There is a disease that is mostly unique to Chicago North Siders although I understand some people have experienced similar symptoms in other cities and countries. I’m speaking, of course, of blind spiritual devotion to the Chicago Cubs baseball team. Once the fever is caught, it is known to last a lifetime. Efforts are made by those with affiliation to other baseball clubs to try to detoxify those of us who indulge in Cubbie Blues but most adherents are resigned to die hard.
Let’s gets this understood- devotion to the Cubs does not equate with belief that they are good and capable of dominating other teams. In fact, we are resigned to failure. Daily disappointment gives us a reason to be upset and aggravated. It’s an excellent jump start for the heart.
A Cubs fan is used to disappointment and has learned to place blame where it belongs- overpaid, lousy ballplayers, clueless managers, and indifferent ownership. We become jaded and suspect of anything that is good because we know it cannot last long- that something is bound to happen to turn glad into sad. When the team was being prepared a couple of years ago for sale, we hoped that the new owners would be true aficionados of the sport with an impatience for excellence. When the new owners were revealed to be in it for the money and not willing to throw out the expensive trash, Cubs fans didn’t jump off building ledges. We just figured it was par for the course.
A Cubs fan is envious of anyone who hails from St. Louis. And he wishes a hurricane on Florida. A true Cub fan believes that anyone sitting in the stands who interferes with an effort by a Cubs defender to field a ball should be sent to Joliet Prison.
A true Cubs fan knows not to shake hands with Moises Alou or borrow Flintstones vitamins from Sammy Sosa. A real Cubs fan knows that sculpted monuments sitting outside a ballpark are foolish for a team that has not won a World Series since before the Titanic sunk.
A real Cubs fan does not hang out at alcoholic-serving bars before or after games to commiserate with fellow junkies. Instead, we mouth off to anyone and everyone on the aggravating ride back on the El train from whence we came.
A Cubs fan prays that one day his team will surprise the rest of the world and win a championship. We are just not sure if it will be before or after the Rapture.
Being a Cubs fan means treating anything written by a local baseball scribe with suspicion- that he must be a White Sox (phew) fan. We also know that the American League was formed more than one hundred years ago to give second class ball clubs a chance to excel which is why the last team to brag a title plays minor league ball on the South Side.
And the Ultimate Cubs fan knows that even if the world didn’t come to an end on May 25, 2011, there is always next year.