' closer is basically un-hittable.

On the other hand, with Rizzo and Castro and Soler coming to the plate ....young men whose existence was unknown to me a month ago... I am hopeful....

(Ground out to second)

.... and even though it's been an awful few hours, especially since the cameras are focusing on the forlorn fans in the stands....

(Another infield ground out)

and Big Cuter keeps calling to remind us that There's always next century.... and the rain is turning the batter's bx to mush as the count goes to 2-1.... and no one has gone home.  It's pouring rain and no one is cowering under the overhangs.  No one is paying any attention to anything but the final out... 3 balls and 2 strikes in the bottom of the 9th and we're down by 3 runs and the fans are cheering.

(He stood there.  Called third strike.... third out.... down 3-0 in the series....)

And yes, somehow, I still care.


  1. I have been watching and using my Cubs hooded sweatshirt bought at Wrigley some years ago. To no avail in this series. :(

    1. And yet,bedecked as we are, they continue to break our hearts. Ah, Little Cheese, we are fools in love <3

  2. And now it is Thursday morning! So sad for those young Cubs, the fans, the city, and my old Chicago bones...Judith.

    1. And now it is Sunday night, and we are in Illinois, and everyone is filled with Cubs love. No one is depressed; they are still waiting for next year.


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