Hurting the Ones I Love

Believe it or not, it’s hard for me to write this post today. I agonized over it for some time. Finally, my friend Andy sent me this article by George Will, and it has forced me to comment publicly. It argues, among other things, that rooting for a losing team causes the fan to enhance his ability to delay gratification and therefore improve reasoning skill. Will takes this interesting premise and uses it to encourage fans of that scrappy (rhymes with crappy) little ball club…the Chicago Cubs.

Seriously and with no sarcasm at all, I want to let this go with out comment. Most of my best friends and some of my family are desperate die hard Cubs fans. One of my very best friends pours hot coals on my head by generously following the Reds as well, causing me to ask myself why my heart is so malevolently cold as to refuse to do him the same courtesy. But, the fact remains that I am a deeply flawed individual, wholly incapable of taking the high road in this case.

George Will’s premise may well be true for the fans of a great number of clubs, and was almost certainly true for the Boston faithful until a few years ago. It is not true, however, for ‘fans’ of the Chicago Cubs. With obvious exceptions, my experience with most Cub fans is that they don’t really care about winning and losing, but rather the ‘fun’ of hanging out at Wrigley and drinking. Now most of those have been priced out by rich people who like the status symbol of…hanging out at Wrigley and drinking. Implying that there is some kind of real psychic scar involved with being a Cubs fan means that you believe the Cubs fans actually understand the action on the field or really care if the team wins or loses. In most cases, I simply don’t buy it.

I know there were real tears shed by real fans as the Cubs kicked the ball around the infield last night. I know many a true fan wondered if the basepaths and not just the walls were coated with ivy after watching that futile display of fielding ability. But the simple fact remains, that for the majority of Northside fans, it simply doesn’t matter if the Cubs win or lose. They show up, drink, and act obnoxious (home or away!) if the Cubs are in first or last. Their happiness is only slightly connected to actual performance on the field, and even then only to the extent that they get to sing if they win. Most of them still haven’t figured out that Fukudome isn’t actually a good player and are all primed to punch him into next years All Star Game (along with their yearly write-in vote last generation’s most overrated player: Shawn Dunston). Their reasoning skills aren’t heightened by rooting for the Cubs…they don’t follow the Cubs for wins and losses; they follow them becuase they like to drink (thus expressing their masculinity) and because bear cubs are cute (thus providing an outlet for their more latent tendencies).

So now I’ve gone and done it. I’ve ranted on Cubs fans again. I hate myself for it, but there it is. For the true blue among you, I apologize. Hating the Cubs is as much a sickness for me as loving them is for you. Best of luck in game three. At least you’ll have a new right fielder!

There is (almost) always hope!
Oh, and if anyone knows where I can score a nice Manny jersey…let me know.

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