Why We Cheer: I sorta walked right into it
Here's my two cents, adjusted for inflation.
I can't recall when it was I became a "serious" Cubs fan. Like most people who grew up in the Chicagoland area, I remember seeing the Cubs on WGN as a kid. At the time, I was mostly ticked off that they interfered with my cartoon-watching. (I've since changed, obviously.) I remember my brother - eight years older than me - pounding the floor when the Cubs screwed up (often). I have no idea why I'm a fan. My dad did NASCAR before it became a rich hick's sport. My mom wasn't into it (although she has since because of me). My brother, other than impressing me with his beating up on the floor probably doesn't care anymore (he also switched allegiance from the Bears to the Packers, for chrissake, so I don't really trust him knowwhatI'msayin'?).
It was the late 90s when I started really watching the games and paying attention. I lived in St. Paul for a stint, but when I moved back in '02, I would scrape the money together to buy tickets to a game and go watch with my cousin or take my nephew, and later, my niece.
By the time 2003 hit, I was a full blown headcase. Screaming, throwing shoes at my tv and wall headcase during the disaster that was the NLCS.
I have amnesia regarding '04-'06, and that's a good thing. I don't want to remember that asshattery. I went to Wrigleyville and stood outside the park (no ticket) Game 3 against AZ last year. I stood around, watching the tvs people had jerry-rigged up, hoping that we'd somehow pull through, only to be miserably crushed.
I love the field. I love the history. I love being at a game and going nuts with some miraculous come-from-behind-hit and you start high-fiving or hugging complete strangers. I love Ronnie and his absolute emotional honesty over the radio. Winter sucks; I fidget in the spring, waiting for opening day. I have spent more money on tickets and paraphenalia this year than I care to add up. I have raced around the city and burbs with friends to get autographs, done last minute road trips to Cincinnati because I was jonesing for a game. I hate the people who mock the Cubs, because I am waiting for the day when I get to say SEE! SEE! THEY DID IT! SCREW YOU!
If this were an actual relationship, this would be one of those "baby, I promise things will be different followed up by the fist to the gut everyone saw coming but you" relationships. Restraining orders, knives, cars running over people. Dirty nasty graveyard love. And I just can't walk away. I discarded a recent dating candidate in part because he couldn't care less about baseball, even though he grew up blocks from Wrigley. WTF? He was also a hairy bastard. A little manscaping please?
I believe the Cubs also serve as my way of promoting gender equality in sports viewership. Hey, guys, if you're gonna watch T&A beach volleyball, ogle cheerleaders, etc., I'm gonna go to a baseball game and enjoy some fine baseball player ass. (Dear Canada: Thank you for producing Rich Harden. Rrrowl.) A guy friend of mine, Michael, who has gone to games with me cracks up because I'll talk about someone's batting average or what not one second, and then go "Oooh! Mark's up, god is he hot!" There needs to be statistic for Hot Player Percentage. Just need to toss E6, Howry and Wuertz. (Dear Mark: Howry is in no way, shape or form an "Adonis". Just, NO.) I also swear like a sailor and it can get not-pretty. I told a Philly fan earlier this year to go fly a kite in a lightning storm because he was pissing me off and blocking my view. And then I started throwing peanuts at him. Until Michael made me stop. Damn him.
The damn Eddie Vedder song practically makes me cry. It's not loving them because of some "lovable loser" idiocy - it's because you know the day the Cubs do throw the monkey off their collective backs and beat it into bloody submission and thus proving the ESPN f***tards wrong, it is GOING TO FEEL SO GOOD. I love this team like crazy because it is a true "TEAM". It's not "Sosa and some other dudes." I love how these guys have each other's backs, and that on any given day, the most unlikely guy can be the spark. Hell, I was at the Cinci game where Marquis - MARQUIS! - freaking hit a home run. I thought the world was going to end right then. And that was before he pulled his grand slam against the Mets!
There's nothing rational about it. But I guess that's love for you.