(actually just kidding I wrote a few words at the end if you’re interested in some sappy memories and a quick little rant about the gentrification of the Chicago Cubs)
I grew up playing softball, watching baseball, and going to Cubs games with my dad who was a lifelong fan and loved the game. We’d bring our gloves with us (just in case), wear a homemade shirt, and stock up on slurpees and hot dogs at the 7-11 across the street before the game. Some days we had great seats, sometimes the bleachers, but best of all were back against the fence in the upper section where you’d have a nice breeze blowing in behind you. I remember the park being half empty, never waiting in lines for the bathroom, and being able to move closer to the field to open seats after a few innings when it was clear the ticket holders were not showing up. When I moved downtown, I’d buy last minute tickets on Craigslist for a few dollars, and spend an afternoon or evening hanging out at Wrigley. One year, I even found a season ticket holder who gave me his number and told me to text him directly on days when I wanted tickets since he was happy to sell them to someone who loved the game. Cubs fans are good people, and season ticket holders are the most faithful of all.
The past few years have been totally different, and although the team has improved like crazy, the fan experience has not. I feel like the Cubs just got gentrified, and all of the lifelong true fans have been pushed out. It’s hard not to be bitter, but I have such great memories from when I was younger that I will hold on to and remember what it’s like to sit through a rain delay to watch a team that’s down by 11 in the 2nd and be totally thrilled about it. We had a neighbor who would watch every single game on her sunporch til the day she died. My dad honored her in the best way possible by “accidentally spilling” a cremation slurpee over the bleachers into the ivy a few years ago. This World Series win means more to people like her, and Ron Santo, and Ernie Banks, and the fans and players who loved the team no matter how awful they were, and built the franchise (I hate that term) into what it is today. I didn’t tear up once watching the game, but I’ve shed quite a few re-watching clips of old fans and players reminiscing about the past and their dedication and loyalty to the Cubs. Listening to Pat Hughes wishing Ron Santo was there to witness this, and reading all the stories of sons and daughters celebrating for their parents who would have loved to see this day are too much for me to handle. I hope that every player understands the weight of this win and that they look out over the crowd in Grant Park and remember that there are generations of fans who would have given anything to see this day.