Chicago Cubs: Sometimes, it’s difficult being a fan of this team

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

When you used to meet a Chicago Cubs fan, likely they were fans from birth. After 2016 it’s got trickier knowing when a person became a fan. In the end, we’re ALL Cubs’ fans–until we get on social media.

I’m not sure what ‘ruined’ Chicago Cubs‘ fans more — winning the World Series or social media. I think one is the byproduct of the other. I’m just not sure which is which. The Cubs have been the ‘lovable losers’ for most of my almost 40 years.

Only in the last five years have they broken that label. Sure, they had some excellent years along the way. But nothing was sustained. This has been the best five-year stretch I’ve seen watching the Cubs. But people are so angry with this team.

First, I’m not blaming the ‘new’ fans or even the ‘bandwagon’ fans. I turn 40 on July 16. My love for the Cubs started when I was born. My family was from Chicago, and not the Southside. I’ve seen a little bit of good, a little bit of bad from the Cubs.

But I’ve stood my ground as a fan through all those hard years. Some say the first hat you get; you’ll likely be a fan of that team. Well, that was true for me. And I’m pretty sure that track jacket my brother is wearing has come back in style.

Years ago, when you were talking with the average Cubs’ fan, almost everyone was optimistic. ‘We’re bad now, but wait ’til this guy gets up.’ Or, ‘He had a down year, he’ll bounce back next year.’ The only thing is, none of that happened. Most years, we weren’t very good, and we accepted that. There wasn’t much division between Cubs’ fans. So you would think when we experienced good times, we would unite. But, alas, that hasn’t been the case.

2016 was a year that I thought I wouldn’t get to experience. The Cubs were near wire-to-wire winners of the division. And while it didn’t come easy, the Cubs walked off the field in Cleveland World Series Champions. My father, who was alive for the1945 series, got to see them win. I didn’t realize how important that moment would be for the two of us.

Fast forward to June 2018. My chronic headaches and high blood pressure turn out to be brain cancer, a Glioblastoma. My father just a short time later finds out he has not only prostate cancer but bone cancer, as well. He’s 82 now, celebrated his birthday on July 5. He’s not worried about cancer. When you’re 82? You never know when your last birthday will be.

I turn 40 next week, still a die-hard Cubs’ fan, and plan to make my daughter Adeline one, too. First hat or headband? Same thing. Living in Charlotte now, I don’t have as many ‘run-ins’ with Cubs’ fans. I usually have to find them in groups or…on Chicago Cubs Twitter. That can be a scary place — so much anger. Against players, coaches, front offices, vendors, parking attendants, the guy selling peanuts outside of Wrigley and most of all, other fans.

I’m the eternal optimist. In my case, with brain cancer and a Cubs’ fan, I need to be. But I’ve always been that way. And finally, the Cubs have turned that ‘lovable loser’ tag to ‘perennial winners.’ And people are still pissed. If you’re a new fan, bone up on Cubs history, you’ll understand people like myself. If you’re a Cubs fan from way back–even before my time? You get it.

Next. Maddon is fighting for his job in Chicago. dark

I think we need to conclude that we are ALL Chicago Cubs’ fans. We can bicker about how someone is playing. We can be mad that Joe Maddon sat Javier Baez. But the hate I see on social media? It really does make it hard to be a fan at times. But I stood by them when they were those lovable losers. So I’ll hang around for these good years, too.