about me: a Cub fan’s story
Mid-July, 2008. My dad and I sat in his shaded backyard and listened to the late day game. I never remembered my dad watching the Cubs on television; but always, he listened to it on the radio.
The chemo had worn out his body, so we sat silent and listened to Ron Santo and Pat Hughes call the game. Cheers from the radio were punctuated with our occasional laughter as Pat teased Ron about his sweaters, and the Cubs won another game that summer.
That was the last day I spent with my dad. He died three weeks later.
The Cubs went deep into the playoffs that year. I cried and listened over and over to Eddie Vedder’s, Someday We’ll Go All the Way, and I hoped that maybe this was the year. It wasn’t. And when they lost, I felt like my dad died all over again.
Ron Santo left us a couple years later, and I lost all hope that I’d ever see the Cubs win the World Series in my lifetime. I thought of Eddie Vedder’s lyrics, “the home of our joy and our tears,” and knew that being a Cubs fan meant living with loss, and distant hope.
For me, being a Cubs fan isn’t just about smack talk and winning and knowing my team is better than the rest. It’s about family, place, and grief. It’s a thread that ties a lifetime of memories together. And it reminds me that someday, after all the pain of loss, joy awaits.
Addendum: I wrote this on the verge of the NLCS series against the Dodgers. With that series concluded and the Cubs heading to World Series, I cried again. They were tears that people like my dad and Ron Santo never saw this moment. But mostly, they were tears of joy.