Monday, October 19, 2015

Chicago Cubs' Postseason Dreams Unite

We are a Cubs family. When I was in elementary school, we were season ticket holders for years. Dad and I would go to games, but Mom never had much interest. As I got older, I got to bring my friends from school to the games with her ticket. My dad spent a week in Arizona at Cubs Fantasy Camp, my parents have an “A Cubs Fan Lives Here” sign in their front yard, and my dad has had CUBZ FAN on his license plates from the day you were allowed to go from 6 characters to 7.

Mom doesn’t understand any sports. She listens to me when I go on and on about stupid plays Jay Cutler made, or when I rave about Aaron Rodgers, and she spends time reading every article I write for although I imagine for her, it’s the same as if I were to hand her an article written in another language. Yet, she is absolutely glued to each Chicago Cubs game, since the Postseason has begun. She texts me throughout the game with comments and anxiety and thoughts on the plays. She doesn’t understand the rules, but that doesn’t matter. We can still watch the games together in our own homes and share the excitement of the chance.

It’s not easy to be a Cubs fan. We haven’t won a World Series in any of my family members’  lifetimes. Chicagoans like a challenge however, and we’re up for them and aim to overcome. It’s not like Southern California is some mythical place, we know it exists, we recognize that there’s no snow there, yet we still stay in Chicago despite freezing pipes, cancelled school days and brutal winters.

Chicago is consistently named one of the “Top 5 Friendliest Cities.” Chicagoans love to talk, and we especially love to talk about Chicago. Our city gives us a lot to connect on, we’ve got two Major League Baseball teams with their respective fans depending on where on the city map you grew up, we have the Chicago Blackhawks and their own winning records, and of course, we have the Chicago Bulls. Mention you grew up in Chicago to anyone over the age of 20 and somehow Michael Jordan’s name will still be brought up in the conversation. Walking through Chicago, you might think there is a game being played year round with any of our teams. We wear our pride on our clothing, with flags hanging from the windows of our cars, and many Chicagoans sport some sort of Chicago tattoo. We also connect around our city’s world-class food scene, the weather, and have you seen our architecture?

Social Media has facilitated the unity the Cubs postseason continues to provide. On social, we connect with like-minded people in various communities, and #FlyTheW has helped us to establish new communities, and find other Cubs fans within our existing communities in cities around the world. Maybe it’s a bandwagon, maybe people like to root for an underdog, or maybe hard-core MLB fans are just happy there’s still baseball being played in late October. I’m fine with it. Join us. We’re friendly, right? And just as welcoming. There will always be seats for new Chicago fans on our wagons. It’s fun to watch the Cubs games on Twitter. I enjoy seeing who is rooting for and against me, and I’ve even got some friends in New York that I look forward to smack talking with before each game and after each scored run. I’ve met more people online to chat with because of the Cubs. I’ve found I’ve got more things in common and more to talk about with friends, both online and off, because of the Cubs.

In what might be the ultimate literal symbol of unity, Mom has agreed that if the Chicago Cubs win the World Series, she will get a Cubs tattoo. I have 32 tattoos. 16 years ago, the day before I was going to get my first one, I asked her to come with me. Our family dog had just died, and I was going to take one of my mom’s photographs of him and get it tattooed on me in remembrance. She wouldn’t come. Throughout the years as I added to my tattoo art collection, I’ve asked her to join me and still, she wouldn’t come. I told her I would accompany her to HER first tattoo, and I, too, would get whatever Cubs image she chooses. More ways the Chicago Cubs Postseason will hopefully be uniting us. So, Cubs, win or lose, I’m already winning.