Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Why We Cheer: What It Means To Me To Be a Devoted Chicago Cubs Fan...

It's almost impossible for me to put into words what it means to me to be a die-hard, lifelong fan of the Chicago Cubs.

When I have attempted to put that meaning to writing in the past...some people have responded by calling me crazy.  Some have responded by saying that the Chicago Cubs are "trivial". They tell me the Cubs aren’t, in the grand scheme of things, that important to my life. They try to make me “understand” that I'm foolish to invest so much of myself in the success of a team that I have no “real” connection to.

Because of my love for the Cubs, I've suffered through some of my darkest days.  I've endured insults.  I've been mocked.  I've been subjected to torture both physical and mental at the hands and mouths of foes and supposed "friends" alike. People have called me a "loser"; they've laughed in my face as my heart broke...year after year.  Because of my love, I've been through all kinds of hell that I wager to say many people and even sports fans can't even imagine; well...with the exception of the Red Sox fans I know.

To all those people, to my friends and foes, I say this; watch all the videos and read all the stories at this page...

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/eticket/story?page=cubs100

If after taking all of that in, they still can't understand or respect what it means to me to be a Cubs fan...what that team means to me, then perhaps they never will.  But, maybe I can feebly attempt to at least try to help them understand...

I know what the Cubs mean to me.  I'm aware of the fact that they have captured my heart in a way that few things or people in my life ever have.  I know that my passion for them goes deeper than almost everything else in my life; and this passion is rooted in something deep and meaningful.

I remember my first Cubs game so fondly and clearly. My family took me when I was still just a young boy, and from that day on, I was hopelessly lost to the magic of the Cubs and Wrigley Field.  From that first walk up the stairs to the Terrace Reserved section to my most recent trip there this past June, Wrigley Field is my "home".  It is my "mecca"...it is a place I dream of both during the day and while I sleep at night.  It's a place where the incredible can happen, where losses pierce your heart like the sharpest arrow, wins can bring you to euphoria that rivals any major life event, and where the impossible can be accomplished.  It's a place where the grass is greener than any I've ever laid eyes on in all my travels, and where the sky is brighter and more blue than any ocean.  It's where I want to be laid to rest when I finally leave this Earth because it, like the team itself, means more than the sum of its parts.  It's where my love was born...and where I go to affirm that love.

And, despite all the pain I've endured, all the vitriol and bile that's been directed at me because of it (for reasons that are still quite unclear to me, honestly. Even I was happy for White Sox fans when their beloved team finally won “The Big One” in 2005), I know that my love and my hope will always be a part of me.  What's more, I've passed my love on to both my wife and my beautiful niece; and I know that if I leave this Earth before they do, they will always root for the Cubbies.  What's more, if the Cubs don't win a World Series until after I am gone, my wife and niece and those who know and love me will celebrate in my memory, they will think of me, and they will thank me for passing that part of who I am on to them.

When I think of the Cubs, I usually think of one-word associations and memories; Harry. Addison.  Clark.  Sheffield.  Prior.  Bartman.  Maddux.  Dawson.  Sandberg.  Grace.  WGN. Chicago.  Zambrano.  Wrigley.  Goat.  Curse.  Love.  But, as you have already likely surmised, it's obviously not that simple.  The Cubs, like their Home Field, are more than the sum of these parts...these associations and recollections.

To me, and to so many others, they are more because they symbolize something greater; hope, loyalty, endurance, love, pride, tenacity, the strength to carry-on, the ability to keep a dream alive...EVERYTHING that I hold near and dear to my heart, that makes me who I am, that signifies all that I believe in...

...and no matter how bad things get, I will ALWAYS believe.  I will always hope.  And I need...and deserve to have that hope, belief, and faith rewarded.

So, maybe after watching the videos and reading the stories on those pages...and after reading this blog, maybe some of the people I’m trying to reach will understand.  Or, at the very least, they'll begin to respect and understand what the Chicago Cubs and my love for them mean to me.  It's not up for debate as to whether or not this love is unhealthy (of course it's unhealthy to some degree).  But, perhaps, at the very least, they'll now refrain from or at least think twice before making wise-cracks to my face about the Cubs.

Because, if nothing more, I'm hoping they'll understand...

what it means to me...

to be a Cubs fan.

Go, Cubs, go.

 

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