A Struggling Cubs Fan

There is one aspect of blogging that I have not been able to fully grasp. That would be timeliness. I could not pull myself together and organize my thoughts to write anything after the three-game sweep to the Dodgers. I would imagine that you were all experiencing the same feelings that swept through me.
How could this happen? How can a team look so consistently dominant for 162 games and then crumble in the playoffs? I have no answers. I don’t even want to talk baseball. I haven’t watched a playoff game since that Saturday night that Andy and I huddled around a campfire listening to Pat and Ron call the final Cubs game of the “magical” 2008 season.

So where do we go from here? Forget the Cubs, I’m not talking about them. We have the next four or five months to over-analyze the roster changes and line-up adjustments. This time right now, this is our time. Us Cubs fans deserve a good amount of time to forget analyzing this team and focus on ourselves. We got screwed over. Don’t tell me we aren’t owed anything. Look at what we’ve suffered through. If there is such a thing as fans that deserve a championship, it’s us.

 

I have gone through the gamut of emotions. For a very brief period of time, I decided I was done with the Cubs. I couldn’t take the heartbreak anymore. I can’t accurately say how long this lasted. It may have been minutes, it may have been a day. It’s all pretty foggy.

My wife, Tawny, helped me get from that stage to the next. I was explaining to her (probably close to tears) that I was done with them. They had hurt me for the last time. Nobody deserved this and I needed to just suck it up and walk away. She explained to me that I owed it to my Grandpa to stick with the Cubs. I mention in my first blog on Ivy Envy that he was responsible for initiating my loyalty to the Cubs. He passed away in 1987 and Tawny asked “How could you explain to him why you left the Cubs?” I had a pretty good idea of how to explain it to him. “…then they spent 136 million dollars on this dude that is hitting .107 in playoff games with the Cubs!“ But then I realized that he went from 1945 to 1984 without even so much as a playoff game. If he could suffer with zero satisfaction for 39 years, I can stick with a team that has been to the playoffs four times in the last ten years, right?

So then I decided that I was going to stick with the Cubs, but I would keep my distance. I wasn’t going to give them my heart again. They couldn’t be trusted. I wouldn’t follow them on a daily basis and allow my moods to be controlled by Aramis Ramirez’s pop fouls, Alfonso Soriano’s maddening streakiness, and Derek Lee’s double plays. I wouldn’t get excited about a great outing by Zambrano or clutch at-bats by Ryan Theriot, Reed Johnson or Mike Fontenot. I might check the box scores and standings to see how they are doing, but that’s it. I wouldn’t give them any of my money, that’s for sure. I’ve got a few shirts and hats. It’s amazing how long clothing will last you as an adult. When I was a kid, hats would last me a year, tops. But as an adult, my shirts should last me 8 or 10 years and my hat should last me 3 years. I’m sure as hell not giving them any money to go see them play. After all, it’s such a headache to go to games up there. Parking sucks and tickets are ridiculously overpriced. I can only assume that with the ownership changes and recent “success”, ticket prices will go up. It makes so much sense. I’m not turning my back on the Cubs. I’m just not giving them such priority.

But there is one thing I did not take into account. I realized after the Cubs collapsed that you can’t rationalize feelings. When you are in a relationship, you can’t adequately describe why you love the one you’re with. You can try to explain why you love the one you’re with, but your case won’t be strong enough for me or anyone else to understand to the degree that I would feel the same about that person. So it’s just something you have and you usually have very little control over those feelings. You can’t turn them off. And I can’t turn off my loyalty to the Cubs. My brain can come up with a laundry list of reasons that I shouldn’t love the Cubs, but my heart won’t allow me to fully separate. Yes, they hurt me and it might take some time to get over this. But I can pretty much guarantee that by next April, the hope of a winning season and a World Series ring will fill the holes in my heart that the 2008 Cubs left.

I fully realized that I couldn’t “quit” the Cubs, or probably even create a little distance between myself and the Cubs today. I was at a Salvation Army, sorting through other people’s junk with my little girls. I was browsing through the t-shirts and found a Zambrano shirt and a Ramirez shirt. They are in great shape and I snagged them instantly, immediately trying to rank these two shirts (3 bucks apiece) in my thrift shop finds of the year rankings. It was at this point, as I am practically giddy with satisfaction with my find that I realize my heart hasn’t quit the Cubs. I stood there for a few seconds to contemplate this situation. These shirts are nearly new. Someone bought these this year. Someone quit the Cubs and destroyed the evidence. Now I’m not one that buys into all of the ruckus about a curse. But walking out of that Salvation Army I had to wonder if these t-shirts were, indeed the find of the year, or if I received a hand-me-down curse from someone that has finally managed for their head to keep their heart in check.

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One Response

  1. I hope you enjoy my t-shirts!

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