Like most Chicago Cubs fans, I've loved them since about the time I was born. What people don't know, that aren't raised Cubs fans, is that it's really more of a cult. There's no such thing as fair weather fans. There rarely is fair weather - pretty much never. So you know going in that being a Cubs fan is a brutal roller coaster, but you learn to look for silver linings. Like when mathematically they're eliminated, the ticket prices drop to average MLB costs. Cubs fans turn out in droves and pack Wrigley Field just to get the opportunity to watch, cheer, and figure out what we need to change for next year.
I've been late to meetings because I needed to hear the end of the game on my car radio. I've arranged gatherings around game times. One of my kid's first apparel items were Cubs t-shirts.
Needless to say I've hoped and dreamed the passion would be passed down. And it was.... but just kind of. My girls will watch here and there when it's on, but really only my oldest daughter seems to understand the obsession. If the games meant anything, they would definitely watch and at least cheer at the appropriate points. None of them played baseball or softball past fourth grade, so they didn't have the love of the game like I did, but they at least identified themselves as Cubs fans. I've accepted that and don't push it. I'm just waiting for them to come around.
When last night's game came on, you would have thought I had a kid playing with as nervous as I was. It was on my mind all week and I couldn't wait for the start. I had to listen to the first inning on the radio since I was bringing my son home from hip hop. We talked excitedly about all the hype and I explained everything that the announcer was calling. He seemed interested, but now in retrospect I think it was because he was a captive audience.
We got home, raced inside to watch the rest of the action. It was so exciting! During commercial I set up the snacks, the perfect seating arrangement, threw on cozy Cubs pajamas and instructed him to do the same. After a few innings flew by, I realized he hadn't come right back. I called him in and he came, but never seemed quite into it. I explained why we wanted certain things to happen and what we were hoping for in each at-bat.
He listened and pretended to be into it, but it was clearly just because he's an incredibly polite kid. Finally, I looked at him and said, "you can go back to your book if you want." I was HEARTBROKEN when he smiled and said, "OK"
"Wait, WHAT?!? Do you have any idea how important this game is? This is history. You have to stay!"
"Uhm, you just told me I could go back to my book."
"Well yeah, but clearly I didn't mean it."
"Oh, well then why didn't you just tell me I had to stay."
"Ugh, of course you don't HAVE to stay, I just wanted you to want to stay. DON'T YOU FIND THIS EXCITING?"
"Sure. But I'm just excited because you're excited."
"Don't you think it would be cool to grow up someday and be a famous baseball player? Could you even imagine BEING A CUB?"
"That would be cool, but if you want me to be honest, I think there are a lot of people doing some really cool things."
"Uh, I don't think so. Name one thing cooler that being a Cubs player."
"Well, scientists discovering things. Doctors working on cures. I think I'd rather be one of those guys."
Drop the mic and mentally walk away.
"OK, you can go to bed if you want."
Big smiles, "I love you. 'Night!"
So, I didn't raise a huge sports fan like I thought I would. I didn't raise a kid that would stay up late into the night watching playoff games with me. Bummer. However, how cool is the fact that despite my desire to have a fan of the game, that I was able to let him be who he wants to be and accept him for his passions, not mine. I am so over-the-moon proud of his individuality and confidence in himself. I am in awe of his self assuredness. He may not be on the front of the sports pages, but he's going to do big things with his life.
I'll be there at every science fair and debate team battle cheering him on. However, I'll be wearing Cubs/Bears/Blackhawks/Bulls apparel and hopefully he will too. When I ask him to go to the games with me, I won't even flinch when he brings a sudoku puzzle. I love my kid intensely and am happy when he's happy. And I'll accept the fact that he'll sit with me during the playoffs... even if he has to have his book in hand while doing it.
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