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Chicago sports

Peter Durbin | Friday, April 12, 2013

“Oh no, here we go again.”  It’s a phrase any Chicago sports fan knows. Throughout the city’s illustrious sports history, certain events, some seemingly an act of God, have brought these words to the lips of Cubs, White Sox, Blackhawks and Bears fans alike.
The fact the city has survived the infamous Steve Bartman, the Billy Goat curse and a lack of a World Series appearance since 1945 (and that’s only the Cubs) leads me to claim Chicago as the quintessential American sports city.  
Although Boston used to lay claim to the most unlucky sports city, recent successes of the Patriots, Red Sawx, Celtics and Bruins makes me beg to differ.
A little reference for non-Chicagoans: In my 20 years, I am able to remember just one championship. The Blackhawks, riding a wave of young talent spearheaded by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, defeated the Philadelphia Flyers to win the 2010 Stanley Cup. In the past 10 years, Boston sports teams have won a combined seven championships.
My detractors will point to the six NBA championships the Bulls won in the 90s, to which I will reply, “It should have been a minimum eight-peat, Bob,” in my best Bill Swirsky voice. Yes, Chicagoans were spoiled by the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. The Bulls in recent seasons are finally returning to the same level of competitiveness, but these strides forward have produced no new championships.
The beloved Bears, who have won exactly one championship in the Super Bowl era, are topic of constant conversation. Tickets to a game at Soldier Field may be the hottest ticket in town outside of “The Book of Mormon.”  How many other cities possess such a rabid football fan base that their team could not win a championship in 50 years and still sell out every game?
What other city could still embrace a team that hasn’t won anything since William Howard Taft was the president?  Wrigley Field is an essential tourist spot for anyone visiting the city.  Although it’s become more of a social event in the bleachers for twenty-somethings looking to let their hair down, there is still a very large contingent of diehard Cubs fans that bleed Cubby blue. Only recently have these fans allowed their distaste with the new ownership and a terrible product on the field reflect on their attendance at games.
Chicago embraces the name “The Second City.” Our sports teams are rightfully blue collar to reflect their fan base. The sense of camaraderie between Chicago sports fans is unparalleled.  It stems from a century-old feeling of anguish, followed by infinite optimism every April, September and October.  These teams can break the city’s collective heart, but we keep on coming back.  We can forget the feeling of “Oh no, here we go again” better than any other city’s fans.  Because of this collective “amnesia,” Chicago is the American sports city.

Contact Peter Durbin at pdurbin@nd.edu
The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.