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On being a Cubs fan

Matt Gamber | Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Trust me: you don’t understand how it feels.

I don’t want to hear a thing from those Red Sox fans that endured 90-plus years without winning a Series before the floodgates opened with two in the last few years.

Not a peep from the Buffalo Bills supporters that saw Jim Kelly lead them to four straight Super Bowl appearances before watching the likes of Scott Norwood kick it all away wide right.

And not a word from any rooter of any NBA team that hasn’t won in awhile – it is the post-Jordan NBA, after all, which means it’s not even worth discussing.

Honestly, I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, or what your team has (or better yet, hasn’t) done since God-knows-when. You don’t get it – you can’t possibly get it – the way I do.

I’m a Cubs fan. Die-hard. Bleed Cubby blue. All that junk.

And for all the overpaid players I’ve worshipped, the overpriced tickets I’ve bought, and the over-worn apparel I’ve outgrown, I haven’t seen a single World Series. Not even one World Series game.

But the Cubs were close, you’ll say, back in 2003 (yes, that Bartman game you may have heard of). Take it from somebody who knows – coming so close only makes it worse.

Take it from somebody who may or may not have shed a tear when then-phenom Mark Prior gave up the lead with less than a handful of outs to go before a Wrigleyville eruption and a World Series berth.

Take it from somebody who may or may not have broken the back door of his house by throwing a baseball after Kerry Wood gave up a run in the first inning of that fateful Game 7 loss to the Marlins – those same Marlins who didn’t even exist for the first 85 years of the now 100-year Cubs’ championship drought and have now won two titles since 1997.

And yet, here I sit, watching anxiously as the immortal Ronny Cedeno and Felix Pie lift the Cubs to a mid-April victory that I can only see as another step toward a distant October celebration that cynics (hard to believe I’m not one, right?) don’t believe can ever come to Chicago’s North Side. But why?

Because there’s nothing better than blasting “Go, Cubs Go” before a playoff game.

Because there’s nothing as nostalgic as sitting in the stands for a vintage Cubbie comeback (or more likely, collapse).

Because ther’s nothing more exciting than watching the autumn leaves fall but the ivy on Wrigley’s walls remain intact for significant baseball well past the dog days of summer.

Because there’s nothing more heartwarming than watching your wheelchair-ridden grandmother cheer on her team the way you do yours.

And most importantly, it’s because I know that every 100 years, like clockwork, things click into place for the Cubs. This year’s the year.