Friday, April 01, 2011

From the Archives: The Sweet Pain of Being a Die-Hard Cubs Fan

...or in my case, being married to one

(Originally posted April 17, 2010)

My friend Tara, whose husband Joe is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, wrote this on Facebook today:

I love my 7 year old's optimism: "Mom the Cubs are almost in first place. If they can stay in first place long enough, they'll make the playoffs!!" Oh, it's going to be a long summer.

I had to laugh. Having been married to a die-hard Cubs fan for over 30 years, and being the mother of two more, I can SO relate.

The Friendly Confines

See that picture? You may think it's just a photograph of a baseball field, but oh no, it's SO much more.

That picture of Wrigley Field will strike a chord deep in the soul of every true Cubs fan. That diamond is the scene of a plethora of emotions experienced only by a baseball enthusiast who fanatically supports a team. Right now, it's a tremulous, yet undying sense of joyful anticipation.

The soundtrack of my marriage...

The soundtrack of my married life has not been provided by a particular musician or band. At least from April through September, it's been the sound of ambient stadium noise and the voices of announcers from Harry Caray to Steve Stone to Ron Santo--commenting in tones ranging from desultory and casual ("beautiful day here at the friendly confines") to wildly and frantically excited ("It might could IS!!!" "Cubs Win! Cubs Win!")

Riding in the car with my husband anywhere? Forget music. If there's a Cubs game on, that's what we'll be listening to.

Years ago, in a particularly good season for the Cubs, WGN's theme music coming in and out of the games--and on TV, as the credits were rolling--was Van Halen's "Jump." My husband is the furthest thing from a rock music fan, but I'll wager that if he ever hears that song, his heart leaps a little bit.

I know I can never hear its closing strains without also hearing a voice saying, "This has been a presentation of WGN Radio. Any reproduction without the express written consent of Major League Baseball...",etc.

Hope springs eternal...

Through the years of being repeatedly disappointed by the Cubs, my husband has learned to temper his emotions regarding the team. Yes, he'll gripe about their losses, but at the end of the summer, once he knows the Cubs are out of it, his attitude is one of quiet acceptance.

Despite never winning the World Series, the Cubs have brought him the kind of enjoyment and pleasure that is the seasoning of a well-lived life.

In April, hope springs in the heart of a die-hard Cubs fan as sure as the daffodils lift their sunny golden faces to the blue Illinois sky. That hope is as fresh and naive as that of Tara's 7-year-old son.

So let the fun begin. And if the Cubs don't make the play-offs?

There's always next year.

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