Since I was 9 years old I have been a Cub fan . . . but not the disgruntled kind. I’m not mad that the team I pledged my lifetime allegiance to in the prime vulnerability of my pre-pubescent youth hasn’t been to the World Series since World War II (stupid goat). I’m not even frustrated that they haven’t actually won since the early 17th century. I’m not that kind of Cub fan. I’m not so petty that I can’t extend a congratulatory high five and a good, firm slap on the back to my unenlightened friends who root for our arch rivals and sworn enemies as they celebrate toppling the Rangers to win the Series . . . for the 11th time . . . since our one. I’m not bitter.
Really. I’m not.
My eight year old daughter has decided to be a Cardinal fan. I have chosen to love her anyway. That’s how not bitter I am. She is free to follow any team she chooses and like the majority of fans in the world she has taken the easy road. Don’t judge her harshly. She is young and naive and doesn’t yet fully understand that being a fan is not about winning . . . it’s about almost winning and never quite getting there. It’s about the faint glimmer of hope that someday, somehow your team will do something, anything good, dipped in the cold, unspoken reality that they just probably won’t. Being a die hard fan is not about jumping up and down when your team wins . . . anyone can do that. It’s about hollow dreams, misguided passion and freakishly stubborn resolve even when you don’t win . . . for more than a century.
All things considered, it was fun to watch game 7 with her all the way over here in China and cheer her Cards on to victory. Watching big American championship games in China is always fun but lacks the atmosphere and buzz of being back home. Superbowl parties generally begin around 7am and include pancakes but may not include commercials. We saw the Cardinals win about 8 hours after it happened but were still able to enjoy it without knowing who was going to win. Just me, my Card fan 8 year old and my 2 year old son who was cheering, “Go CUBBIES!”
I lost one . . . I will not lose the other.
So Congratulations Cardinals on once again winning the World Series . . . wait, I mean “World” (finger quotes) Series. Don’t for a moment let it steal your joy that of the world’s 234 nations only 2 are eligible to compete in this self proclaimed “world” event or that those two nations represent about 5% of the people in that world. Take heart redbirds because 25 million people tuned in to watch you win!! That is significant St. Louis. That means that on the entire planet only 99.6% of the human population were not watching. You are indeed world champions . . . in your own little way. And to you fans of the “World” Champions, hold your head high. Don’t let the numbers get you down because really . . . no one likes a bitter fan.
I would like to point out however that in real life a bear (even a baby one) would maul and eat a bird (even a red one with a big bat). Next year.