Yes, I’m a fan of that franchise.
Last World Series championship? 106 years ago. Last NL Pennant? 69 years ago. Last playoff appearance? 6 years ago.
There’s no doubt that being a Cubs fan offers pain to each and every helpless soul to walk into the Friendly Confines. Yet regardless of how bad the Boys in Blue are, it just seems as if Chicago stands behind them, with a substantial degree of unwavering support.
I’m just 18 years old, so I’m not going to pretend like I experienced and lived through the bulk of the pain. I don’t know what it was like to see the collapse in 1969, or the playoff losses in 1984 and 1989, or the years of futility that followed in the 1990′s, partially because I wasn’t born until 1996.
Which means my first memory of Cubs disappointment was 2003. I was born into being a Cubs fan, just as many people in Chicago are. Being one of the most tradition rich franchises, I instantly fell in love with everything. Wrigley Field, Wrigleyville itself, the colors, the fan base.
2003 was the year where everyone united. I was a mere seven years old, but my vivid memories of watching the Bartman game will never go away. The energy that reverberated throughout Chicago was fascinating, even seeing some White Sox fans jump on board, because “this one was for the city”.
I’m not one to blame Steve Bartman, and I’m not one to just think back at the numerous things that could have been done that would have resulted in a World Series appearance for the Cubs that season. The only thing I know for a fact, is that we will never know what the 2003 team would have done in the World Series.
We will never know what the electric 2004 team would have done in the postseason, if it wasn’t for their late season collapse.
We will never know what the 2008 team would have become if James Loney didn’t hit the 5th inning grand slam in Game 1 that let every Cubs fan know that this wasn’t the year.
I’m more pleased by the current memories I have now, and the ones that are waiting ahead in the future. Memories such as sitting in the car at a tollway oasis with my father, watching Starlin Castro’s first MLB at-bat live, an at-bat that resulted in a three-run homer. The memory of excitement throughout Chicago, when Anthony Rizzo was first called up to the big leagues. What is left, is the anticipation of what it may become.
The majority of Cubs fans remain optimistic today, looking forward to an incredible farm system that appears to be the strongest there has ever been on the North Side. Knowing that the everlasting losing culture that has been relevant for the Cubs for generations, finally feels like it’s dissipating.
2014 is not the year for the Cubs, and there wasn’t anybody who believed that the Cubs would take the MLB by storm and make the postseason, let alone win a World Series this year. The wheels are moving, and the gears are changing. The Chicago Cubs are finally beginning to discover a future.
The atmosphere at Wrigley Field is changing, and many fans are starting to believe. It’s the belief in an event that would be the biggest event in sports history. A franchise ridiculed constantly for its’ consistent failure finally being able to be on top.
Being a Cubs fan isn’t fun a lot of times. A win in Wrigleyville feels monumental regardless of the circumstances. That ounce of belief is what keeps fans in the stands, the bars packed, and the city believing. Forget the heartbreaks of 1969, 1984, 1989 and 2003. From the testimony of my father, those events shook the city of Chicago, and left the corner of Clark and Addison Street feeling like a gruesome crime scene.
These heartbreaks will all be forgotten for one year. For one chance at it all. This opportunity would not be a victory for Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro, who had played through the rough days. This opportunity would not be a victory for the Chicago Cubs, or Tom Ricketts, or Theo Epstein. This opportunity would be a victory for Chicago, Illinois. A victory for the game of baseball, and for sports overall. A victory for my father, who has followed the Cubs tirelessly for 53 years to no avail. A victory to the countless other family members who have lived long enough to see a man on the Moon and experience several wars firsthand, yet not a Cubs World Series championship.
If this mystical and incredible event ever does occur, the victory and rejoice will be felt throughout the United States, and not just in Chicago. An event that would leave the United States collectively uttering the word,