Today is the Chicago Cubs' home opener at Wrigley Field.
A few years ago, that would have barely elicited a yawn from me...although hope sprang eternal for my lifelong Cubs fan husband.
But I have become a real fan. I care about each game, I look forward to experiencing the excitement of a game at Wrigley Field again, I check the scores, I have my favorite players.
No, I can't lay claim to being a diehard fan like my husband, who has followed them and rooted them on through thick and thin...through years of when being a Cubs fan was a big old joke to most people.
But guess what? No one's laughing now.
Six years ago, I wrote a post I titled "The Sweet Pain of Being a Diehard Cubs Fan."
I talked about what it's like being married to such a fan...watching their excitement on Opening
Day that gradually turned to disappointment and then resignation:
"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. ..
So let the fun begin. And if the Cubs don't make the play-offs?
There's always next year."
|My husband Doug (far right) at his happy place|
But things have changed since I wrote that post. For one thing, the Cubs now have a president of baseball operations named Theo Epstein who helped lift a curse from the Boston Red Sox, and who many believe is doing the same for the Cubs.
They have a rich roster of talent and a manager, Joe Maddon, who seems to know exactly what to do with this wealth.
The Cubs are mostly young and excited and FUN to watch. And they WIN! They do a lot of winning.
The other day my husband said to me with wonder in his voice, "The Cubs are GOOD."
That's how being a Cubs fan has changed. Yes, diehard Cubs fans like my husband will never be able to completely relax and enjoy the season without a niggling fear that it's all going to fall apart. There will always be disappointments, like the loss of Kyle Schwarber for the season due to an injury.
Diehard Cubs fans have endured years and years of bitter disappointment and shattered dreams.
But Opening Day is different now. Because the Cubs ARE GOOD. And hope is stronger than ever.
This could be the year.