Cubs opening day: Just once I'd like to have reason to hope

Cubs opening day: Just once I'd like to have reason to hope

Once upon a time and a very long time ago it was, I had hope. Oh sure, I have hope for many things - for Bravo to have a Real Housewives of Chicago, for Tim Gunn to seek me out for Project Runway; things like that. But for many years now, I have to admit I have lost hope for the Cubs to have not just a winning season, but to ever win the World Series.

There was a time back in the late sixties/early seventies when my life revolved around the Cubs. Seriously revolved around them. In the spring through summer I spent every waking moment on the Cubs. I went to every home game; made my own score cards for their away games. I reviewed stats; I knew every player, every batting average. I could spout off lineups in my sleep. I went early to every game to watch batting practice. Clearly, I was obsessed. And I had hope.

And that hope continued into adulthood. When my girls were little the most exciting thing for me was the first time I took them to a Cubs game. We sat in the bleachers; I reminisced about the "old days". Every hot dog tasted better because I was at Wrigley Field.

So years continued to pass and my interest began to wain, but never my hope. Thus is the true plight of the Cubs fan. Maintaining hope year after year, season after season despite poor results and losing records. Then you begin to wonder why you hope at all and if it's worth the aggravation.

And then you go to opening day.

My first opener was April 6, 1971. I paid $4.50 for box seat tickets. Oddly all these years later I can't remember if they won but what I can recall is the feeling of hope that that would be their year. It wasn't. And every year as the season begins, I have that same feeling. And it doesn't ever happen.

This is now the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field and the Cubs. Two of the last three years I attended the opening day. I sat in rain and cold, fell outside the park and broke my finger, ate too many hot dogs and was filled with hope. And again, disappointment. And now, I am ambivalent.

Today we begin again. We won yesterday; will we win today? Will we win the next game and the next game? Dare I hope that "this will be the year?" Hope can be a good thing, the best of things as Andy Dufrain said in The Shawshank Redemption. But hope can be a dangerous thing when you have been let down so many times.

So let's see what happens. Give me a reason to have some hope. Batter up boys, I'll be watching.

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