Loving the old ballgame
by Jennifer Cohron
Oct 16, 2011 | 1470 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The World Series starts this week. Zac’s beloved Chicago Cubs aren’t in it.

In other breaking news, the grass is green and the sky is blue.

When Zac and I started dating in 2008, he told me that the Cubs had not won the World Series in a while (try 1908). However, he assured me, “This is the year.”

I would later realize Cubs fans say that coming out of the womb, but then I had no reason to doubt my man when he said the longtime “Lovable Losers” were going to be champions.

Unfortunately, the Cubs were swept in the first round of the playoffs.

The only explanation Zac offered me about the loss was that the team just didn’t show up. He was disappointed but not surprised.

Yet eight months later he proudly wore his personalized Cubs jersey to our baseball-themed wedding. We smiled as we cut our Wrigley Field cake and then drove to Atlanta to watch the Cubs take on the Braves.

The Cubbies, true to form, blew a six-run lead in honor of our honeymoon.

They have gotten progressively worse each season since then. This year they finished 25 games back in their division.

Maybe I was destined to marry into a baseball curse.

I was born the year that the Red Sox saw their shot at a title slip away when a ground ball infamously got past first baseman (and former Chicago Cub) Bill Buckner.

I graduated from high school the year that the Babe finally let the Sox win the World Series.

I am now convinced that at some point in our marriage the Red Sox and Cubs will face each other in the championship game and somehow they will both lose.

I have asked Zac if we can choose a new favorite team that hasn’t had one lousy century already and seems headed toward a second. He knows I’m only joking, though.

I always get him a Cubs gift for his birthday or Christmas. One of the only pieces of art hanging in our living room is a framed poster featuring Wrigley Field titled “Fans shed light on the game.”

I used to beg Zac to take me to Hawaii once before I die. Now my big dream is to make it to Wrigley and touch the ivy with him.

I knew I had officially earned my blue pinstripes when an author came to the office several weeks ago to talk about his new gothic horror novel and somehow I sidetracked us into a discussion about the Cubs.

Zac and I are far from the only crazy Cubs fans.

Despite finding new ways of being pathetic, the Cubs are consistently in the top three when it comes to attendance at home and can expect to see about as many friendly faces in the stands when they go on the road.

Why are Cubs fans so devoted to a team they know will likely always let them down?

I think some people are just born to bleed Cubbie blue.

For example, Zac became a Cubs fan by watching games with his grandpa. He introduced the team to our infant son by singing “Go Cubs Go” as a lullaby. Wyatt also received a Cubs hat from us for his first birthday.

Since Wyatt has had a mind of his own since the day he was born, I expect that he will eventually rebel and announce that he is a Cardinals fan. However, I know my guys will both cherish the memories they make watching and playing baseball together through the years.

I have come to realize that the game itself is special. As Ken Burns put it, “It is about time and timelessness, speed and grace, failure and loss, imperishable hope and coming home.”

Although it is an old cliché, a typical baseball season mirrors life.

It starts in the spring when we are excited about the possibilities that stretch out before us. The summer is often good to us for a while but then fizzles toward the end like fireworks on the Fourth of July.

By October, the fairytale is over for most of us. All we can do is half-heartedly congratulate those who have the success that we once dreamed of. A long, cold winter follows.

Then spring comes around again and we find that intangible spark within ourselves to try again because this is going to be our year.

Even if we lose more often than we win, it’ll be okay because we’ve had a good time along the way.

Still, when I write my letter to Santa this year, I’m going to ask him to bring Zac the Red Sox former manager for Christmas.

I hear that he breaks curses. The Cubs could really use him.